A New Way of Looking at Canadian Churches

How about a church converted to a brewery or a wedding hall?

It may sound surprising, but Canadian churches are selling like hot cakes in the real estate market. There are many reasons that have prompted the phenomenon including decreasing congregations and coming of the mega churches. But most important is the rising demand for real estate in the urban centers of the country. From religious to secular, the buildings are being given a new identity and makeover by the business owners. Church converting is not the only one quickly developing field in Canada. It includes also gambling industry. Nowadays a lot of credible gaming sources like NBSO online review directory or others become online-oriented, that is why you can easily find the detailed listing of best gaming activities (pour les visiteurs francophones et des informations sur le plus populaire casino en ligne).

There are many interesting examples out there. A church in Sherbrooke has been converted to a rock climbing gym while a few others have been transformed into restaurants. Marly Anderson from Victoria-by-the-Sea in Prince Edward Island roped in the federal and provincial government in her initiative of converting a church into a wedding venue.

She received funding from the government for the project and renovated the church which was sitting empty for 12 years. With an investment of $140,000, The Grand Victorian was opened retaining the look of the church from outside. But inside it was completely changed and now the altar serves as the bar during weddings!

Silversmith Brewing Co. in Virgil, Ontario operates out of a 1890s Anglican Church and is another fine example of the religious real estate industry. Owner Chris Pontsioen bought the 1,800-square- foot church for $500,000 in 2012 after a long negotiation with the owner. The building had stopped being used as a church for around 50 years and an antique shop was setup keeping the original looks. Pontsioen and his friends were apprehensive about backlash from the neighboring community but to their relief, the encountered none. Most people find the idea amusing, said Mr. Pontsioen. He believed that transforming and preserving the church was more acceptable to the population than tearing it down.

Realtors Leonardo Di Francesco and Rav Rampuri have developed their business around selling churches. In 20 years they have finalized more than 100 deals involving churches. Operating in the Vancouver area, they get numerous calls from realtors and appraisers. But they are not able to entertain everyone as there is a lack of churches ready for sale.

Sometimes regulations play the spoilsport by limiting the sale. One of such challenges faced by the duo involved a church located in North Burnaby with a value of $8.8 million. They could not make any deal with it because the P1 zoning of the church did not allow for conversion. A process of rezoning can be initiated, but it takes many years for it making it impractical.

There is a big market for houses of worship on the market right now but not everyone is lucky enough to find a deal!