Ontario Heritage Trust launches online, provincewide places of worship inventory



    TORONTO, Sept. 1 /CNW/ - The Ontario Heritage Trust is supporting the
conservation of significant religious buildings across the province with the
release of Ontario's Places of Worship
(www.heritagetrust.on.ca/placesofworship). This new online resource includes a
provincewide inventory of religious properties and compilation of research
related to the stewardship and adaptive reuse of Ontario's places of worship.
    "The houses of worship in this province reflect the diverse cultures and
faiths of Ontarians," said The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chairman of
the Ontario Heritage Trust. "This inventory documents our remarkable array of
religious buildings, serving as a tool to support the conservation of
significant sites that are part of Ontario's unique cultural and architectural
heritage."
    Ontario's Places of Worship features a web-enabled, searchable inventory
of purpose-built religious buildings, as well as resources on Ontario history,
architectural styles, case studies on adaptive reuse of religious sites and
more. It is a publicly accessible resource to support research and
decision-making related to religious properties in the province.
    "The Ontario government is proud to support the Ontario Heritage Trust's
work in obtaining and developing a public inventory of Ontario's places of
worship," said Aileen Carroll, Minister of Culture. "The Trust's new inventory
will serve as an important tool in understanding the scope of Ontario's
religious heritage, while providing an opportunity for visitors to explore and
identify significant elements of these important places."
    To date, nearly 1,500 religious buildings across the province are
identified in the Ontario's Places of Worship inventory. Over the next year,
as the Ontario Heritage Trust continues to add to the inventory, it is
expected to house more than 5,000 records. As the inventory expands, users are
encouraged to provide online feedback to assist in updating and refining
information.
    "Inventories are a 'must have' for any municipal heritage planner,
researcher, community planner or advocate. With information on places of
worship from across the province compiled into one resource, this inventory
will be a valuable foundation and effective tool to support our conservation
management processes," said David Cuming, Senior Project Manager for Heritage
and Urban Design with the City of Hamilton's Planning and Economic Development
Department.
    The Ontario's Places of Worship project is one of the many ways the
Ontario Heritage Trust is working to support heritage conservation in Ontario.
The Trust is an agency of the government dedicated to identifying, preserving,
protecting and promoting Ontario's built, cultural and natural heritage for
the benefit of present and future generations.

    
    Quick facts:

    -   Over 80 per cent of culturally significant religious buildings in the
        province are not identified in existing local heritage inventories.

    -   The Ontario's Places of Worship inventory is the only comprehensive
        listing of religious properties in the province.

    -   Ontario is home to the widest diversity of faiths in Canada. There
        are currently more than 60 religions represented in the Ontario's
        Places of Worship inventory.


    Learn more:

    -   Find more reference materials related to Ontario history and heritage
        conservation in the Resources & Education section of the Ontario
        Heritage Trust's website at www.heritagetrust.on.ca.


                         Aussi disponible en français
                           www.heritagetrust.on.ca



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Ontario's Places of Worship
    

    Ontario's Places of Worship is an online, provincewide inventory of
religious properties and compilation of research and supporting materials
housed on the Ontario Heritage Trust's website at
www.heritagetrust.on.ca/placesofworship. This new publicly accessible resource
is a tool to support the conservation of significant religious buildings in
Ontario.

    
    Places of Worship Resources
    ---------------------------
    

    Ontario's religious properties are increasingly at risk as a result of
demolition, neglect and deterioration. Some of the challenges facing religious
properties include shifting demographics that have led to closures, the
amalgamation of congregations in some faith communities and a trend toward
constructing new places of worship rather than reusing existing religious
buildings.
    To address the ongoing stewardship and adaptive reuse of Ontario's
religious properties, Ontario's Places of Worship includes the following
tools:

    
    -   A searchable inventory of religious buildings across the province
    -   Reference material on architectural styles, typologies and architects
    -   Information on significant people, events and themes in Ontario's
        religious history, with linkages to properties in the inventory
    -   Case studies on adaptive reuse highlighting historic properties that
        have been successfully adapted for new uses
    -   Technical resources on the preservation and maintenance of religious
        buildings.


    Inventory of Religious Buildings
    --------------------------------
    

    Sites listed in the Ontario's Places of Worship inventory are
purpose-built religious buildings designed for worship, located in Ontario and
more than 25 years old. A building need not still be in religious use or be in
use by the organization that built it in order to qualify for inclusion. The
inventory does not include cemeteries or other non-architectural sacred
places, such as natural or archaeological sites.
    There are six categories of information provided for each building in the
inventory:

    
    1.  Basic property information - name, photo(s), location
    2.  History - construction dates, connection to religious
        denomination(s), use and status, linkages to people, events and
        themes in Ontario history
    3.  Architecture - style, architect, builder, typologies, structure, etc.
    4.  Associated features - cemetery, hall, residence, school, etc.
    5.  Protection - municipal, provincial or federal
    6.  Commemoration - municipal, provincial, federal or other
    

    Based on the information included in each listing, the Ontario's Places
of Worship inventory will assist users in understanding the context of each
site, its rarity and typology, as well as its comparables in the community and
across the province.
    All information included the inventory is public information. The records
have been assembled from provincial, municipal and federal sources, such as
lists, plaques, walking tours, Doors Open Ontario events and academic
publications. Properties have also been documented through site visits by
Trust staff.
    The Ontario Heritage Trust will continue to add to the inventory and post
additional resource materials to the Ontario's Places of Worship website. The
status of any sites in the inventory, including demolition or change in use,
will be updated regularly and users are encouraged to provide input using the
online feedback mechanisms built into the inventory.

    Quotes

    "Inventories, such as the Ontario's Places of Worship inventory, are
valuable tools. They are useful not only to members of the heritage community,
but also for all members of our communities to identify, protect and promote
our irreplaceable cultural heritage resources."
    
    -   Marcus R. Létourneau, Heritage Planner, City of Kingston
    

    "The Ontario's Places of Worship inventory will be invaluable for
teaching and researching the rich and diverse religious architectural heritage
of Ontario. It will facilitate research projects in schools and universities,
and will provide a corpus of illustrations essential for investigation at the
graduate level."
    
    -   Professor Malcolm Thurlby, Department of Visual Arts, York
        University, specializing in medieval art and architecture, and
        Canadian architecture


                         Aussi disponible en français
                           www.heritagetrust.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Liane Nowosielski, Assistant Marketing and
Communications Coordinator, Ontario Heritage Trust, Telephone: (416) 325-5032,
E-mail: liane.nowosielski@heritagetrust.on.ca


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