Mark Twain once said upon a visit to Montreal that you "couldn't throw a brick" in the city "without breaking a church window."
Indeed, Montreal has a lot of Catholic infrastructure. From the grand church towers of various architectural styles that dot the skyline, to palatial nunneries and schools, the Catholic church has left its mark on the cityscape.
Of course, church attendance has rapidly declined in recent decades as society moves toward secularism. Though Montreal still has a practising Catholic population, many of the city's giant churches are no longer appropriate venues for their dwindling flocks.
That's why so many former Catholic churches are in disrepair, some are even completely blocked off.
Others, however, have been reimagined as some of the city's trendiest venues. Here's a list of some of the coolest former churches in the city:
Saint Jude Gym & Spa
The complex includes a pretty cool gym and a dazzling spa with indoor and outdoor activities. The cavernous, dark indoor pools feature a waterfall and mesmerizing neon lights. Just imagine swimming through this impressive space! Check out its website here!
Le Chic Resto Pop
This popular restaurant prides itself on social responsibility. During the day, it offers meals at reduced prices to those in need. Le Jubé is the higher-end portion of the restaurant that makes fancy dining accessible to all. Its high windows and mid-century modern architecture ensure this will be a dining experience you won't soon forget. Plus, you'll be helping out a great institution! Check out the website here!
The Théâtre Paradox is already pretty well known as a venue for a wide variety of events, from performance art to fetish celebrations, according to the New York Times. It is extremely popular as a high-end wedding venue! This month, the theatre is hosting Bestium, an acrobatic spectacular! Here is the venue website!
Bourgie Hall – Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Bourgie hall is part of the sprawling Museum of Fine Arts Complex. The auditorium that once held church attendees is now a giant music hall. The venue presents the perfect opportunity to impress a date. Check out its calendar here.
LGBTQ+ Center and AIDS Community Care
Ok, this isn't exactly a trendy venue, but its irony is too good to pass up. A former church complex just south of Parc la Fontaine has become the epicenter of LGBTQ activism in Montreal. Rooms are available for booking on the centre website for activities and events that serve or benefit the queer community.
Downstairs is AIDS Community Care, which serves people who are HIV and Hepatitis C positive. They are always looking for volunteers. You can check it out here!