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This article was published 27/9/2011 (3598 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A North End church will soon be providing its congregation with both a literal and figurative lift.
Atlantic-Garden City United Church, located at 725 Atlantic Ave., will spend approximately $240,000 to install a state-of-the-art elevator and conduct repairs to the building’s facade.
Minister Mary Best said work on the improvements is expected to be completed by November in preparation for the church’s 85th anniversary celebrations slated for next year.
Best said the project has been in the works for nearly five years and was paid for largely through grants and fundraising.
"Our staircase is becoming a bit of a problem and accessibility is important for us," she said.
Best said the congregation is composed of approximately 125 families. Most of them are from the North End, although the church does attract some members from as far away as Elmwood and Charleswood.
Atlantic-Garden City holds the distinction of being the first church built in Winnipeg specifically for the United Church.
"We are updating a unique piece of history," Best said.
North End-based architecture firm Bridgman Collaborative spokesperson Wins Bridgman said most architects regard church restoration projects as special opportunities.
"Regardless of faith or beliefs, we are dealing with iconic buildings that are always community landmarks and places that have meaning," he said.
Bridgman has been involved in various church restoration and improvement projects across Manitoba, including St. Andrews Anglican Church’s recent $65,000 bell tower and belfry retrofit.
"Churches are also exciting from a work point of view because you are often working with original historic and heritage materials," he said.
Bridgman said he appreciates the effort Winnipeg has taken to preserve its places of worship.
"Church restoration work is very special because we are keeping the meaning and richness of our culture and history alive," he said.
Atlantic-Garden City congregation member Lorne Stock said while bricks and mortar are important, it’s the people who worship there that make the church what it is.
"It is the people. I can’t be anymore simple than that."