Good God! Holy, Church Conversions!

Is it just me, or are all many of Toronto’s churches slowly being converted into condominiums?

Here some of the most notable church conversions in Toronto.

Sorry if I offend the bible-thumpers on this one, but as a raging atheist, I find a tremendous amount of irony in the fact that churches are running out of money and selling to condominium developers!

I mean, that’s the case, isn’t it?  Aren’t churches businesses like any other?

Would they be shutting down if they were still making money?

All jokes aside, church conversions are some of the hottest lofts in the city of Toronto.

What started as an experiment has turned into a theme: developers trying to get their hands on hundred-year-old architectural masterpieces to turn into stunning residential spaces that buyers will throw top dollar at!

Here are a few of the church conversions in Toronto…

“Glebe Lofts” – 660 Pape Avenue

This was a Presbyterian church up until a few years ago when Bob Mitchell (160 Fallingbrook comes to mind) red-designed the space to house only 32 units.

Built in 1912, the red brick structure fronts onto Pape and yet it doesn’t get a lot of attention from passer-byers.  It blends in well with the rest of the street, and many people aren’t even aware that it’s a residential building!

To the right (or north) of the main entrance, on the second and third floors, you’ll notice the magnificent terraces that belong to only a handful of units.

The location is prime: about thirty steps from Danforth, and TTC is quite literally “at your doorstep.”

“St. George On Sheldrake” – 65 Sheldrake Boulevard

If you’re looking at this thinking, “Wow, that looks magnificent,” it’s because it is.

This is the nicest condo loft conversion I know of in the city of Toronto.  It’s also the most expensive, so perhaps it’s no coincidence.

Built in 1923, the Eglinton United Chuch was designed as a replica of Keeble College at Oxford University by local Toronto architects Horwood & White.

Originally as the firm Burke, Horwood, & White, the trio were one of the most successful and influential architectural firms in Canada during the building boom that took place around World War One.  They had designed many of the oldest churches in Toronto, as well as a series of commercial buildings across Canada that included Hudson’s Bay Co.’s department stores in Calgary, Vancouver, and British Columbia.

They were consultants on civic planning projects such as the Bloor Street Viaduct, and designed many of the largest and most expensive homes in Toronto in the early 1900′s.

The Eglinton United Church was converted into 33 residential units in 2001, and prices were as low as $399,000.

Today, units top $3,000,000.

The smallest units are around 1,000 square feet but units range to over 4,000 square feet and many have terraces of up to 2,000 square feet.  Ceiling heights approach a whopping 24-feet in some of the units.

Most amazing, however, is the fact that for only 33 units, there are 75 underground parking spaces!

“The Church Lofts” – 701 Dovercourt

Not the most creative name, is it?  “The Church Lofts?”  Is that the best they could come up with?

This neo-gothic building was erected in 1906 and converted into 28 units in early 2010.

The building is four-storeys and many of the units are multi-level with exceptionally high ceilings, where you’ve got a master level that overlooks the living space below.

“Macpherson Church Lofts” – 12 Macpherson Avenue

This is certainly the smallest church conversion in Toronto!

Only FIVE units exist in this building, converted in 2006.

The church was first built in 1903 and named the Century Baptist Church by the congregation who, without the presence of a church, had been meeting in the basement of its members’ houses for nearly twenty years!

A fire destroyed most of the church in the mid-1980’s and the property was sold to a developer.

It took far longer than expected to complete the project, but with only five units in the building, each unit was of different size, layout, and had significantly different features and finishes.

Since the building was completed, only ONE unit has been sold off the MLS system.

“The Channel Club” – 456 College Street

I’m not so sure about the name of this one; “The Channel Club?”  Where did that come from?

I”m not going to lie: I’ve never cared for this building.  This photo makes the building look gorgeous!  But that’s just one tiny section of the building.  This is what it really looks like:

Only the northwest corner of the building at College & Bathurst looks like a church; the rest is just an incredibly ugly brick and glass structure that looks far older than its age of 21 years.

I’ve never been impressed with the units themselves either.  They’re dark, dreary, and have no outdoor space; not to mention very small windows that open a few inches.

To be fair, some of the church conversions on this list are breathtaking and luxurious in every way.  Some of them are only a few years old.  This conversion was done first, before any of the others, and thus it’s fallen out of style in comparison.

If you want to live in Little Italy, there are only 3-4 condominiums to choose from, and this is one of them.

“Victoria Lofts” – 152 Annette Street 

This is one of the newest church conversions in the city, and when I first had the idea to write this blog post, the building hadn’t yet been registered!  The developer still has several units available for sale, although I believe registration has taken place.

This is also the oldest church that has been converted to a condominium.  The West Toronto Presbyterian Church opened in 1885 and was later renamed the Victoria Presbyterian Church in honour of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897.

The building now houses 34 residential units ranging from 600 to 1,800 square feet; some on two levels, some just one.

_______________________________________

I debated adding a “Bonus” to this list as it wasn’t a conversion of an existing church, but rather an add-on of sorts.

Can anybody note the condominium, named after a church, that was built on an old church parking lot?

The downtown church – one of the most historic and notable in the city, sold off their parking lot a decade ago and Context Developments constructed a 40-storey tower in its place.

For a free coffee – name the building.

10 Comments

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I’ve been surfing on-line more than 3 hours today, yet I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours. It is beautiful value sufficient for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the internet shall be much more helpful than ever before.

  2. Krupo says:

    It’s not so much St. Basil’s church, as St. Michael’s College, which sold off the orientation field and parking lot – of course used by the church – for the U development.

    I’m still baffled that they had to SELL when nearby Victoria did a long-term lease on their property, just north on Bloor Street.

    Then there’s the churches that no longer exist, like the one that was turned into a condo complex with geothermal heating…

  3. Yes! SPIRE, indeed! 🙂

  4. clifford says:

    People are no longer going to church.

  5. Larissa says:

    Some church conversions are done without changing the look of the old building all that much, which can look weird to passersby. What comes to mind is a time when driving past the Abbey Lofts church conversion on Sunnyside in Roncesvalles when my husband (with utter seriousness) asked me, “Why does that church have lawn chairs in front of it?”. I had to explain that it was now a condo and those in fact were terraces! That place still genuinely looks like a church from the outside and I would find that strange to live in.

    Your bonus question reminds me of U condos on Bay St., where St. Basil’s church sold off the adjacent land, which was a parking lot, to developers a couple of years ago… yet I think you have another condo in mind… Goes to show you this is a continuing trend with the number of examples I can think of.

  6. Martin says:

    I would also add to your list the Kew Beach Residences at the corner of Bellefair and Queen. This is also an old church getting converted. I think the plans look great and the location is amazing. The units sold out pretty fast. http://www.bellefaircondos.com

  7. Kyle says:

    When you look at the architecture around Toronto, it’s pretty easy to understand the allure of church conversions. When comapred to other major cities, Toronto’s architecture strikes me as pretty mediocre. In my opinion most of the buildings that stand out, do so because they’re garish and ridiculous, not because they’re beautiful or exquisite(i.e. OCAD, City Hall, Robart’s Library, CN Tower). Other than older churches, schools and warehouses built before 1940, i don’t see a whole lot of buildings that would make interesting conversions.

  8. J-Lasch. says:

    71 simcoe

  9. Nick says:

    Spire at 33 lombard?

POPULAR POSTS

TWEETS