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An old brick and mortar church steeple juxtaposed against modern glass buildings is a scene one would not expect to happenstance upon.  Little did I realize as I gazed at this architectural oxymoron that I was looking at North America’s largest healthcare facility. Or it will be when it is finished in 2021.

But let’s get back to the steeple. Like many churches in Montreal Canada, Saint Sauveur has suffered from declining attendance in recent decades. Built in 1852, its Gothic facade and tin steeple were a testament to the architectural fashion of the era, and to the prominent position the church once held within the community. Empty and abandoned, the church was slated for demolition against protestors who wished to preserve the old building.

Land was needed for a new large hospital, and the land the church stood upon was chosen as the construction site. Incorporating the church’s beautiful facade and steeple into the new hospital was meant to appease those who protested the project.

CHUM (Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal) occupies two full blocks in downtown Montreal.  With more than 3 million square feet, this facility combines teaching, research, and healthcare.  CHUM supports 772 single patient rooms designed to accommodate family members.

Entrance to old churchwith modern office towers built around it, Montreal Canada copy

CHUM Healthcare Facility, Montreal

Front part of old church remains while modern office buildings are built around it, Montreal, Canada copy