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Altared places : the reuse of urban churches as loft living in the post-secular and post-industrial city Lynch, Nicholas Andrew 2013

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Altared Places: The Re-use of Urban Churches as Loft Living in the Post-Secular and Post-Industrial City  by Nicholas Andrew Lynch B.A.H., Environmental Studies and Geography, Queen’s University, 2003 M.A., University of Toronto, 2005  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  Doctor of Philosophy in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Geography)  The University of British Columbia (Vancouver) April 2013 c Nicholas Andrew Lynch, 2013  Abstract In recent years, numerous mainline Christian denominations throughout Canada have sold their places of worship in the real estate market in response to changes in religious membership and participation. At the same time a growing demand for creative residential spaces by a group of the new middle class encourages the redevelopment of churches into upscale lofts, a practice connected to but divergent from the post-industrial loft living made popular in cities like New York. In this thesis I explore how the reuse of churches as lofts represents a unique but conflict-laden terrain of private urban redevelopment. With an empirical focus on Toronto, I draw on the literatures of religious change, heritage policy, and gentrification theory to illustrate how ‘redundant’ worship spaces are appropriated and transformed into private domestic spaces of commodified religion and heritage. Rebuilt as ‘cool’ but exclusive places to live, I argue that church lofts are part of a secular embourgeoisement of the central city, a process that increasingly remakes the city as a place of capital reinvestment, middle class colonization and social upgrading. My central method involves semi-structured interviews with individuals from both the supply and demand side of the church loft market. On the supply side, interviews are drawn from faith groups, heritage policy makers, and urban developers. This data provides insight into why and how religious groups divest in their properties; the impacts of heritage policy on the reuse of inner city landscapes; and the practices of developers in producing and selling new terrains of loft living. On the demand side, I interview church loft owners to give testimony to their real estate and lifestyle desires and explore how their decisions in the loft market help produce terrains of exclusivity and gentrification. ii  Drawing on comparisons to Montr´eal and London (UK), my findings show that church reuse in Toronto need not solely focus on private loft development alone. Rather, I conclude that varying systems of ownership supported by multiple stakeholders can create a public future for redundant worship spaces, a practice that could provide much needed community and public space in the inner city.  iii  Preface Parts of Chapter 6 of this dissertation have been published in the The Journal for the Study of Architecture in Canada: Lynch, N. 2011. ‘Converting’ Space in Toronto: The Adaptive Re-use of the former Centennial Japanese United Church to the ‘Church Lofts’. Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, 36(1):63-73. Research for this dissertation was approved by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board (#H08-01635).  iv  Table of Contents Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  ii  Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  iv  Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  v  List of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  x  List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  xii  Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  xv  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  xvi  1  Church Lofts: Market, Place and Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1  1.1  ‘Church Going’: A Landscape of Change . . . . . . . . . . . . .  3  1.2  Landscapes in Conflict . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7  1.3  Theoretical Contexts of the Contemporary City . . . . . . . . . .  9  1.3.1  The Post-Industrial City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9  1.3.2  Consumer Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  15  1.4  Methodologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19  1.5  Outline of the Thesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21  I  Contexts of Change  25  2  Religion and the Post-Modern City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27  v  2.1 2.2  The (Over) Churching of Canada: A Booming Religious Economy (1881-1960) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  30  Age of Decline: Canada’s ‘Leaky Religious Roof’ . . . . . . . . .  46  2.2.1  2.3 3  Declining Religiosity: Examining Changing Religious Affiliation and Attendance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  49  2.2.2  Secular Nation, Secular City? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  58  2.2.3  Diversity and the Fragmentation of Religion . . . . . . . .  66  Conclusions: Religion in the Post-Secular City . . . . . . . . . .  73  Heritage Matters: Heritage and Adaptive Re-use in the Post-Secular City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1  3.2  3.3 4  75  Conceptualizing Urban Heritage: Conserving Place and History in the City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78  3.1.1  Urban Heritage as Socio-Cultural Resources . . . . . . .  80  3.1.2  Urban Heritage as Economic Resources . . . . . . . . . .  84  Managing Urban Heritage: Preserving Built Form and Religious Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89  3.2.1  Heritage and Planning Legislation in Ontario and Toronto  94  3.2.2  Churches as Heritage Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  99  Conclusions: Religious Heritage in Conflict . . . . . . . . . . . . 107  Gentrification and Loft-Living in the Post-Industrial/Post-Institutional City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 4.1  Gentrification: Urban Change and the Rise the New Middle Class  4.2  Geographies of Gentrification in Toronto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 4.2.1  116  Loft-Living in Toronto: Remaking Post-Industrial, PostCorporate and Post-Institutional Places . . . . . . . . . . 136  4.3  Culture, Class and Identity in the Gentrified City . . . . . . . . . 142 4.3.1  Gentrification and Class-Constitution . . . . . . . . . . . 143  4.3.2  Rejecting Suburbia and High-Rise Condo-Living . . . . . 147  4.3.3  Ambivalent Religiosity: Religion Gentrified, Religion Commodified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151  4.4  Conclusions: Church Lofts as New Terrains of Gentrification . . . 160  vi  II Altaring Space and Place in Toronto 5  162  Church and State: The Rationalisation and Protection of Religious Properties in Toronto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166 5.1  The Burdens of Property?: Church Property Managers and Perspectives of Property Rationalization in Toronto . . . . . . . . . . 170 5.1.1  The Role of the Congregation: Closing and Selling the Church in an Environment of Change . . . . . . . . . . . 177  5.2  Protecting Religious Heritage: Urban Conservation and Heritage Management in Toronto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 5.2.1  Heritagizing Toronto’s Worship Spaces: Practices and Perspectives of the Local Heritage Community . . . . . . . . 193  5.2.2  Protecting Assets: Challenges to Heritage by Local Faith Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200  5.3 6  Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204  Developing and Designing Church Lofts in Toronto . . . . . . . . . 207 6.1  Creating Houses of Luxury from Houses of Worship: Developers and Architects in the Church Loft Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210  6.2  Converting Space: The Material Transformations of Churches to Lofts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217 6.2.1  The Church Lofts: Luxury Lofts in a United Church . . . 218  6.2.2  The Glebe Lofts: Upscale Lofts and Restored Worship Space in a Century-Old Presbyterian Church . . . . . . . 223  6.3  Converting Place: Symbolic Renovations, Post-Secular Iconographies and Sense of Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 226 6.3.1  Designing a Heritage Aesthetic: Re-Presenting Icons and Origins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227  6.4 7  Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233  Branding and Selling Churches as Lofts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236 7.1  From Renovating Churches to Selling Churches: Developers as Marketeers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238  vii  7.2  Branding and Imagineering Church Lofts: Re-Imaging Home, Identity and Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244 7.2.1  From Houses of God to Good Houses: Recoding the Loft Brand through ‘Condo Stories’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246  7.2.2  Distinction and Privilege: Naming as Identity Construction 252  7.2.3  Centres of Consumption: Church Lofts in the Local Urban Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256  7.3 8  Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261  Sleeping in Pews: Ownership and Consumption in Toronto’s Church Loft Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264 8.1  Accounting for Demand: Describing the Church Loft Owner . . . 266  8.2  Defining the Church Loft Habitus: Loft Lifestyles, Urban Aesthetics and Post-Secular Consumption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269 8.2.1  Buying-In: Investing in the Church Loft Market . . . . . . 271  8.2.2  A Church Loft Habitus: Counterpoint to the ‘Phony’ Suburbs and the ‘Rabbit-Warren’ Condos? . . . . . . . . . . . 278  8.2.3  Building Home and Consuming Space: Domesticity and Aesthetics in Church Loft Living . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286  8.3  III 9  Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302  Conclusions  304  The Fate and Future of Built Religious Heritage in the Contemporary City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 305 9.1  9.2  Learning From Other Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313 9.1.1  Montr´eal: Catholic Conversions and Public Interventions . 315  9.1.2  London, U.K.: Faith and Property in Conversion . . . . . 322  Thinking Forward: Opportunities in Toronto’s Church Loft Market 336  Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375  viii  A Interview Schedules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375 B Interview Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380  ix  List of Tables Table 2.1  Religious Affiliation in Canada, 1842-1901 . . . . . . . . . . .  32  Table 2.2  Select Religious Membership in Canada, 1871-1966 (thousands) 35  Table 2.3  Number of Churches Per Denominational Group in Ontario and Quebec, 1851-1901 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37  Table 2.4  Select Protestant Membership in Canada, 1951-1991 . . . . . .  42  Table 2.5  Select Religious Membership in Canada, 1957-1990 . . . . . .  44  Table 2.6  Changing Christian Religious Affiliation in Canada, 1901-2001  51  Table 2.7  Changing Religious Affiliation in Canada, 1991-2001 . . . . .  52  Table 2.8  Total Numbers and Growth of Select Protestant Groups in Canada between 1991-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Table 2.9  53  Monthly Religious Attendance Rates among Select Canadian CMAs, from 1989-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  55  Table 4.1  Employment (000s) by Select Industry in Canada, 1976-2008 . 118  Table 4.2  Employment (000s) by Select Occupations in Canada, 1971-2006119  Table 4.3  Employment in Professional Occupations in Select Canadian Cities, 1971-2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120  Table 4.4  Leading Correlates of Religious Unbelief in the Inner Cities of Major Canadian Metropolitan Areas, 1981 . . . . . . . . . . . 153  Table 4.5  Redeveloping Toronto’s Religious Landscape - Contemporary Church Conversions Across the Inner City . . . . . . . . . . . 164  Table 9.1  Yearly Church Attendance in England 1980-2005: Select Religious Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324  x  Table 9.2  Employment by Industry, for Inner London and Greater London and Great Britain, 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326  Table 9.3  Change in London’s Jobs by Sector, 1971-2001 . . . . . . . . 327  Table A.1  Church Administrators and Property Managers . . . . . . . . . 376  Table A.2  Heritage and City Planners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377  Table A.3  Church Loft Architects, Developers and Realtors . . . . . . . . 378  Table A.4  Church Loft Owners in the City of Toronto . . . . . . . . . . . 379  xi  List of Figures Figure 2.1  Protestant Architecture in Toronto and Hamilton . . . . . . .  38  Figure 2.2  St. Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto, built circa 1845 . . . . . . .  40  Figure 2.3  The Construction Cost for New Religious Properties in Canada between 1942-1972 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  43  Figure 2.4  Frequency of Religious Attendance in Canada, 1985-2005 . .  54  Figure 2.5  Select Religious Affiliation in the City of Toronto, 1981-2001  62  Figure 2.6  Select Religious Affiliation in the City of Vancouver, 1981-2001 64  Figure 2.7  Select Religious Affiliation in the City of Montreal, 1981-2001  Figure 2.8  Canada’s ‘Highway to Heaven’: A diverse religious landscape  65  in Richmond, B.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  71  Figure 3.1  Modernist Architecture in Toronto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  91  Figure 3.2  Churches as Economic Capital: The Cecil Street Community Centre and former Open Bible Standard in Toronto . . . . . . 106  Figure 4.1  Tim Hortons as Gentrifier along Vancouver’s Main Street . . . 113  Figure 4.2  The ‘Qube’ Condos in Downtown Vancouver . . . . . . . . . 124  Figure 4.3  The timing and patterning of gentrification and upgrading, City of Toronto, 1961-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127  Figure 4.4  Gentrification Forms and Pathways, City of Toronto . . . . . 131  Figure 4.5  Select New Build Construction in the City of Toronto, 2011 . 133  Figure 4.6  Select Loft Conversions in the City of Toronto, 1995-2009 . . 134  Figure 5.1  The Glebe Lofts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168  Figure 5.2  The Centennial Methodist Church, 1906 . . . . . . . . . . . . 179  xii  Figure 5.3  The Centennial Methodist Church: Architectural Rendering, 1906 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180  Figure 5.4  The Centennial United Church: Architectural Rendering, 1927 181  Figure 5.5  The Centennial Japanese United Church: Architectural Rendering, 1958 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182  Figure 5.6  Map of West-Central Toronto and Gentrification in the InnerCity, 2000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183  Figure 5.7  Bellefair United Church Pre-Conversion, March 2011 . . . . . 188  Figure 5.8  Bellefair Kew Beach Residences: Architectural Conceptualization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191  Figure 5.9  Mapping Heritage Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197  Figure 6.1  The Abbey Lofts: Architectural Schematic . . . . . . . . . . 219  Figure 6.2  The Church Lofts: Architectural Schematic A . . . . . . . . . 220  Figure 6.3  The Church Lofts: Interior Demolitions . . . . . . . . . . . . 221  Figure 6.4  The Church Lofts: Architectural Schematic B . . . . . . . . . 222  Figure 6.5  The Church Lofts: Architectural Rendering, 2009 . . . . . . . 223  Figure 6.6  Riverdale Presbyterian Church, ca. 1907 . . . . . . . . . . . . 224  Figure 6.7  Architectural exposure in church lofts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229  Figure 6.8  Restored stained glass windows in various church loft units . . 229  Figure 6.9  Religious iconography in church lofts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230  Figure 6.10 Unfinished atrium in the The Church Lofts . . . . . . . . . . 232 Figure 7.1  Mapping Consumption: The Church Lofts in the local consumptionscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259  Figure 7.2  Mapping Consumption: Greenspaces, Farmer’s Markets and Starbucks in the local consumptionscapes . . . . . . . . . . . 260  Figure 7.3  Branding The Swanwick: Projecting Class and Taste in the local consumptionscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261  Figure 8.1  Symbols in Domestic Space: Deities in a Church Loft . . . . 291  Figure 8.2  ‘Interesting Story Lines’: The Glebe Lofts Crypt . . . . . . . 292  Figure 8.3  Historical Photos in The Glebe Lofts: Images of the Danforth and the Riverdale Presbyterian Church, circa 1907 . . . . . . 298 xiii  Figure 8.4  A Portrait of The Abbey Lofts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301  Figure 9.1  The former Portuguese 7th Adventist Church in Toronto’s Little Italy under construction for exclusive lofts . . . . . . . . . 306  Figure 9.2  Early Church Lofts in London . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330  Figure 9.3  Recent Church Lofts in London . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331  xiv  Abbreviations CofE - Church of England CMA - Census Metropolitan Agglomeration CCT - The Churches Conservation Trust (England) DCMS - Department of Culture, Media and Sport (England) EH - English Heritage HPS - (Toronto) Heritage Preservation Services LACAC - Local Architecture Conservation Advisory Committee (Ontario) MCCCFQ - La Minist`ere de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition f´eminine du Qu´ebec OHA - The Ontario Heritage Act OHT - The Ontario Heritage Trust OMB - Ontario Municipal Board  xv  Acknowledgments I would like to thank my supervisors, Professors David Ley and Elvin Wyly for their unwavering support and advice throughout this project. Their differing perspectives and always insightful guidance have deeply enriched my learning, teaching and writing. I thank my committee members, Professors Deborah Leslie and Thomas Hutton. Professor Leslie has seen me through two such projects and I am sincerely grateful for all of her help. Professor Hutton has, as usual, enlightened my academic experience and added much value to this process. I owe a great deal of thanks to the many colleagues and friends in the Geography Department at the University of British Columbia: Markus Moos, Pablo Mendez, Ben Crawford, Scott Krayenhoff, Noah Quastel, Jason Leach, Bjorn Surborg, Justin Tse, Jonathan Clifton and John Richards. I am lucky to have long time friends, Darryl, Robb, and Trevor, who over the years have not only listened intently to my thesis ideas but have also been instrumental in helping me work through my life as a graduate student. I would like to thank Robb, Jonn, and Robyn for providing much needed archival data and images of Toronto. A very special acknowledgment goes to my mother who I believe is most deserving of an honorary degree in Geography. Gillian has not only been the most popular reader of my work, but has also spent countless hours sifting through and correcting my sometimes unintelligible prose. She and my father have listened to my ideas, offered counsel and, most important, supported my path throughout this project. For that I am eternally grateful. I thank too, my two brothers Matthew and Christopher, who have consistently supported my ‘student life’ in Vancouver. xvi  I thank my partner, Yolande, for providing constant reassurance, encouragement and direction throughout this process. As a student herself, she is acutely aware of what it takes to succeed and I count myself lucky to have the opportunity to learn from her. Most importantly, however, she never stops inspiring me to laugh and love. The author is responsible for any remaining errors. Any opinions, interpretations and conclusions are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the persons or institutions acknowledged above.  xvii  Chapter 1  Church Lofts: Market, Place and Landscape Standing on the corner of Pape and Danforth Streets, in what is known as Toronto’s Greektown, Carl1 and I quietly gaze at the building looming before us. Nestled in among turn-of-the-century two-and three-story Victorian houses sits what was once a centre and symbol of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. Built in 1912 and expanded in 1920, the lofty gothic-revival style Riverdale Presbyterian Church accommodated over one thousand people and was the regional headquarters for the Presbyterian community. Carl tells me that, just days after moving in to what it is now, the Glebe Lofts, he met an old member of the church on the front steps. “He stood there weeping”, Carl said. Concerned, Carl consoled the man and found out that he was one time, long ago, the organist at the church. “The building just brought back so many memories (for him), he told me, ... as he sat out there crying in the street”, Carl recounted. Knowing all of this it is hard to look beyond the structure’s distinct spiritual past and religious features to see a loft building; “Well isn’t that the point?” Carl quips. The 20-foot ceilings, historic character, community feel and the fact that it “isn’t a claustrophobic box in the sky” are all part of the allure, “part of the package”, he tells me. In many ways the Glebe Lofts is unique, a ‘one-of-a-kind’. The specific history of the Presbyterian Church, the life of the Riverdale congregation, the original 1 The names of interview participants have been changed to ensure anonymity,  1  see Appendix A.4.  design of the church building by architect J. Wilson Gray, and finally, its conversion in 2004 to 32 custom designed lofts by local architect Bob Mitchell, make it unlike any other housing product on offer in Toronto. The rarity of the property is of paramount importance. In Carl’s top-floor suite, for instance, the original roof trusses certified with the 1912 Algoma Steel stamp hang like room dividers while offering residents and visitors alike what he calls “an authentic reminder” of the building’s unique past. This loft, both as an everyday living space and as a real estate product, is forever woven into the origins of the building, acting as an explicit narrative of distinction and quality not only for the benefit of its owner-occupiers but also for others who might visit or even, one day, make Carl a worthwhile offer of sale. In other ways though, the Glebe Lofts is just another residential redevelopment found throughout numerous post-industrial and globalizing cities. In fact this re-use project fits a wider trend of loft construction that has become fashionable since the early 1970s. In her landmark book Loft-Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change, Sharon Zukin (1982b) highlighted how new domestic spaces emerged from the abandoned shells of manufacturing and warehousing industries found throughout inner city New York. From what seemed like a Manhattan oddity, loft conversions quickly spread to other cities in North America, Europe and Australia, materializing in places like Chicago and Portland, London and Sydney, but also, Montreal and Toronto (Lloyd, 2006; Podmore, 1998; Shaw, 2006; Zukin, 2010). Although subtle at first, it was not long until live-work artist studios, edgy caf´es and bohemian music venues filled the empty spaces left by dwindling industries. In time, the artist vanguard and their ‘living lofts’ helped to remake the gritty blue-collar image of the inner city (Lloyd, 2006; Zukin, 1982b). Close on the artists’ heels were the returning middle class, a group whose growing affluence was matched only by their developing tastes for alternative urban lifestyles and aesthetics rooted, partly, in the counter-culture ambience of the artist loft-lifestyle. For Zukin, the rise of loft living took off in earnest shortly after the urban middle class had, as a group, effectively appropriated these living spaces as their own. In turn, these decisions helped to transform the culture and economy not only of the local neighbourhoods but also the housing markets on which they depended. 2  To be sure, church lofts are deeply embedded in the historical development of post-industrial lofts that are now commonplace in Western cities. Yet, this phenomenon also represents a context where changing religious culture and heritage, as opposed to the socio-economic restructuring of industry, intersect with the changing residential and investment demands of the urbanizing new middle class. Instead of appropriating, consuming and domesticating what is now a mainstream industrial aesthetic, certain consumers are seeking new styles and tastes which speak to entirely different histories. By living in an old church, urban housing consumers are making profound comments about the role of culture, heritage and space in the contemporary city. Church loft living confirms and legitimizes changes in the public practices of mainline religions including a revaluation as opposed to an ‘annihilation’ of religion in society, what some scholars call “postsecularism” (Beaumont and Baker, 2011); the growing pressures for the control and regulation of built urban heritage especially in the developing inner city; and an expansion and transformation of demand for inner urban space by a growing class of image conscious urbanites. In this way, church lofts, like those found in Toronto, offer a critical view of new terrains of urban development within the ever-changing post-industrial and post-secular city. These new terrains of urban culture and development are the topic of the following thesis.  1.1  ‘Church Going’: A Landscape of Change “Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, And always end much at a loss like this, Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, When churches will fall completely out of use What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep A few cathedrals chronically on show, Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases, And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep. Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?” - Larkin (1955), ‘Church Going’  3  The closure and re-use of urban churches is not a new phenomenon. Roaming Britain’s countryside in the mid-1950s poet Philip Larkin (1955) penned what is arguably his most popular poem on this very subject. Larkin broods over the fate of churches in post-war England, questioning the future of Christianity and the prospects for empty church buildings - what he calls ‘special shells’. In many ways his poem was a prescient warning. By the late 1960s attendance figures for the Church of England, the single largest religious institution in the land, were waning and the need for chapels and churches in the countryside and the cities was on the decline (Gill, 2003). Far from the conditions before the Second World War in which mainstream religious cultures increasingly demanded urban space for spiritual activities, shifts in the spiritual and non-spiritual demands of contemporary societies meant that religious spaces of old were no longer valued in the same ways. Today, as Larkin predicted, countless cathedrals do remain on ‘show’ as highlighted points on the tourist map, while rural chapels and urban worshipspaces are increasingly abandoned to be, as he puts it, ‘let rent-free to rain and sheep’ or simply avoided as ‘unlucky places’. Yet, many other religious buildings in England, and also in Canada and the United States, have found entirely new uses. Singer-songwriter Arlo Gurthrie’s 1967 release of Alice’s Restaurant, a tune that tells the true story of Alice Brock’s purchase and renovation of a Massachusetts church to a restaurant, certainly ranks among the more popular tales of church conversion. Guthrie, it seems, was on to something. In the absence of spiritual demand, many worship spaces have been revalued for secular uses, appropriated within a landscape of consumption that values culture and heritage as a form of distinction and capital. So it was that since midway through the twentieth century more and more churches have been re-polished for entirely new uses, some of which draw the ire of local communities and former congregations. Bars and restaurants, retail spaces, climbing and yoga gyms, circus arenas, theatres, artists studios, lofts and apartments, casinos, truck repair shops and even strip-joints, are but some of the re-uses found for abandoned or sold worship spaces (Morisset et al., 2006b). Many of the new users of the church spaces are drawn to the large floor plans 4  (especially in what was the nave) and large open window areas. The recent pur´ chase and adaptation of Le Saint-Esprit Church in Qu´ebec City by L’Ecole de Cirque de Qu´ebec (the Quebec School of Circus, associated with Cirque du Soleil) is but one firm example of secular re-use. In fact, up until the mid-to-late 1970s, a large number of church properties abandoned or sold by religious institutions were taken up for public uses (e.g. community centres, day-care facilities, senior’s centres) (Foster, 1983; Matarasso, 1995). In many ways these were compatible transitions, a socially justifiable case of keeping the highly symbolic and heritagerich buildings in public hands. Since the early 1980s, however, new pressures have mounted for redeveloping churches, especially those in large urban areas, for private uses. Swept up by new energies for inner urban revitalization and the loftliving craze, empty churches were increasingly viewed for their unique aesthetic and functional uses. Although not yet fully accepted by the public at large, a contingent of affluent secular urbanites and specialty developers, many of whom had developed their craft in post-industrial loft conversions, began to notice the potential for churches in the loft market. Over the years, growing acceptance and increasing demands by savvy urbanites have pushed a number of urban churches of various denominations and styles into the realm of loft-living. With such a diversity of properties, there is no single type of church loft. Rather, the specific, and often unique, architecture of each church produces a staggering array of different exterior designs and loft styles, even within the same building. Exterior architectural styles are often contingent on the religious background of the building. In Anglo Canada and much of England, for example, the most common conversions are of Protestant churches, the dominant religious order, which display eclectic architectural designs (e.g. Revival, neo-Gothic, Romanesque), whereas in Qu´ebec the more common Catholic church conversions are typically of the Gothic kind. Regardless of the specific religious history individual units within the properties can range in size from smaller boutique suites (300 to 400 sq. ft.) to much larger apartments akin to the ‘artist’s quarters’ found in early industrial lofts (two to three thousand sq. ft.) (Zukin, 1982b). Their interior design can also vary considerably, ranging from what one Toronto real estate agent describes as ‘soft-lofts’ to ‘hard-lofts’. Soft-lofts often refer to renovation styles that hide the rough details of the structure, creating more standardized (and 5  less expensive) interiors. In contrast, the hard-loft style exposes and/or highlights most of the unique structural elements of the building (e.g. pillars, brick fac¸ades, original windows and lighting, and roofing framework). For the most part, contemporary church lofts are a marriage, or middle ground, of the two design styles - neither completely standardized nor fully raw. Such projects often incorporate modern kitchens and bathrooms, for example, with ‘hard’ open-concept living- and bedrooms designed to accent the architecture and heritage of the building. Yet instead of the exposed piping or oversized bird-cage style freight elevators common to industrial lofts, these interiors showcase such elements as jewel-toned stained glass windows, or exposed limestone towers and steeples complete with pseudobattlements. In short, church lofts are most often refined domestic spaces that are designed not only to reflect a very traditional d´ecor but also to experiment with the avant-garde style reminiscent of that found in the living-lofts common to old manufacturing areas. Although church lofts are traditionally regarded as a sub-genre of the loft phenomenon, the historic nature of the buildings and their specific architectural details further separate them from other loft conversions. In particular, while post-industrial live-work lofts were relatively easily converted to suit the basic requirements of artists, extensive structural rehabilitation was not a priority (Zukin, 1982b). For many urban churches, however, age and neglect have created buildings that require substantial reconstruction. Perhaps more than this, urban churches are also commonly protected under heritage conservation policies that can significantly limit the types of redevelopment options for owners and developers.2 For instance, fixing aged roofs and foundations, or constructing large interior walls to compartmentalize loft units designed to fit stringent heritage reconstruction policies are no small tasks (Lynch, 2011). From the outset, therefore, a majority of churches converted to residential uses have not attracted artists and rental tenants but instead investors and private real estate developers who have the necessary financial capital and construction skills to safely and successfully convert the buildings. An important result of this trajectory is that church lofts are commonly positioned as premium real estate in the housing market and thus are routinely built for and mar2 In Canada, depending on the age and public significance of the properties, the majority of heritage conservation policies are the responsibility of the Provinces and the individual municipalities.  6  keted to more affluent groups of the new middle class. Moreover, the prioritization of redundant churches for upscale lofts precludes other re-use options while at the same time altering the socio-cultural nature of the building. In the residential conversion process the church shifts from a public resource and community centre (in both the religious and civic sense) to a private space and an item of cultural consumption. Importantly, these shifts in use require not only significant alterations to the physical properties of the building, but just as significantly, involve a transformation of its symbolic elements as well. Such changes, however, are not always well received.  1.2  Landscapes in Conflict  The transformation of religious spaces reflects deep transitions of social relations and cultural values of specific times and places. In the contemporary Western world, many religious institutions are necessarily responding to fluctuating, often waning, spiritual demands by offloading expensive properties in urban real estate markets. Far from a simple venture, however, the new life of an urban church comes with conflicts over differing values and interests of various social groups that compete for their use. Over time, these groups include religious institutions and faith communities, heritage and conservation groups, real estate agents and developers, architects, new-middle class owner-tenants, and policy makers in all levels of government. In a spatial sense then, church conversions can represent landscapes of conflict where struggles between stakeholders pivot around conditions of acceptability and accessibility (Zukin, 1982b). Three particular debates are of concern here. First, conflicts of acceptability arise with debates over the ‘appropriate’ re-use of religious properties (Morisset et al., 2006b). Questions circulate, for instance, around how these properties of interest are to be rehabilitated and re-used, and also, who is to be considered the most appropriate users. In this instance, struggles between faith groups, urban conservationists, and policy makers are most apparent when religious groups sell properties for uses that might conflict with or cause damage to the building’s physical or symbolic infrastructure. Second, and related to the above, recycling religious structures for uses like  7  private housing raises questions about the role of conservation in creating and sustaining urban heritage for direct public benefit (Foster, 1983; Martin, 2008; Noppen et al., 1997). Should conservation policies simply enable the protection of the built form no matter what the new use, or should efforts be made to protect the building’s civic value and accessibility through innovative approaches like mixing uses (including housing, retail and retaining worship spaces for new or remaining congregations), or even the creation of non-market affordable housing? These questions necessarily raise the issue of ‘social capital’ that is embodied in redundant churches. Thus retaining local community functions, either for secular or religious purposes, can recreate resources of value for local people and local neighbourhoods (Matarasso, 1995). Third, concerns remain regarding the impact of private re-uses, such as lofts, on the local neighbourhood. For the most part these debates have considered postindustrial change and loft conversions as new sites or terrains of gentrification (Podmore, 1998; Shaw, 2006; Zukin, 1982a). As previously mentioned, Zukin’s (1982b) work has been instrumental in uncovering how the residential conversion of manufacturing spaces in New York have set the stage for what she called “the definitive end of traditional industrial activity” and the formation of middle-class urbanism. Little work, however, has expanded on the different types of conversions that reflect other societal transitions. In this case, post-institutional properties – buildings that were once public infrastructure like churches and schools – offer a relatively new perspective on both the renegotiation of neighbourhood spaces by middle and upper class users; on the revaluation of contemporary religious culture and heritage as elements of new forms of urban consumption; and on novel domestic landscapes that are used to build cultural capital, distinction, and identity. Throughout this thesis I will explore, in differing levels of detail, these various challenges and conflicts inherent in the re-use of urban churches. This in-depth analysis merges academic literature and research from writers in religion, geography, history and sociology – disciplines that have paid much attention to issues like urban and religious change – with primary research including interviews, site observations and discourse analysis concerning the redevelopment of urban churches, in Canada and elsewhere.  8  1.3  Theoretical Contexts of the Contemporary City  Church redundancies and adaptive re-use are clearly complex matters. The arguments described above demonstrate that the trajectories of change are highly influenced by transitions in religious cultures and urban development, and of changing attitudes toward heritage and built material culture. These three debates form the theoretical basis of this thesis and are explored individually in specific chapters. However, before they are appropriately explored we must necessarily describe several broader literatures that underpin these changes, namely: post-industrialization and consumer culture. Together this literature speaks to social, cultural and economic conditions which have dramatic consequences for urban communities and represent the broader, even global, contexts with which many religious organizations have had to contend in order to adapt and survive. In fact, unlike most studies of religious change and adaptive re-use that focus on a few specific literatures (e.g. the secularization thesis or the study of gentrification) this thesis seeks to combine the overarching theories to negotiate the complex processes by which community churches have been re-valued as new uses for new users. Of course, this interpretation is not exhaustive. The approach presented here, while attempting to be comprehensive, focuses heavily on the social and cultural elements of change, forging unique and novel pathways through a phenomenon that involves a wide range of intersecting interests and politics.  1.3.1  The Post-Industrial City  Scholarship in urban studies in the latter part of the twentieth century largely focused on the upheaval of the industrial complex which, before that time, was a defining element of urban society. By the late 1960s significant change in the socio-economic landscape of most advanced capitalist nations was underway. The collapse of industrial production, a decline in manufacturing jobs and a repositioning of state intervention signalled an historic phase of restructuring not only for local and national economies, but also for the social and cultural character of numerous urban regions. For many writers and critics, especially those associated with Marxian political economy, these dramatic shifts were best explained by the disintegrating Fordist 9  regime that had characterized much of the post-World War II period (Amin, 1994; Harvey, 1989). Fordism was perfected in the manufacturing processes of the automobile industry in the early twentieth century and had quickly enabled mass production and economies of scale through significant technical innovations like the standardization of manufacturing practices centred on streamlined conveyorbelt assembly. But, perhaps just as important, Fordism was further empowered by complex social and institutional mechanisms designed to sustain and promote economic and employment growth. In this case, the Keynesian welfare state and new union movements had emerged in most advanced capitalist nations as a means to couple increasing production with consumer demand, and, offer a level of social stability (e.g. higher wages, longer job tenure, decreased labour disputes, social reproduction) through integrated social and welfare services. Up to the 1970s, the successes of the Fordist era had nourished a seemingly unabated expansion of consumer products and new housing paid for by rapidly rising incomes of diverse, increasingly suburbanized, communities. Although the exact endpoint of this regime is in dispute, there is general agreement that Fordism had overextended its reach sometime prior to the recession and oil crises in the mid-1970s (Amin, 1994; Harvey, 1989).3 By this time profits from production had considerably stagnated or declined while new global competitors entered the fray with marked reductions in manufacturing and, especially, labour costs. In a short time, many Western nations had necessarily adjusted their economies to meet these changes, focusing less on resource intensive industries (i.e. primary and secondary industrial sectors) and more on consumer and producer services. By the mid 1970s, ‘deindustrialization’, the systematic dismantling and relocation of industrial production, and the roll-back of the welfare state were often forwarded as the best solutions to this phase of restructuring. Many commentators at the time began to quarrel over the defining contours of the new economic era and sociologists like Daniel Bell (1973), but also popular writers like Peter Drucker (1969) and Alvin Toffler (1970), argued for they what they referred to as the ‘post industrial age’ while others preferred ‘post-Fordism’ (Amin, 1994), ‘flexible specialization’ or ‘flexible accumulation’ (Harvey, 1989; Piore and Sabel, 3 The most disruptive case of ‘oil shock’ on the Fordist regime was the OPEC price increases and eventual oil embargo of 1973.  10  1984). In large part, Bell’s (1973) forecast of post-industrialization in The Coming of Post-Industrial Society rang true for most ‘advanced’ nations. In this seminal work, Bell foresaw a transition to a society increasingly defined by diverse service and information intense economies, accompanied by an expansion of ‘theoretical knowledge’ as both a source of cultural value and a source of occupational growth (Kumar, 2005). In other words, specialized knowledge, technical as well as cultural, pertaining to the labour activities of the white-collar groups, represented an increasingly key resource for emerging service based industries. Importantly, the growth and prioritization of services over traditional industry would not have been nearly as dramatic had it not been for the expansion of new technologies and the technical expertise required to develop and carry them out. According to Bell (1980, 530) computers and telecommunications were part and parcel of this new economy: My basic premise has been that knowledge and information are becoming the strategic resource and transforming agent of the post-industrial society ... just as the combination of energy, resources and machine technology were the transforming agencies of industrial society. Digital information technologies incorporated in novel production methods, together with advanced communications and transportation, have meant new forms of flexible organization the world over. As a result, extensive automation and global outsourcing, for example, have become key drivers of contemporary economic growth. But included in this transition have also been shifts in patterns of consumption that now involve more creative and innovative products and services. Reflecting Bell’s earlier assessments, Allen Scott (2007, 1466) argues that this form of cultural capitalism depends “more and more on intellectual and affective human assets”, assets that are tied to specialized and knowledge intensive occupations increasingly found in urban regions. In the contemporary economy, therefore, traditional manufacturing and industrial production, while having not completely disappeared, have been largely displaced for “technology intensive manufacturing; services; fashion-oriented, neo-artisanal production; and cultural products industries” (Scott, 2007; Vinodrai, 2010, 89). 11  Although Bell’s prognosis of post-industrial society primarily described the American context, it materialized, although somewhat later, throughout key Canadian cities and regions. By the late 1970s Canadian industrial production and blue-collar employment were being quickly displaced by a remarkably differentiated service sector characterized by a highly educated and urbanized workforce. From 1976 to 2006, for example, the proportion of Canadians employed in goodsproducing industries (e.g. agriculture, forestry, fishing, construction, manufacturing) declined over 11 per cent, while the service-producing sectors (e.g. retail, business, health care, education and public administration) represented over 90 per cent of employment gains (Vinodrai, 2010, 91). Furthermore, as the labour force grew at a rate of only 2 per cent annually over this 32 year period, the advanced service sectors consistently out-performed the national average: management (4.4 per cent), professional (4.1 per cent), medicine and health (3.2 per cent), business and finance (2.3 per cent) and sales and services (2.4 per cent) (Vinodrai, 2010, 94). Within the three largest metropolitan regions (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver), we see a particular intensification of these national trends. Loss of manufacturing in Toronto (-6.2%) and Montreal (-14.6%) between 2001-6, for instance, has been relatively significant (Hutton, 2010, 112). Meanwhile, in that time the expansion of advanced service sectors has been extensive: in Toronto, for instance, some of the most significant increases were in ‘Real Estate’, representing a 16% gain; in Montreal ‘Health Care and Social Assistance’ employment increased by 18.6%; and in Vancouver increases in ‘Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services’ (17.2%) have been significant (Hutton, 2010, 112-114). The sustained growth of this highly tertiarized and knowledge based economy has had several consequences. First, central cities have become increasingly important. Contrary to popular commentaries, which argue that place, geography, and ‘the local’ have been rendered insignificant in contemporary society (c.f. Friedman 2007), cities have become more rather than less essential to the workings of a globalized economy (Bourne et al., 2011). Recent work by economic geographers, for instance, has rightly argued that contemporary economic activities remain spatially concentrated in cities and urban regions partly resulting from the fact that agglomeration, or ‘clustering’, facilitates “learning, knowledge flows, co-operation, and competition”, which are integral to the needs of flexible service-oriented firms 12  (Britton, 2007; Wolfe and Gertler, 2004; Vinodrai, 2010, 89). In short, cities and their regions act not only as support for but also incubators of innovation, learning and knowledge. Second, hand in hand with the ascendancy of cities in this cultural and knowledge economy is the continued rise of the new middle class. A complex and wideranging group, the new middle class was originally associated with the expansion of senior white collar jobs consistent with Bell’s post-industrialization thesis. Considered as the ‘social correlate’ of the new economy, this group has been of particular interest especially since their disposable incomes and consumption-based lifestyles provide stimulus for employment in retail, cultural and entertainment sectors (Barnes et al., 2011, 302). More recently, however, a subgroup of the new middle class, referred to as the ‘cultural new class’ (Ley, 1996) or the expanded grouping of the ‘creative class’ (Florida, 2002), has received increasing attention. This distinct group of cultural and social professionals, those providing specialized skills, creativity and ‘know-how’, are not only key players in the emerging cultural economies (especially the arts, media, education and social services) but they are also agents in the formation of new urban and inner city spaces. As David Ley (1996, 15) puts it “their imagineering of an alternative urbanism to suburbanization has helped shape new inner city environments where they are to some degree both producer and consumer”. The redevelopment of the inner city from drab mono-functional spaces to convivial ‘live-work-play’ places (i.e. reclaimed waterfronts, iconic architecture, themed consumptionscapes) is perhaps the most explicit attempt to capture the attention and dollars of this group. In central areas throughout many ‘global’ cities like Vancouver, Toronto and London, the shift from creating a favourable climate for business towards one favourable to attracting people has also meant remaking residential landscapes that supply a highly aestheticized ‘live-work-play’ philosophy of the ‘creatives’. In Yaletown (Vancouver), CityPlace (Toronto), and Clerkenwell (London), for instance, large-scale but mixed-use condominium-towers on reclaimed industrial land offer unique postindustrial elements, proximity to waterfronts and batteries of novel local shops to create distinct ‘cool’ places to live. But these ‘new’ residential places are not the only residential properties on offer. As the de-industrialization of the inner city left many old wharves, warehouses 13  and factories abandoned, and as waves of artists colonized and domesticated these spaces, groups of the new middle class claimed and adapted these sites for themselves, creating in New York what Sharon Zukin (1982b) called ‘Loft Living’. As we shall see, in the last several decades loft living has not only been expanded or better, exported, from New York, the oft-proclaimed epicentre of North-American post-industrialization, but it has also been diversified in the types of buildings recolonized by savvy urbanites. Post-institutional buildings, public properties that once served local communities, like schools and churches, now represent real estate ‘hot spots’ adapted in a similar way to the re-used post-industrial landscapes of cities across advanced capitalist nations. The centralized locations and renovation possibilities of urban churches, in particular, represent residential options in inner cities and older suburbs where abandoned industries did not exist or where new large-scale condominium towers are simply not viable. But, as will be discussed, the local cultural and economic contexts in which these places are sold, renovated and re-used differ somewhat from the now classic model of loft-living. Instead of changing hands between lower income but culturally rich artists and the professional middle and upper income urbanites, re-used church properties are almost entirely renovated and repackaged by niche developers for a ready-made affluent and older clientele of the new middle class. It follows then that the remaking of the inner city and the demand for new urban environments by mobile and affluent professionals has resulted in an intensification of gentrification and upgrading of the central city. In Toronto, as in London, England, the residential preferences and investment decisions of the higher-income households has meant a dramatic loss of affordable housing and the displacement of lower-income, previously blue-collar, populations to the impoverished margins of the inner city or the outer suburbs. Much research in past years has uncovered the pathways of gentrification in these cities detailing for the most part a common cycle of middle-class upscaling and renovation of older ‘authentic’ housing stock in central neighbourhoods (Glass, 1964; Caulfield, 1994). More recent work has updated this picture, showing that new terrains and contexts of gentrification, or new ‘geographies of gentrification’, are deeply impacting the residential landscapes of these cities (Davidson and Lees, 2005; Hulchanski, 2010; Ley and Lynch, 2012; Slater, 2003). New condominium towers, post-industrial live-work lofts, and 14  post-institutional niche lofts, all brownfield and greyfield redevelopments, are now part and parcel of the renaissance and embourgeoisement of the central city (Ley, 1996).  1.3.2  Consumer Culture  Consumption is a pivotal point of connection between the post-industrial city and the rise of post-modern urbanism. It is hardly possible to understand contemporary (Western) urbanism without acknowledging the role of consumption and the power of the consumer, of understanding the processes by which production and consumption are linked to the concepts of growth and development, to urbanization, and the formation of new lifestyles and (sub)cultures. We no longer reserve the notion of consumption merely for acts of ‘purchasing’, ‘obtaining’ and of ‘using’ goods and services (Clarke, 2003). Complex social and cultural formations like identity, aesthetics and citizenship as well as urban development are partly articulated through the nexus of the culture of consumption. Although detailed discussions of these and other issues pertaining to consumption can be found elsewhere (see Bauman, 2007; Clarke et al., 2003; Featherstone, 2007), it is important here to briefly sketch several key perspectives of contemporary consumer culture in order to show how, in later chapters, it represents a potent influence on the formation of both postmodern and postindustrial attitudes toward religion and the city. To begin, it is worth stating that consumption is central to the social and cultural life of technologically advanced societies. Commodities – what we consume – and the practices of consumption – how we consume – are at once complex and powerful. The pervasiveness of consumption cannot be ignored. Consumption, it has been said, has “replaced work as people’s central life interest”, to such a point that scholars now argue at length about a ‘work and spend’ existence, an enveloping ‘consumer attitude’, a ‘lifestyle project’, an ‘intensification of promotional culture’, and rising debt loads (Shove, 2002, 230). The archetypes of corporate consumption, McDonald’s, Disney and Apple, for example, produce a seemingly endless array of commodities and, importantly, experiences, that are increasingly engineered to foster ‘desire’, offer choice, and highlight the ‘self’ through limitless configurations and ‘personalizations’. Culture too has long been the focus of  15  commodity production. Simply put, contemporary cultures (the arts, theatre, music, cinema, architecture, religion, heritage, nationalism, etc.) are now pervasive commodities which are bought, sold and traded in countless urban marketplaces, in popular media, and throughout the ether of virtual markets like global stockexchanges, shopping websites and online auctions. With such a diversity of commodities, perhaps now more than ever, identities are forged through processes of selective consumption, an arguably post-modern act which “affects the ways in which people build up, and maintain, a sense of who they are, of who they wish to be” (Bocock, 1993). As a result, it is now commonplace to refer to the West as a ‘consumer society’, characterized by an ever-advancing consumer culture where lifestyles and communities are increasingly structured around the practices of consuming. In Consumer Culture and Postmodernism, Mike Featherstone (2007) offers a further conceptualization of this concept focusing on three key perspectives. The first concerns consumer culture as an inevitable and intended result of the expansion of capitalist production. In this ‘productivist’ view, commodities, ranging from goods for purchase to the spaces in which the goods are sold, are packaged and branded as desirable things for the purposes of capital accumulation. Consumption is considered therefore an outcome of the economic system of production in which it takes place “for the simple and obvious reason that, unless products could be sold in return for money, there would be no profits” (Bocock, 1993, 33). A focus on this perspective, couched in the work of writers like Karl Marx, the Frankfurt social theorists, and postmodern Marxist writer Fredric Jameson, for example, places the work of producers at the fore and highlights the creative, if not, deceptive, tactics of marketeers and ‘imagineers’. For Baudrillard (1998, 78) the ‘truth of consumption’ lies in the fact that it is “not a function of enjoyment, but a function of production and hence, like all material production, not an individual function, but an immediately and totally collective one”. Like Baudrillard, many of those who view commodity culture in this way tend to see it negatively, linking consumption to the process of ‘alienation’ previously described by Marx. Here, the social and material connections between consumer and commodity are said to be blurred (‘fetishized’ in Marxian terms) through new economic valuations of exchange which dislocate ‘authenticity’ and obscure “true need” through the pro16  duction of artificial desires – what some geographers and sociologists have more recently referred to as the processes of imagineering and Disneyfication (Bryman, 2004; Lyon, 2000; Miller, 2005; Paul, 2004; Sorkin, 1992). A second perspective focuses on how people consume. In particular, research and writing by theorists like Thorstein Veblen (1965), Pierre Bourdieu (1984) and Zygmunt Bauman (2005, 2007) explore what we might consider as the ‘politics of consumption’. Beyond seeing consumers as simple dupes, this perspective explores consumers’ agency, uncovering, for example, what they can “accomplish through consumption”, “how they engage the objects they consume”, and how they can form individual and/or group identities through the products they own and display (Miller, 2005, 146). These accounts consider, therefore, the role of consumer culture in the process of social differentiation, and establishing social status. For Bourdieu (1984) this means that consumption represents a key system and activity for forging and maintaining one’s class identity. An endless array of products are used to create social bonds, badges of distinction and markers of taste or prestige; products whose symbolic values “establish boundaries between some people and build bridges with others” (Featherstone, 2007, 11). Moreover, in this process consumers often take active roles in the creation of their own categories. In this case, consumers are routinely forging and sustaining distinctive subgroups, or ‘subcultures of consumption’, based upon shared commitiments to particular products, brands, or consumption activities (Schouten et al., 2005). As we shall see throughout this thesis, the consumption of church lofts represents a distinct subcultural activity, a practice that does not consume ‘mass culture’ but rather one that specific loft owners co-create with loft developers and marketers. These are particular moments of ‘consumption with style’ that maintain unique symbolic expressions and a distinct ethos designed to draw a line between these urban dwellers and others (Ley, 1996). The third and last perspective on consumption concerns why people consume, especially related to how consumers derive pleasure or celebrate “dreams and desires within consumer cultural imagery” (Lyon, 2000). Key here is the concept of lifestyle, a “nebulous” term used to describe, in a literal sense, ‘the stylization of life’ (Clarke, 2003, 130). Although lifestyle has come to represent many different things, it is perhaps most evident as a powerful and pervasive discourse or theme in 17  the sale and use of commodities. Whether it be marketing messages in print or TV advertising, or brand identities (from Nike to Disney) commodities are routinely promoted as fitting into a particular niche need for consumers, offering consumers opportunities to build identity while in specific life-stages. Over decades of refinement, consumers’ dreams and desires have been shaped by brand images and slogans and marketing texts which cater to one’s needs of individual expression, of personal choice, of ‘personalisations’. The point made here is that more and more “consumerism itself has a become a life” and in this life commodities are central elements used by consumers to enact, perform and exercise dreams and desires in divergent and sometimes unintended ways (Clarke, 2003, 130). These three perspectives have informed, in varied ways, recent academic work. In geography, as in other disciplines in the social sciences, the concepts of consumption and consumer culture have been central issues for several decades. Following the cultural turn since the 1980s, Jon Goss (2004, 370) explains that an explosion of consumption-based research in geography has moved quickly from an earlier focus on studying retail locations and the form of the retail built environment to include, more recently, complex analyses that trace consumers in entirely new contexts of consumption; contexts which reveal an intricate “entanglement of commerce and culture”, of “creativity, aesthetic practices, and the making of meaning”. Thus while geographers continue research with more traditional foci, others are exploring the role and impacts of fashion (Dwyer, 2003; Leslie, 2002), food (Domosh, 2003; Valentine, 2002), e-commerce (Currah, 2003; Slater, 2000), home-d´ecor (Leslie and Reimer, 2003), and architecture (Sklair, 2005), just to name a few. An important contribution of such research, and one that will be explored at length in this thesis, concerns the role of key commodities in the assemblage and expression of post-industrial/post-modern lifestyles and identities. How people in everyday life make sense of specific consumer symbols, how they construct their identities and how they build their new urban realties are central questions. Further, the contention to be developed here is that at the same time as perspectives on religion have been partly reconfigured by an emerging consumerism which increasingly positions religious products as ‘lifestyle accessories’, new consumer demands for innovative and unique housing in cities like Toronto represent an 18  important influence on the cultural and aesthetic revaluation of urban churches. As we shall see in the following chapters, the role of consumption and the character of contemporary consumer culture (including the process of marketing and branding culture as a commodity), especially as they are involved in a process to ‘make meaning’ and social status, play a significant role in the re-use of these once sacred places. In short, it is argued that contemporary consumption has altered practices of religious expression especially concerning a re-negotiation of what constitutes sacred and secular commodities, and created pressures for urban redevelopment including the re-valuation of urban culture and heritage as elements of a post-industrial lifestyle and aesthetic (Chapters 3 and 4).  1.4  Methodologies  The study of church redundancies and conversions in general, and the specific exploration of the phenomena at the intersections of the post-industrial and postsecular city, is a largely ignored topic. Most research in the social sciences does not connect issues of contemporary gentrification and urban heritage to religious change, and as such the range of methodological approaches to the topic are generally underdeveloped. Along with an extensive literature review, in this thesis I take advantage of a number of sources in order to evaluate the inherent multidimensionality of the issue and extend the boundaries of existing research. The first methodological approach used in this thesis is the evaluation of quantitative data focusing both on the distribution and strength of religion, and their relationships to gentrification in the inner city. The main sources for this information are the Canadian Censuses. For this data, the most recent census consulted is the 2001 data set as the topic of religion is only compiled every 10 years. This data is also evaluated with earlier census data (primarily 1981) to provide a glimpse of the transitions taking place in the urban context. Other statistical sources include the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, the General Social Survey (GSS), the European Social Survey (ESS) and in-house statistics arranged by individual religious organizations. These data are used to complement the census figures and provide further ‘stage-setting’ information (e.g. church growth, attendance, etc) for later discussion relating to the scope and scale of religious change in the con-  19  temporary city. A second methodological approach involves in-depth interviews. This particular methodology is central to the following thesis as it aims to uncover the range of possible interpretations, knowledges and discourses that pertain to both the production and consumption of church conversions. Since little is known about this particular phenomenon, a total of 51 interviews with key informants were conducted to provide the interpretive depth that informs the theory described in Chapters 2-4. The interviews conducted were semi-structured, open-ended and lasted on average 1-2 hours. In total, 41 were completed in Toronto and 10 in London. The interviews were conducted from 2009-2012 (see appendices A.1, A.2, A.3, A.4). A total of 36 interviewees were on the ‘supply’ side: 11 individuals were from religious organizations (4 property/financial managers, 1 conference director; 2 architectural advisors, 4 team members of the Church of England Closed Churches Division); 14 interviews were with individuals from public service and non-profit organizations (6 directors of charitable trusts and 8 planning/municipal staff); 11 individuals were from architectural and urban development firms, and real estate and marketing agencies (3 urban developers; 6 architects; 2 real estate agents). The remaining 15 interviewees were from the ‘demand’ side as all of these individuals were resident-owners of private loft units in a church conversion in the city of Toronto. The third methodology, textual analysis, is primarily intended as a useful supplement to interview data. Whereas the interviews described above aim to uncover both the decisions of experts in the field and loft owners’ various perceptions and experiences of church conversions, textual analysis captures the circulating ideologies and brand identities that are purposefully communicated to legitimize and entice these new forms of cultural consumption – from sacred to secular. The sources for the textual analyses are comprised from two distinct areas: i) marketing and advertising media produced by or for developers and real estate agents; ii) policy materials produced by the planning and heritage departments. The promotional media associated with the first data set include websites, brochures, presentation centres, industry magazines, and local and national newspapers. The majority of the textual analysis focuses on the various media produced and disseminated by developers and real estate agents that highlight spe20  cific case study sites. However, where possible media from other projects are included to complement the analysis and provide comparisons or differences in marketing strategies and promotional narratives. I have selected the above media options based on availability, ease of access, and the quality of data. Websites and brochures, for example, offer an abundance of intersecting materials and experiences that are relatively easy to capture, including such elements as videos, narratives, images, and simulations. Moreover, industry magazines, like New Homes Guide (Canada), Toronto CondoGuide (Canada), Home Magazine (UK), Toronto Life Magazine (Canada), Time Out London (UK) and the homes sections of the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail are readily available and provide promotional editorials that are deployed to reinforce brand identities and define niche markets for housing projects. The policy materials associated with the second discursive sources include planning documents and reports, heritage preservation board meetings and minutes; and church commission policy documentation. These materials may not explicitly pertain to the specific case studies highlighted, but are analyzed to uncover the role of policy practices in the development of church conversions. These materials, like promotional materials, are generally public and can be easily accessed. Additionally, it is important to note that I do not approach this research as a religious individual, nor is there any implicit or explicit theology in my analysis throughout this thesis. Although I do examine in various ways the historically contingent phenomena of religion and secularization, I do not offer here a theological position on Christianity in general or the various Christian denominations and organizations in particular. Rather this work is positioned as a cultural tool or lens by which to examine the current phenomena of church redundancies and re-use; a peek into a larger cultural framework that helps explain a crucial facet of the (re)use and (re)valorization of urban landscapes.  1.5  Outline of the Thesis  This thesis is divided into three parts. Part 1 “Contexts of Change”, offers the theoretical and historical background essential to explaining the church loft phenomenon. Connected to the meta-theories of post-industrialization and consumer  21  culture described above I explore three pivotal factors, divided into three chapters, which overlap and interact to produce the conditions necessary for the church loft market. In Chapter 2, I explore the transformations of religion in contemporary Canadian society. Using various statistics, I begin with a brief discussion concerning the growth of ‘churching’ in Canada until the mid-twentieth century. Looking beyond this supposed ‘golden age’, I turn to explore the debates concerning recent changes apparent in religious affiliation and participation both in national and urban contexts. In sum, this wide-ranging empirical account will illustrate that Canadian society and its largest cities are engaged in an uneven and incomplete process of secularization, a process whereby religion is in a state of constant flux as many mainline institutions recede while new religious movements gain ground. As we shall see, this changing state of religiosity, often referred to as post-secularism, has profound effects on the abilities of mainline religious institutions to sustain certain real estate properties especially in large urban markets and thus provides an important supply of redundant churches ripe for re-use. Chapter 3 explores the role of heritage and urban conservation in the Canadian context. Heritage philosophy and conservation policy in Canada are reviewed here as they play a key role in the regulation of urban space. Additionally, I will focus on the notion of heritage as both economic and cultural resources in the production and sustainability of central city development in Canada. Chapter 4, the last in this section, addresses the process of gentrification. In this case, I consider the changing geographies of gentrification in specific cities and discuss in more detail the role of the new middle class and their production of urban lifestyles as significant factors in the creation of new gentrified landscapes. Although I describe the changing nature of inner urban land markets in general, I place a particular focus on the role of culture and consumption in this process. Lifestyles, aesthetics and the revaluation of historic urban places are key cultural aspects of gentrification that connect to the church loft phenomenon as churches, like industrial properties, are appropriated into the consumer culture of the new middle class. Taking together the contextual boundaries outlined in Part 1, Part 2 “Altaring Space and Place in Toronto”, examines in depth the adaptive re-use of urban churches as lofts in the city of Toronto. Beginning with Chapter 5, I examine 22  two important actors who are involved on the supply-side of church lofts – the church and the state. First and foremost, interview data and policy analyses from various religious organizations are explored to provide a glimpse of the difficult decisions made by church administrations and congregations regarding the changing demands of the religious communities and their worship space needs. In particular, I will examine how and why, in the face of current pressures described in Chapter 2, religious institutions have necessarily sought to rationalize key urban properties in the real estate market as a means to recuperate financial losses. Moving from the church, I continue with an examination of the role of the state. Connecting to Chapter 3, interviews with municipal and provincial civil servants involved in heritage policy will provide specific detail concerning the urban conservation practices in the province of Ontario and in the City of Toronto. Importantly, these actors uphold a regulatory practice of urban conservation that actively enables the recycling of urban churches for new secular uses in the city. Chapter 6 explores the material and symbolic processes involved in converting church lofts in the real estate market. In this case, interviews with urban developers and architects, and site observations from specific conversion projects are examined to uncover the creative practices involved in the rehabilitation of religious properties. Key insights from the data sources show how the re-use of postreligious space involves rather complex negotiations between developers, religious groups and the material heritage of church properties. Much of the success of church loft projects rests not only with the sensitive evaluation and adaptation of the built form for residential uses, but also a coordinated approach to the reuse of religious icons as key elements enabling post-secular place-making. Connected to Chapter 6, in Chapter 7 I discuss the practices of promoting and selling the church lofts in the local real estate market. Interview data from developers and real estate agents, and textual analyses of promotional media like sales brochures, project websites, and print media focus on how churches are imagineered as desirable upscale homes through specific branding discourses. Unlike the marketing tactics used for other housing forms, church lofts are often branded with specific references to religion and heritage. But, as we shall see, these are narrowed discourses intentionally used to commodify religious heritage and create a product identity that is distanced from any deep sense of religiosity. 23  In the final chapter in this section, Chapter 8, I flesh out the church loft lifestyle in Toronto. Recent conversions like the Church Lofts and the Glebe Lofts, to name two, are highlighted through ethnographic and participant-resident interviews. These analyses will give testimony of the specific real estate and lifestyle demands made by owner-occupants and explore how their decisions in church loft living help produce a new terrain of gentrification. Lastly, in Part 3 “Conclusions”, I offer a final review and evaluation of the church lofts phenomenon in the post-secular and post-industrial city. Bringing together the various perspectives detailed in the previous chapters, I will discuss the future of built religious heritage in Toronto. In particular, I offer a brief glimpse of how other cities like Montr´eal and London (England) have negotiated the reuse of their own religious heritage. Very different path-dependencies based on specific religious histories, urban geographies and state-based interventions demonstrate diverging, and in some ways more appropriate, methods for handling built religious heritage. With these emerging models to which Toronto may aspire, it is clear that the church loft phenomenon is far from a ‘closed case’. Indeed, this concluding chapter thus offers a range of challenges and possibilities for sustaining and cultivating productive urban development, development which is sensitive to Toronto’s cultural and religious urban fabric.  24  Part I  Contexts of Change  25  A shape less recognisable each week, A purpose more obscure. I wonder who Will be the last, the very last, to seek This place for what it was - Larkin (1955), “Church Going”  Thanks to Larkin’s incorrigible inquisitiveness, a prerequisite of poetic talent no doubt, what might have been a banal visit to an empty church was in fact a much more profound experience. Larkin struggles with the meaning of this place, lost, in part, to an “awkward reverence”. Yet, an important moment is captured here as the poet interrupts the present through an evaluation of the future. Indeed, a lasting impression concerns the element of ‘change’: the transformation of the church, not merely of its aesthetic nature, but more importantly, of its social and cultural meaning. Like Larkin’s ‘Church Going’, a fundamental aspect of this thesis deals with change. Of course, there is hardly anything new about exploring and interrogating change, indeed, for this is the heart of academic research. A crucial importance, therefore, is in deciding which forms of change to inspect and which ones to leave out - never an easy task. In each chapter of this section I explore what I consider as the most important contexts of change which have converged to help produce the phenomenon of church lofts, namely: religious change, the changing approaches to interpreting and managing heritage, and urban change. These three broad-ranging topics will take us from such concepts as secularization and the post-secular society, gentrification and adaptive re-use, and urban conservation policy and the process of heritagization. Although these are certainly not the only explanatory factors setting the stage for church lofts, taken together they offer a valuable perspective to understand the phenomenon at hand.  26  Chapter 2  Religion and the Post-Modern City The contemporary western city is, by and large, a secular project. To say that the practices of planning institutions, the making of social, cultural or economic policies, or the local articulations of neighbourhood identities generally proceed without direct involvement from religious authorities would hardly be met with significant opposition. For some time now religion as a force in the formation of urban space has been considerably reduced; communities that once relied heavily on the words and ideas of their bishops, priests and their religious institutions have for decades turned to other sources for all types of guidance and order. Religion, it seems, has been increasingly transformed from a central voice to just another opinion in the crowd. For the contemporary discipline of geography, religion, compared to other issues, has been relatively understudied – if the places in which we live, work and socialize no longer hold any significant connection to the cultural histories, traditions and authorities of religion then why should they matter? This is not to say that geographers are uninterested in such issues. Since David Sopher (1967, vii) mapped religion as a “frontier territory” in the 1960s and with the resurgence in ‘all things religious’ in the aftermath of 9/11, religion has been increasingly taken up by geographers as a worthy field of study. Recent work has bridged some of the gap and has included new critical approaches to religion and geopolitics (Agnew, 27  2001; Knippenberg, 2006); the construction of identity through religion and everyday practices (Holloway and Valins, 2002); the foundations of religious historical geographies (Brace et al., 2006); and the formation of new Islamic landscapes (Davies and Dwyer, 2008). And, although this recent work has done much to elevate interest of religious geographies in general, contemporary urban geographers have remained relatively quiet about the impacts of changing religious values on the morphology of the city (c.f. Kong, 1990, 1992, 2001). Crucial to these lacunae is the historical lineage of theories concerning both religious and urban development - two supposed antithetical phenomena. In the classic works by Max Weber (1922) and Marx and Engels (1906) for example, religion was increasingly viewed as a temporary ‘condition’, a sociological and psychological phenomenon that pervaded pre-urban societies as a means to alleviate the pressures and fears of a pre-modern life or as a socio-political tactic deployed by the powerful elite to retain ideological control over the urbanizing masses. These early diagnoses provided the theoretical subtext for subsequent evaluations of religion in the period of rapid industrialization and urbanization characteristic of modern societies. This was, evidently, a central catalyst of socio-religious change; for the shifting nature of work, family, consumption and the city brought with them profound economic, political and spiritual transitions (Durkheim, 1922; Weber, 1922). The ‘intimate encounter’ between religion and modernity, as sociologist Roger O’Toole (2000, 35) calls it, underlies a cultural collision that has been reworking notions of identity, heritage and society for some time. For many, this collision has meant the ‘death-knell’ of religion in western societies with the rise of a now naturalized meta-narrative in contemporary western societies. Consider: the imperatives of modern science questioned theological truth; the differentiation of work and family de-stabilized traditional religious practices; new patterns of consumption led to unconventional spiritual arrangements and the replacement of a spiritual focus by a commodity fetish. Scholars in the social sciences repeatedly conflated modernity with secularization to describe what they saw as the steady decline of religious commitment, the evacuation of the churches and the loss of religious referents in cultural and political life (Berger, 1979; Wilson, 1982; Bruce, 2002a). The expected decline in religious authority and the discourse of deflated reli28  gious culture has thus pushed religion out of the interest of much urban geographical research. In the post-modern city, religion is often envisioned as merely one among many forces vying for and inflicting change, and, even where religion still retains significant influence, the central emphases remain on such issues as ethnicity, race and class. Notwithstanding the logical and necessary focus of these current research topics, the assumptions that religion is not important or simply ancillary to the everyday lives of western urbanites and the workings of the post-modern city should certainly not be a default position. Rather, while the classic ‘secularization theory’ has helped explain to some degree the fate of many communities and their religious traditions, especially concerning the uncoupling of church and state and the depopulation of mainline denominations, many point out that this paradigm can no longer explain, for instance, why church attendance rates in cities continue to plunge while declarations of faith remain buoyant; why evangelical Christian denominations have ballooned during a significant shrinkage in traditional denominations; or, why fundamentalisms of all sorts are flourishing all across the world and concentrating in global urban centres. Instead of simply evaporating, religion in various circumstances has been deregulated, reshaped, relocated, re-traditionalized and restructured. The reality therefore is that religion and secularization in Canada, as elsewhere, is enduringly uneven and complex. In the following chapter, I trace a specific path within the urban geography of religion. My aim is to explore how the current phenomenon of church re-use is partly anchored in the complex issues relating to religious change in the contemporary urban context. As a central argument, I explore how the re-valorization of church properties, described as a transition from a set of sacred places of worship to a set of financial assets for sale to the secular public, is linked to a re-positioning of religion within contemporary society: shifting from a pioneering institution in the production of Canadian identity, community, and urban space, to an enduring yet decentralized cultural resource. In this way, a multitude of church and worship spaces that were once filled with religious congregants in older urban neighbourhoods are, in general, revalued as unique heritage commodities in the real estate market. In order to make these points I trace the contours of religious change characteristic of modern Canada. In particular, I focus on the Canadian religious landscape 29  and highlight two distinct periods in Canadian history that demonstrate significant patterns of religious transition: the so-called ‘golden age of faith’ and the apparent period of Canadian ‘disenchantment’. In the case of the former, a variety of statistics are used to explore an era of relative religious vitality, a significant period for organized religion in which the Christian church was a key building block in the social lives of Canadians and their growing communities and cities. In the case of the latter, I explore a period marked by a shift away from the same churches that once guided generations of Canadians. This period of supposed disenchantment is discussed with particular attention to a series of modern conditions that partly reflect the religious transitions that have characterized the modern religious landscape, namely: shifting institutional practice, religious and spiritual diversification, and the phenomenon known as ‘believing without belonging’. My argument, in brief, is that such modern forces have drastically altered the traditional and functional role of religion, representing an instance of the decline in the scope of religious authority and as a stage in the partial re-structuring of the traditional roles of religious organizations in contemporary society (Chaves, 1994; Ostwalt, 2003; Miller, 2005). Moreover, I contend that while such forces do not inherently destroy religion they have the effect of shifting religious authority and tradition away from religious institutions to other elements in society - opening gaps for new forms of religiosity and new types of secular appropriation of religious heritage and cultures. Importantly, these transitions mark a decline in the demand for traditional ecclesiastical resources like conventional places of worship.  2.1  The (Over) Churching of Canada: A Booming Religious Economy (1881-1960)  “People recall happier days. Former publisher John Irwin remembers Sundays in Toronto when he was growing up in the 1940s. At Bloor and Yonge, you could walk down the middle of the street with your eyes shut and not get run over,” he says.“Everyone was in church”, Reginald Bibby, Unknown Gods, (1993, 3) It is perhaps a foregone conclusion that the Canada of the past was a deeply religious place. The story of its development is largely a story of the successes 30  and challenges that many religious groups and their leaders had faced in the years from colonization to Confederation and beyond. This is also predominantly a story of Christianity; of distinct patterns of Christian religious practice, the articulations of specific social dimensions of religious experience, the development of Christian institutions, and the role of Christianity in the formation of community life and urban (hi)stories. By the nineteenth century, a distinct Christian legacy was firmly rooted in the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, and, by that time these two traditions had fully inscribed Christianity as a centre and symbol in the cultural landscape of the nation. In this way, Canada experienced a significant pattern of churching from the early part of that century to the middle of the twentieth, suggesting a period of significant religious vitality and a possible ‘golden age’ in Canadian religion (Grant, 1988; Westfall, 1989). Defining a ‘golden age of faith’, however, is not without its problems. Criticism of the golden age discourse suggests that societies of the distant past are too often a caricature of a state in religious fervor, an image of a fully sacred society (Neuhaus, 1986). Medieval and Victorian societies, the archetypical examples, are regularly evoked in this mantle and are rhetorically contrasted against some current depressed state of religious activity. Statistics, too, are often misread or misrepresented and used as false claims of religious affiliation and practice, incorrectly portraying a strength in societal devotion. As result, sensitivity is required when defining the past; we need to get it right in order to suggest that, in this case, the religious landscape has undergone significant change. One point of departure follows the extensive work done by Canadian sociologists and historians like John Webster Grant (1988), Peter Beyer (1997, 2008) and Reginald Bibby (1993, 2000, 2002), among others, whose evaluations of historic developments and national statistics have yielded significant insight into Canadian religious patterns. Peter Beyer (1997, 276), for instance, points out that by the end of the nineteenth century the Canadian population was highly religious, with the majority as regular participants. The data for religious affiliations in Canada from 1842 to 1901 demonstrate the relative strength of the denominations that comprised the nation’s religious landscape (Table 2.1). In this diversifying Christian mosaic, it is worth noting the growth trends in the smaller denominations like the Methodists, Presbyterian and Baptist groups. 31  Table 2.1: Religious Affiliation in Canada, 1842-1901 (source: Beyer 1997, 276)  Denomination Roman Catholic Anglicans All Presbyterians All Methodists All Baptists Total of Above No Affiliation  Percentage of Total Population 1842/1844 1851 53.8 12.8 10.9 8.3 1.7 87.5 8.5  50.5 14.8 13.1 12.6 2.8 93.8 2.6  1861  1861  1881  1901  47.1 15.0 13.8 15.2 3.1 94.2 1.3  44.4 15.0 15.3 14.2 6.4 95.3 1.4  41.4 13.3 15.6 17.2 6.9 94.4 2.1  41.5 12.9 15.9 17.1 5.9 93.3 0.9  Such growth in previously marginal Protestantism, in tandem with the more established Anglicanism and Catholicism, was due in large part to the influx of diverse groups of Western European immigrants, many flocking to the growing urban centres throughout Ontario and Quebec but also filtering to newly minted western townships (Westfall, 1989). These figures demonstrate the dominance of the twin “shadow establishments” of Catholicism and Protestantism throughout the Canadian religious market (Lyon, 2000). Since affiliation hovered at about 90%, and there was an actual decline in ‘no affiliation’, suggesting a prominent switch toward a specific religious commitment, the dominance and vitality of both mainline groups throughout this period are clear. Such a lively religious culture in this period was likely the result, in part, of a post-Confederation push made by both Protestant and Catholic communities of rural and urban Canada to uphold a landscape of churchgoing as a prominent project in building not simply local articulations of identity but also national ones. Indeed, it was primarily after Confederation that many Christian groups began to exploit the possibilities of cultivating religious communities tied to a sense of nationalism - often expressed either as a unified Canadian identity or one of a distinct FrenchCanadian nationality. The expansion of Canadian Protestantism, for example, hit its stride in the decades before the twentieth century and with the formation of the Canadian nation32  state. And, although many Protestant leaders sat idle during the political machinations of 1867, for the Confederation was primarily if not entirely a venture led by politicians and rail promoters, their enthusiastic participation post-confederacy is certainly remarkable (Westfall, 1989; Airhart, 1990). The new Dominion of Canada, popularly evoked in the words of politician and Methodist Leonard Tilley, “he shall have dominion from sea to sea”, became a religious project and creating ‘His Dominion’ became a central task (Westfall, 1989, 4). As Phyllis Airhart (1990, 99) explains, the new nation became an “arena where denominational pluralism was tested”, and many Protestant leaders sought to expand their churches’ influence and message through the “search for national identity”. Pulpit and religious press, she continues, combined to galvanize public support for the nation and was central in articulating the Protestant mission (Airhart, 1990). Through the growth and promotion of numerous Protestant reform movements, voluntary societies and missionary activities, Canada in this era was, as sociologist S.D. Clark (1968, 171) proclaimed, one of the “few countries in the western world in which religion exerted as great an influence on the development of community”. The Roman Catholic Church, spread across the country but rooted in Quebec, was perhaps less nationalistic in its expression, especially by way of an association with an established sense of federal identity. Catholicism, for the majority of Acadian- and Franco-Canadians, was thus a central symbol of a more local, provincial and ultramontane allegiance. This particular configuration of religious community was increasingly reinforced by the complex institutional networks controlled by the Catholic Church itself and was characterized, first, by the strong local parishes whose ecclesiastical community structure worked to acculturate thousands of rural migrants to Quebec’s booming urban centres (Perin, 1996). Roberto Perin (1996, 203) points out that the highly active parish not only helped these migrants by “cushion(ing) the shock of an alien environment” but also, importantly, they provided a substantial degree of “social and cultural cohesion” and a continued “link with the past”. Outside of the local parish, substantial institutional control was made possible by the role of the Church in public education (including higher education system like the colleges classiques); in health care facilities like hospitals, foundling homes, and health care institutes; and in a variety of social services like orphanages, and shelters for sex-workers and unwed mothers (Perin, 1996). 33  The Catholic Church, by all intents and purposes, was a social and cultural, as much as a religious, focal point for Quebec and its largely Francophone population. The cultural hegemony of Catholicism, reinforced through a deep institutional framework, promoted a strong affiliation both through an official means and the active participation of its thousands of congregants. With the cultivation of both national and local identities imbued with established religious heritage, it is little wonder that organized religion around the turn of the century was, in the words of Brian Clarke (1996, 262), “growing faster than society itself”. And yet, while the statistics on the rising rates of affiliation and its probable causes are telling, Beyer (1997, 226) points out that they do not reveal much about the proportion of the population that was actually ‘churched’. A more useful source of data that gauges religious involvement are church membership rolls and the numbers of buildings built and owned by the various denominations. In the case of the former, membership statistics collected during this period offer further evidence of an expanding religious culture. Although demonstrating only a partial picture, Table 2.2 shows the relative trends of growth in membership status across denominations.1 In the period before WWII slow but steady growth was the norm. This was also, importantly, a period of significant merger for Canada’s main Protestant denominations. By 1925, most of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists and virtually all of the Methodists had amalgamated to form the United Church of Canada and as a result, the four largest religious groups in the nation became three: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the United Church. The United and Anglican membership figures (both growing by over 400,000 members from 1901 to 1941) were consistently influenced by a continuous flow of European immigrants while the figures for Catholic membership (also demonstrating a 42% affiliation in Canada by 1901) demonstrated the relative entrenchment and national domination of this religious group. Reflecting the changes in membership, Table 2.3 shows that across all major Christian denominations in Ontario and Quebec church and chapel construction was a booming industry. In just 50 years time, between 1851 and 1901, the Protes1 Although useful, membership statistics need to be used with caution. Early figures were derived without any consensus on exactly what constituted ‘membership’ across the varying denominations, and membership surveys were conducted irregularly.  34  Table 2.2: Select Religious Membership in Canada, 1871-1966 (in thousands) (source: Beyer 1997, 278)  Year  35  1871 1881 1901 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1966  Denomination United Anglican n/a 170 289 401 671 717 834 1037 1602  n/a n/a 368 690 794 836 1096 1358 1293  Baptist  Pentecostal  Lutheran  Presbyterian  Roman Catholic  n/a n/a n/a n/a 132 134 135 138 137  n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 45 60 65  n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 121 172 189  n/a n/a 214 351 181 174 177 201 200  1586 1773 2256 3427 4047 4806 6069 8343 9160  tant groups increased their places of worship by 4000 buildings, and the Catholics, mainly in Quebec, added almost 900 in total. Seating capacity, according to Beyer (1997), was, as would be expected with such a number of churches, in ample supply. According to the 1901 Census of Canada, the nation’s churches had space for 3,842,332 congregants in a time when the total population was 5,371,315. Assuming that churches held an average of two services a week, this combined to almost eight million spaces for the country’s faithful, well above its total population (Beyer, 1997; Bibby, 2002). Crude attendance estimates for Toronto in 1882 and 1896, based upon surveys conducted by a local newspaper, showed occupancy rates of 78% and 57% respectively (Beyer, 1997, 227).2 By this time, the very nature of congregational worship had also changed and the aesthetic quality of the religious experience, which was for Protestant groups typically of little or less concern, became a priority. According to Clarke (1996, 273), “richly carpeted front platforms and pulpits, tall stained glass windows, walls paneled with well-oiled wood, vaulted ceilings decorated with tinted paper and elegant chandeliers”, and exteriors made of elaborate stone were the new order of the day, creating both a “dignified and imposing setting for worship”. Architectural changes also often included a ‘spectacle’-style construction highlighting organs, choirs, and clear views to the pulpit.3 Such imposing churches cast a statement from within and without, representing, as Westfall (1989) eloquently put it, “sermons in stone”. Acting as physical symbols of religious and social ideology, these new structures helped frame emerging urban landscapes. As control over the symbolic space of the city remained almost entirely in the hands of Christian groups their spires inevitably dominated the early Canadian skyline (Figure 2.1). For many groups these were conspicuous displays of wealth and substance, an expression of the “public status of the particular denomination as well as the social standing of the individual church members” (Clarke, 1996, 274). 2 More  systematic attendance figures from this period do not exist. The first known Canadian survey was conducted in 1945, and as such we must rely on other data sets in order to complete the picture of nineteenth century religiosity in Canada 3 Anglican churches in particular reference this change in architectural style (see Grant, 1998). In many cases, wrapping galleries were introduced to envelope the nave and give a central, stage-like, presence to the pulpit.  36  Table 2.3: Number of Churches Per Denominational Group in Ontario and Quebec, 1851-1901 (source: Beyer 1997, 277)  37  Denomination  1851  1871  1901  % Church Increase  % Affiliate Increase  Roman Catholic Anglicans All Presbyterians All Methodists All Baptists All Groups  511 344 344 592 140 2137  903 687 791 2055 411 5164  1398 1179 1268 2441 490 7569  173.6 242.7 268.6 313.7 250.0 254.7  99.0 67.4 125.3 209.6 150.1 105.1  Figure 2.1: Protestant Architecture in Toronto and Hamilton (from left to right: St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Hamilton, built circa 1857; St. George’s on the Hill Anglican Church, Toronto, built circa 1844) (author’s photos: Sept, 2009) Of course, by the late nineteenth century many new worship spaces were also built on vacant farmlands on the peripheries of cities like Toronto and Montreal. Designed to serve expanding populations of industrial workers and their families filling new residential developments and the proto-suburbs, most of these early chapels were modest in their trappings (Lynch, 2011). However, like the landmark churches closer to the urban core, many of these outlying buildings were eventually renovated to suit both the functional and symbolic needs of the ballooning denominations. For the Catholic communities of Anglo-Canada, historical development and expansion in Toronto, for example, was heavily dependent on the arrival of workingclass Irish immigrants. Unlike the Protestants’ ability to tap into the relatively af-  38  fluent networks of fellow congregants and benefactors, financial support for many early Catholic groups rested solely on congregational donations of the working poor. The early Catholic churches, therefore, were often necessarily unassuming, ‘unobtrusive’ and ‘plain’ structures (Clarke, 1996). By the mid-1800s, however, as Catholic parishes expanded generously in urban centres, new ornate Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles were the order of the day, emphasizing, above all, an ornate visual field to the religious experience. According to Clarke (1996, 276) the more ‘churchly’ styles of new Catholic architecture furnished the appropriate setting for the elaborate ceremonies that were to emerge as hallmarks of the new Catholic piety. Churches were transformed into houses of God,... the Catholics commissioned not only stainedglass windows and massive paintings, but statues, [c]andelabra and ornamental gas-jet lighting..., altar pieces became more elaborate and imposing. The Protestant and Catholic churches, in their own ways, were thus deeply symbolic not simply as religious markers but also as distinct objects of civic pride put on to display local community prosperity and impart both a social and symbolic capital to their users and communities (Figure 2.2). Moreover, these structures became anchor-points for the growth of communities, parishes and the many generations of urban Christians to follow. As result, the prosperity of Christian religious culture gained ground at the turn of the century and by the end of WWII, religion in Canada had developed considerable momentum. In fact, not long after 1945, as Canadian historian John Webster Grant (1988, 160) remarked, there was “a general boom in all things religious”. Several statistics during this period illustrate this upsurge. Membership numbers from 1951 to 1961 show growth in all denominations and the Anglicans and the United Church led the way with growth over 25% each; while even the Presbyterians, who had seen dramatic decline in the previous 30 years following partial merger into the United Church in the 1920s, enjoyed modest growth (Table 2.4). Weekly service attendance was also strong, so that by the time the first Gallup Poll was conducted in 1945, over 60% of the population was said to have attended a church service on nearly a weekly basis (Bibby, 2002, 11). By 1957, the majority of Canadians still maintained this practice – with the 39  Figure 2.2: St. Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto, built circa 1845 (photo: Robb Gilbert, April 2010)  40  devout Roman Catholics attending more than 80% and the Protestants (including the more liberal mainline denominations) maintaining attendance rates over 30% (Table 2.5). The surge of religious practice in post-war Canada was not entirely expected. Although a good number of pundits foresaw a bright future due to both an anticipated rise of economic proficiency and standards of living, and, the expected return of war-weary soldiers and their families, many others were anxious of a repeat depression and disenchantment that gripped the nation in the 1920s and 1930s following the First World War (Stackhouse, 1990). By 1945, however, the resulting religious landscape was much more vibrant than anticipated and the swelling numbers of affiliates and the new demands for church spaces pressured virtually every religious group to expand and construct new facilities. By the early 1950s, the Anglicans and Roman Catholics, for example, had increased their spending on worship spaces by almost threefold and continued to spend conspicuously on new construction up to the beginning of the 1960s (Figure 2.3). Numerous parish committees, diocesan stewards, and eager congregant volunteers began feverishly exploring feasible building sites, consulting architects, and contracting developers (Grant, 1998). Renovations of all kinds became a preoccupation for many postdepression churches that had been left to deteriorate from lack of funding, while for the otherwise functional churches, worship spaces could no longer accommodate the range of activities in demand. As a result, expanded sanctuaries and new, often ambitious, additions to existing facilities came in the form of large classrooms, dining halls, gymnasia, green space and community centres. It is important to note that new churches and chapels were not only built in rising urban centres. In particular, the surprising expansion of the post-war suburb played a large part in the post-war religious boom. Indeed the modern suburb, released from the exclusive grip of the upper classes, became an economic and social reality for a growing segment of the affluent working and middle class groups. Romantically portrayed as a ‘refuge’ from the decaying city, the suburbs came to embody a sense of domesticity and community increasingly sought after by many middle class families; families seeking what was to become a conservative Canadian dream and a dream that often involved reveries of a religious kind. Church construction in the new suburbs or previously overlooked subdivisions was big 41  Table 2.4: Select Protestant Membership in Canada, 1951-1991 (Number of Members (in 1,000s), including children, and Members as % of Total Population (members exclusive of children in brackets)) (source: Beyer 1997, 282) Denomination  42  United % membership/population Presbyterian % membership/population Anglican % membership/population Baptist % membership/population Lutheran % membership/population National Estimates (includes Roman Catholic) % membership/population  1951  1961  1981  1991  1011 (834) 7.2% 205 (177) 1.5% 1096 7.8% 162 (135) 1.2% 142 (121) 1.0%  1273 (1037) 7.0% 273 (201) 1.3% 1358 7.4% 168 (138) 0.9% 208 (172) 1.1%  1018 (900) 4.2% 182 (164) 0.8% 915 3.8% 242 (212) 1.0% 242 (219) 1.0%  888 (786) 3.3% 174 (157) 0.6% 848 3.1% 249 (220) 0.9% 229 (208) 0.8%  56%  57%  35%  27%  70	
    43  10	
    * Religious properties include all dioceses of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, and some parishes of the United Church. The grossing variable for the United Church sample is its membership, as indicated in its annual reports. New construction by other denominations is placed in net additions. The coverage for the various denominations could be low, to the extent that new construction is not covered by building permits. For 1942 to 1946, the 1947 estimate was projected back according to an index based on church construction as reported in the construction censuses.  Source: for 1942 to 1960, Historical Statistics of Canada (Second Edition); for 1961 to 1976, CANSIM Matrix Nos. 001218, 001222.   Figure 2.3: The Construction Cost for New Religious Properties in Canada between 1942-1972  Table 2.5: Select Religious Membership in Canada, 1957-1990 (source: Bibby 2002)  Denomination National Roman Catholic Outside Quebec Quebec Protestant Mainline Conservative Other Faiths  Percentage of Total Population 1957 1975 53 83 75 88 38 35 51 35  31 45 48 42 27 23 41 17  1990 24 33 37 28 22 14 49 12  business; between 1945 and 1966, for example, the United Church alone had built 1500 churches and some 600 manses to cater to the swelling numbers of followers living outside the city (Stackhouse, 1990). Moreover, in many new suburban developments, centrally located churches gave the expanding community not simply close proximity to worship spaces but also importantly represented a material symbol connecting their renewed faith with the search for privacy, progress and modernity. Such geographic and class-based dimensions of the religious boom, however, meant that a majority of churches met a distinct challenge in both the smaller rural townships and the declining inner city. As Grant (1988, 162) suggests, whereas the newly planted churches “consolidated [their] position among ... members of the middle class... [they] failed to halt the steady erosion of its appeal to organized labour and the dispossessed”. Certainly, this period of religious prosperity had its limits. An acceptance and participation in organized religion en masse was not the reality, and in numerous cases new church pews were filled by the emptying of others. Clearly, however, a renewed interest in the Christian faith and in churchgoing was a rising trend. For John Stackhouse (1990, 220) the seriousness with which the majority of Canadians took to their religious practice was primarily related to a post-war desire to “get back to normal” and going to church, he argues, was just “a normal part of the overall conservatism” of the nation in that era. Similarly, Grant  44  (1988, 162) refers to this as a clear sign of nostalgia, a wish to “rejoin mainstream Canadian life”. As he puts it, “they wanted to forget the interruptions of their careers...make up for lost years”, and return to the tradition and “heritage they have known”. Crucially, religion, as an institutionalized practice, and the church, as the symbolic and material ground for both religion and community (local and national), were part and parcel of this society-wide urge to restore a sense of ‘normalcy’. Sunday schools too, played a large part in this trend. Across mainline denominations increases in Sunday school attendance ballooned in response to the baby boom; the Presbyterian Church of Canada (1946, 1966), for example, estimated that its Sunday School enrollment went from approximately 72,337 in 1945 to 111,874 by 1960. Re-establishing links with religious traditions and re-claiming an active Canadian citizenship, it seems, certainly involved bringing children into the fold, not simply as weekly congregants but more importantly as students of religion and disciples of a Canadian Christian heritage. For their part, the parents of Sunday school pupils were flocking to newly established church groups of all kinds. Men’s and women’s groups, as Stackhouse (1990, 201) explains, expanded; and men’s church groups in particular came to rival the traditionally popular social clubs like the Lions and Kiwanis. Likewise, bible study groups and service projects also gained popular status offering other important educational and socializing outlets. While groups like these represented legitimate means to reconnect with Christianity for its own purpose or as a means to alleviate a post-war nostalgia, according to Grant (1988, 162-163) the expanding number of active ‘souls’ across Canada was also driven by a substantial sense of anxiety, what he calls “one of the most pervasive characteristics of the time”. Together, rising fears over the Cold War, the possibilities of atomic threats and the need for many to meet the social expectations of the day certainly played a considerable part. For the church, however, Grant (1988, 163) argues that anxieties aired to priests and ministers were of the more personal kind: couples worried about their marriages after the war; men traumatized by the past depression feared for their jobs; and, many more sought advice from the church concerning ways to consolidate their “material security”, “achieve personal stability” or solidify their “position in the community”. Other reasons for the boom in Canadian churchgoing in this era were not neces45  sarily related to the specific efforts of the Christian churches as religious or welfare service providers. One reason, in particular, concerns the largely communitarian role of local churches. That is, churches and chapels across the nation were often the main, if not the only, centres of community life. In fact, in the wake of the rapid metropolitanization that reconfigured Canadian society after the war, new demands for community places and social hubs were quickly taken up by many of the established inner-urban and rural churches. Whether or not individuals from the various parishes were indeed believers or simply seeking to express some sort of collective nostalgia, or looking for refuge from personal anxieties, the church presented a considerable community space often offering an array of opportunities for sports and leisure, social events, or sites for community debate above and beyond those already present in more secular places like city- or town-halls. The church in this instance was a formative social institution enticing and retaining some members and affiliates not based on its role as a spiritual resource per se but as a function of its ability to provide for the social and intellectual life of the community.  2.2  Age of Decline: Canada’s ‘Leaky Religious Roof’  By the 1960s, the supposed golden years of Canadian religiosity had seemingly ended. The post-war prosperity that marked Canada’s religious landscape was not limitless. Although Canadian conservatism, the suburban explosion and the nostalgic traditionalism of the 1940s and 1950s was certainly a potent mixture in redefining Canadian ways of life, in the following decades the nation’s social and cultural canopy was jolted in new and uncertain directions. Religion, like other established institutions, was not immune to myriad advancing and converging changes: an urban and industrial boom, an entrenchment of suburban values and lifestyles in Canadian culture, heightened consumerism, and dramatic shifts of the immigration mosaic. By the mid-1960s the churches that once laid claim to guiding the vast majority of Canadians’ spiritual and social lives were in recession; according to Bibby (2002, 12) “the Canadian religious roof had developed a noticeable leak”. Reviewing attendance and memberships statistics of the time, Bibby (2002, 12) argues that the “ominous hole in the religious roof” went, rather remarkably, unnoticed by the religious groups whose livelihoods depended on a steady population of  46  congregants. Depending on how one chooses to look at it, the origins of a systematic crawl away from the churches was already in view by the mid-to-late 1950s and confusion over numbers and proportions continually distorted the approaching reality. According to census figures in 1951 and 1961, in terms of absolute numbers, the mainline churches seemed to be healthy. Between these years the total number of affiliates that attended services on a weekly basis increased from 3.4 million to 3.8 million. However, looked at in terms of growth, the Canadian population increased from about 8 million to 10 million in the same time period and no religious group increased its proportional share of the population. More than this, after decades of expansion in the nation’s Sunday schools, a crucial tool in the longterm viability of congregations, many churches began reporting dramatic drops in attendance. Likewise, larger numbers of clergy also began abandoning churches in search of better prospects, and financial resources (from congregational support and public fundraising) were increasingly difficult to raise. By the mid-1970s the picture of change was coming sharply into focus. National Gallup polls summarized some of these conditions: whereas 61% of Canadians in 1956 reported attendance at a religious service in the previous week, only 41% did so in 1975; those claiming to attend religious services on a weekly basis dropped to 27% among Protestants and 45% among Roman Catholics; and, mainline Protestant (Anglican, United, Lutheran and Presbyterian) membership statistics demonstrated considerable declines “for perhaps the first time in Canadian history” (Bibby, 2002, 12). For the many academics and journalists who were comfortably attuned to the secularization story already told in Britain and much of Western Europe, the limits of religion, and Christianity in particular, had finally materialized in Canada. For Rouleau (1977) and Grant (1988), among others, the late 1960s and early 1970s marked the end of the ‘unofficial establishment of Christianity’. According to Grant (1988, 241) Canadian Christianity had become “little more than a memory (as) the life of the nation proceeds almost as if [the churches] did not exist”. Even south of the border, the widely popular, if not notorious, ‘Is God is Dead?’ headlines that ran in the late 1960s signalled, at the very least, the beginning stages of public concern in the United States over the fate of faith in an emerging post-  47  modern era.4 Concerns in the popular media hinged upon renewing the relevance of God and religion in the face of a secularizing society; of making sense of how modern science, individualism and relativism have altered people’s daily lives and relationships to religion and spirituality. Of course, religion in America, unlike Western Europe, has been marked by a resurgence of Christian faith mostly attributable to the influences of Latin American immigrants and a rise of right-wing religious politics. American Catholicism and conservative Protestantism have remained, for the large part, relatively healthy even as media sources rehash the ‘God is Dead’ debates. In Canada, however, we sit somewhere between the Americans and the British; somewhere between a state of de-churching, un-churching and re-churching. I write ‘somewhere’ because the Canadian religious landscape is by no means a fully mapped terrain, and perhaps, neither can it be. While the secularization thesis certainly helps us understand how certain forms of religious organization have been displaced from a central position in Canadian society, it does not account for other forms of religious resilience, or new and growing demands for religious services by Canada’s recent immigrants. Thus, while we have an abundance of secularist accounts in the national media declaring the imminent extinction of Canadian mainline religion (see Brean, 2006; Valpy, 2006, 2008; Valpy and Friesen, 2010), we also have an emerging, although somewhat minority, literature with claims of “solid stability” and “remnant resilience” (Bibby, 2002; Todd, 2009). Still others argue today that we are in a post-Christian, post-secular, or post-churched period - a new terrain of religious practice and involvement that is entirely different than the traditions and cultures that have been foundational to Canadian ways of life for generations (Bloom, 1992; Gilbert, 1980; Houtman and Aupers, 2007; Lyon, 2000). No matter what era we are actually in, one thing is for certain: contemporary religion, and Christianity in particular, is a constantly shifting ground where religious practices, values and traditions are moving in often uncertain directions just as the culture and composition of the nation consistently takes new shape. In the following section therefore I explore several statistical and demographic trends which have emerged since the 1960s and present a remarkable shift in the 4 In 2008, the Los Angeles Times named the Times Magazine 1966 “Is God Dead?” issue among the “10 magazine covers that shook the world”.  48  nature of religion. This shift has not only helped to produce a ‘religious economy’ characterized by increasing pressures on mainline religious organizations to maintain a largely public presence in cities but has also created the contexts for a steady supply of redundant urban churches for new uses. In particular, I highlight first, trends in ‘affiliation’ and ‘attendance’ – key indicators of ‘public’ religion, belonging and participation in organized religious practice. By and large these indicators point toward wavering trends of affiliation and declining trends in attendance, suggesting both that many Canadians are ‘believing without belonging’ and are increasingly practicing religion in private as opposed to more traditional public spaces of worship. Second, I focus on one rapidly expanding category described as ‘no religious affiliation’ in the censuses. The implications of growth in this category result in dramatic shifts of demand and supply for traditional worship places, leading in some cases to declines in ministerial growth, congregational amalgamations, and church closures. Moving in a different direction, I highlight, third, religious pluralism and cultural diversity as key drivers of religious change in Canada and its major urban centres. In an era of multiculturalism, I argue, the emergence of new immigrant cultures and the fragmentation of orthodox Christianity have resulted in both a potent challenge to the hegemony of traditional Christian cultures and the opening of new spaces for religious practice and worship.  2.2.1  Declining Religiosity: Examining Changing Religious Affiliation and Attendance  As in the previous section statistics of affiliation and attendance collected in the Canadian censuses provide a valuable resource for evaluating the state of religiosity throughout Canada. Additionally, the General Social Survey (GSS) and the Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS) also provide a wealth of information on current trends in religious belief and practice. Together these data-sets present a complex reality of religious change with regards to Christianity in Canada. Beginning with affiliation, the trend since the 1960s has been one of slow but fluctuating decline. In particular, the total share of religious affiliates in the major Christian groups is down from previous census years, showing a loss of almost 30% over a one hundred year period (Table 2.6). The majority of this change has occurred in the mainline Protestant denominations, declining precipitously from 49  the 1961 census to the latest 2001 census report. Looking more closely at the last census decade (1991 to 2001), this group took a relatively deep blow in total number of affiliates, reporting a more than 8% drop in affiliation (Table 2.7). A detailed look at the transitions in Protestant membership between 1991 and 2001 (Table 2.8) shows a clear decline in what can be considered the groups associated with Canada’s established Protestant culture: the Presbyterians (-35.6%), Uniteds (-8.2%), Anglicans (-7.0%) and Lutheran (-4.7%). Conversely, growth in the Baptist Church (+10%) and Evangelical Church (+48%), among other key groups, represent ‘hotspots’ in religious conservatism. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholics, the largest single denomination in Canada, has, unlike the Protestants, generally held its ground - reporting an affiliation rate of almost 44% and a positive growth rate of over 4% in the period reported. When religious affiliation is expressed as a percentage of the population, we get a general picture of declining growth. Specifically we see a loss of about 8.3% ‘market share’ in ten years, or about 0.8% decline in religious affiliation per year. Importantly, while this loss may not seem considerable in the short-term, it is certainly of concern over the long term for some of the nation’s largest religious organizations. Discussed in more detail below, it is important to note briefly that growth in the category of ‘no religion’ has been a remarkable trend over the past hundred years. By 2001 over 16% of Canadians claimed they had ‘no religious’ affiliation - a statistic that has been consistently growing in each census period and which has demonstrated a 44% rate of growth from 1991-2001. Like affiliation, attendance figures among many of the Canadian churches are also characterized by considerable fluctuations but marked by a general trend of decline. As stated above, attendance has been a well-monitored metric of religiosity throughout the years and routinely documented in the censuses and the General Social Surveys, and by various polling agencies like Ipsos Reid and Gallup. Most notably, recent statistics from the 2005 GSS suggest that regular attendance at religious services has declined in the past 20 years (Figure 2.4). In particular, only 21% of Canadians aged 15 and older reported attendance at a religious service at least once a week in 2005, down from over 30% in 1985. More than this, the proportion of Canadians reporting that they never attended religious services in the previous year increased in the 20 year period, from 21.5% to 32.8%. Similarly, shifting the ‘frequency 50  Table 2.6: Changing Christian Religious Affiliation in Canada, 1901-2001  51  Denomination  Percentage of Total Population 1901 1921  1941  1951  1961  1981  1991  2001  Roman Catholic Anglicans Presbyterians Methodists/United Baptists Lutheran Pentecostal Total of Above No Affiliation  41.5 12.9 15.9 17.1 5.9 1.7 n/a 95.0 0.9  43.4 15.2 7.2 19.2 4.2 3.5 0.5 93.1 0.3  44.7 14.7 5.6 20.5 3.7 3.2 0.7 93.1 n/a  46.7 13.2 4.5 20.1 3.3 3.6 0.8 92.2 n/a  47.3 10.1 3.4 15.6 2.9 2.9 1.4 83.6 7.4  45.7 8.1 2.4 11.5 2.5 2.4 1.6 74.2 12.5  43.5 6.8 1.4 9.7 2.5 2.0 1.2 67.2 16.5  38.6 16.0 16.0 13.2 4.8 3.3 0.1 92.0 0.5  Table 2.7: Changing Religious Affiliation in Canada, 1991-2001 Percentage of Total Population 1991 % of Population 52  Total Canadian Population Catholic Protestant Eastern Orthodox Christian n.i.e  26,994,040 12,335,255 9,427,675 387,390 353,040  45.7 35 1.4 1.3  2001  % of Population  % of Growth 1991-2001  29,639,035 12,921,285 8,654,845 495,245 780,450  43.5 29.2 1.7 2.6  +9.8 +4.8 -8.2 +27.8 +121.1  Table 2.8: Total Numbers and Growth of Select Protestant Groups in Canada between 1991-2001 (source: Canada Census, 2001) Groups  53  Presbyterian Salvation Army Pentecostal Christian Reformed Church United Church Jehovah’s Witness Mennonite Anglican Lutheran Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints Baptist Christian and Missionary Alliance Adventist Non-Denominational Evangelical Missionary Church (Methodist)  Membership 1991  Membership 2001  % Growth 1991-2001  636,295 112,345 436,435 84,685 3,093,120 168,370 207,970 2,188,110 636,210 93,890 663,360 59,235 52,360 32,005 44,935  409,830 87,790 369,475 76.665 2,839,125 154,750 191,470 2,035,500 606,595 101,805 729,475 66,285 62,880 40,545 66,705  -35.6 -21.9 -15.3 -9.5 -8.2 -8.1 -7.9 -7.0 -4.7 8.4 10 11.9 20 26.7 48.5  Figure 2.4: Frequency of Religious Attendance in Canada, 1985-2005 (source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2005; Lindsay 2008) of attendance’ metric to a monthly scale still demonstrates declining attendance, although less significantly: in the 1989 to 1993 period, 36% of Canadian adults reported ‘at least’ monthly attendance, while only 32% did so between 1999 to 2001 (Table 2.9). Furthermore, in those same periods, the vast majority of the large Census Metropolitan Agglomerations (CMAs) throughout Canada reported declines in monthly attendance rates, with Montreal leading the way. Conversely, two of the three largest CMAs, Toronto and Vancouver, reported slight increases in attendance rates. Although discussed further below, it is worth mentioning here that the growth of attendance rates in these cities is inherently connected to their positions as immigrant destinations, otherwise called gateway cities (Ley and Murphy, 2000). For Vancouver and Toronto, large numbers of recent immigrants from parts of Asia and Africa, for instance, have raised religious attendance rates as public religious practices are higher among individuals born outside of Canada (Clark, 2003) (Table 2.9). Together, these two key patterns of religiosity, affiliation and attendance, point to a shifting trend in religious practices. In short, a slowly declining religious affiliation, especially in mainline Protestantism, is paired with a more rapidly declining rate of attendance for a large number of groups. At quick glance therefore it would 54  Table 2.9: Monthly Religious Attendance Rates among Select Canadian CMAs, from 1989-2001 (source: Statistics Canada, Ethnic Diversity Study, 2002; Clark and Schellenberg 2006)  CMA  55  Canada Quebec Montreal Ottawa-Hull Halifax Saskatoon Regina Edmonton Winnipeg Victoria Calgary Toronto Vancouver  Religious Attendance (at least once per month) Average 1989-1993 Average 1999-2001 36 37 29 35 37 41 35 31 34 20 28 37 24  32 21 21 28 31 37 33 30 34 20 29 38 28  Difference -5 -15 -8 -7 -6 -4 -2 -1 0 1 1 2 4  seem a rather clear picture of Canadian religious decline writ large. However, while these trends certainly point toward a waning significance in orthodox Christianity across Canada, they do not tell the whole story. Many Canadians are still engaging in religion and Christianity, albeit, in new forms and in new ways. The following comment from a respondent in Toronto sums up the sentiment: “Sure, I believe in God and, yeah, I’m a Christian. But, the idea of going to an actual church just isn’t for me” (Interview, Carl, 2009). Believing and belonging, in the traditional sense, are thus not mutually exclusive as a growing number of Canadian Christians have expressed that formal and traditional worship spaces are no longer mandatory aspects for their continued faith. This case of believing without belonging, however, is not a new concept. In the early 1990s, sociologist Grace Davie (1994, 4) traced a similar trend in British Christianity through an examination of two separate variables of religiosity that appeared to be shifting in opposing directions: the first dealing with “feelings, experiences...the more numinous aspects of religious belief”; the second dealing with “measures of religious orthodoxy, ritual participation and institutional attachment”. As a short-hand, believing without belonging refers to an observable imbalance between these two metrics - with belief in religion growing, or at the very least remaining relatively stable, while levels of public or institutional religious practice show signs of decline. The average Briton, as the research shows, persists in believing in a God, but as Davie (1994, 2) puts it, “see(s) no need to participate with even minimal regularity in their religious institutions”. In many ways, the Canadian religious landscape is following Britain’s trend of ‘believing without belonging’ as affiliation and attendance rates continue to drop while levels of belief remain relatively buoyant. In particular, statistics from the Project Canada Surveys and the EDS demonstrate several key findings. First, according to Reginald Bibby (2002, 140) and data from his Project Canada Surveys (compiled up to the year 2000), ‘belief in God’ has remained consistent over time, with just over 80% of respondents claiming a positive belief that ‘God exists’.5 Al5 The  statistics for 2000 show the following responses for “Do you believe that God exists: 49% = “yes, I definitely do; 32% = “yes, I think so; 13% = “no, I don‘t think so; 6% = “no, I definitely do not. The cumulative responses for previous years are the following: 1984 “yes” = 84%, “no = 16%; 1990 = “yes”:82%, “no = 18%; 1995 “yes” = 80%, “no = 20%)  56  though what ‘God’ means to different individuals is highly variable, the persistence of belief in a God is important here. So too is the fact that while this result was pervasive among those who attend services at least once a year, one in two people who ‘never attend services’ also said they believe in a God (Bibby, 2002, 142). In the same surveys, Bibby (2002) points to the potency and persistence of religious ‘experiences’ as an additional indicator of sustained belief. Results from earlier surveys in 1975 up until 2000 demonstrate that consistently almost half (47% in 2000) of Canadians claim to have had an experience with God. Additionally, across the survey years there has been very little variation in the inclination of people to express certainty about having had or not had such an experience (Bibby, 2002, 146). More than this, viewed in the context of declining church attendance the fact that individual experience of God has remained relatively stable suggests that, as Bibby (2002, 151) puts it, “experience is hardly the exclusive claim of people who are actively involved in churches”. A second finding comes from data collected in the 2002 EDS which demonstrate a relative vitality in what sociologists of religion have labeled ‘personal modes’ of religious practice (Davidson, 1975; Mueller, 1980; Cornwall et al., 1986). That is, although a number of Canadians are choosing not to affiliate with any religion or attend religious services with any regularity, many are engaging in religious practices like prayer, meditation, worship and the reading of sacred texts outside of the church and on their own. In particular, the EDS shows that although 32% of adult Canadians attend religious services at least monthly, 53% of respondents engaged in religious activities by themselves. Surprisingly, 37% of respondents who claimed to ‘infrequently or never attend religious services’ also reported that they regularly engage in personal religious practices, while for individuals who had ‘not attended any religious services over the previous year’, 27% reported that they engaged in weekly religious practices on their own. Third, and lastly, more data from the 2002 EDS show that, overall, 44% of Canadians place a high degree of importance on religion in their life (Clark, 2003). Additionally, almost half (45%) of Canadian adults who do not regularly attend services but who engage in religious activities on their own at least once a month place a high degree of importance on their religion. Remarkably, this particular statistic points out that attendance figure alone do not entirely capture Canadians 57  attachment toward religious belief. Here again, the emergence of private religious practices, in whatever form, likely aid many individuals in retaining levels of commitment to (non-organized) religion. In summary, religion in Canada is not as it used to be. While current trends in affiliation have disproportionately impacted mainline religious organizations, large numbers of Canada’s faithful are also making new decisions about their participation in public religious activities. It seems that ‘believing’ and ‘belonging’ in Canada are moving in different directions. But as Globe and Mail columnists Valpy and Friesen (2010) recent stated: “it’s not that we are a nation of heathens”; indeed, the transitions in religious culture in this country have led to some interesting paradoxes as belief, experience and worship have all remained significant for many Canadians. Importantly then, this particular context certainly lessens the plausibility of a widespread secularization of Canadian society and instead points to a potential reconfiguration of religious ‘practices’ and a sense of ‘belonging’ that are outside of the traditional confines of the local church. Of course, while the complete end of the ‘bricks and mortar’ church is an unlikely future, the significant declines in both attendance rates and public belonging certainly place undue pressures on institutions that continue to struggle. These demographic shifts, therefore, raise profound questions about the future fate of institutions, denominations, and local congregations, and, their abilities to retain church properties in the fold.  2.2.2  Secular Nation, Secular City?  Although the Canadian religious landscape can be partly characterized by stability and resilience, especially concerning Christian ‘belief’, we still see a significant and continuing growth in the category of the ‘religious nones’. As detailed above the relative popularity of religion before the early 1960s was staggering; Canadians routinely reported such strong affiliation that less than 1 per cent of the population selected the ‘no religion’ category on nation-wide surveys like the GSS. Almost 40 years later this relationship was in dramatic reversal. The most recent GSS data demonstrate that a marching contingent of Canadians, about 23%, no longer identify with religious groups at all.6 Importantly, the largest group of the reli6 Affiliation  statistics are reported as 16% ‘no religious affiliation’ on the 2001 census, (Figure  2.6)  58  gious nones has consistently been the younger cohort, 15-29 years old; in 2002, 34% of this group claimed that religion was highly important to them, and seven years later, the recent GSS shows that number sliding to 22% (Valpy and Friesen, 2010). With statistics like these many commentators have compared growth in this category to that of Western Europe and have suggested that Canada is, by and large, a secularizing society. Leading up to Christmas 2010, for instance, Globe and Mail columnists Valpy and Friesen (2010) surveyed contemporary Canadian religion seeking answers to what has become not only a perennial question in popular media, but also a litmus test of religiosity in general: ‘is Christmas a religious or a social event for Canadians’. The answer is complicated. Yet the byline in the leading article of the series – “