There is a building that has been important to many people in the Canning area as a source of community and it is getting a new life as the Ross Creek Annex!
The Church of St. Lawrence was built in the late 1960s, and was an operational church for decades. In the years before its deconsecration, it served some of the international farming community with masses in Spanish and the sounds of the choir were a joy to hear on a sunny Sunday morning when the windows were open. The church was decommissioned a few years ago, laying dormant.
Two friends of Ross Creek for a number of years, looked northward from their US home in conversation with Chris and Ken in 2019 and asked what we might do with the church if we had it. It was such a preposterous idea that they laughed it off and changed the subject. These friends of the Centre looked over the listing that night, and asked again the next day. Chris said the things she wished could be added to Ross Creek’s ability to serve the community through and in the arts, and the church was purchased.
While the Friends of the Centre own the building, but they are renovating it to be an Annex for Ross Creek, a way we can achieve programming that further reduces barriers to our programs, while also providing community rental space that can add to the Village.
The architectural design is by Solterre of Halifax, and we are thrilled that the Friends of the Centre and Solterre have chosen local construction company Cripple Creek Carpentry, with Mike Rogers and Gary Sherman to of Canning to do the work.
The Annex will preserve the nave, making it a performance, workshop, and gathering space, where we know singing will keep ringing out. It will have a sprung floor and a small stage and will be acoustically designed to make it a great space for live music performance. We are keeping the choir loft and can’t wait to start presenting music.
Downstairs, the space will be completely transformed. Accessible on both levels, the downstairs will have a large open area for programming, while also having a large community kitchen, served by the community gardens we are rejuvenating this summer. The kitchen will allow families to come together to cook meals and the food programs of Ross Creek will move to the church to allow for kids and families to walk down after school to tend the gardens and learn to cook together.
The bottom floor will also include a recording studio, one that can be used by artists to record and can also be used as a teaching space for NKEC students, a podcast space and even a community radio.
The Annex is designed to add to what Ross Creek offers the community while also making the space available for rentals, increasing Ross Creek’s sustainability. We will be able to have artists who work with and about community to be based there and we are excited to see it as a space that welcomes and engages people of all ages in new ways, while of course maintaining our beautiful facilities and programs at Ross Creek.The Annex is just that, an additional way we can serve our community, adding to what we do at Ross Creek. so we achieve our mission even more fully.
The building will have solar panels and heat pumps, and be highly efficient, and will give a building that meant community for some of the village an opportunity to serve the whole community and beyond.
It is an extraordinary gift from the friends, one that we hope you will join us in celebrating.
We will be offering tours of the plans in the near future, and welcome queries about the church. The goal is to have it open for Fall programming in 2022.
Fill in the form below to book a tour, and be the first to know, let us know your memories of St. Lawrence, and how you might use the Annex!
You can also get involved in our community gardens with Jennifer Walford, our community kitchen coordinator!