Friday, November 12, 2010


Union United Church in Little Burgundy, is going to be demolished. It is the spiritual home of generations of hard-working people of colour and the community centre where such gifted artists as Oscar Peterson, Daisy Sweeney and Oliver Jones grew up and the home from which they were sent out into the world to enrich our lives with beautiful music.
It will be heartbreaking to see that church disappear. It must be rebuilt on the same site, rebuilt well and quickly, incorporating some of the original building's elements because they are sacred - filled with the love, tears, music and hopes of a People who have contributed so much to Montreal and beyond.

The Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense, located in the heart of Montreal's Little Italy was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2002. Along with that designation, the government provided a very generous grant for repair work even though there was a portrait of Mussolini riding on a white horse painted on the ceiling. To receive all that money, the government did not require the church to remove that painting which is still there.

It is right and just that the government now provide an equally generous grant to Union United Church so that they can get on with the task of rebuilding without delay. Perhaps there could be a mural in the new Union United Church of Oscar Peterson, Daisy Sweeney and Oliver Jones - around a grand piano.

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