Le Salon 1861 Brings a New Kind of Faith to Little Burgundy
What do TedX McGill, an augmented reality project, a hackathon, and an event celebrating children’s efforts in the Little Burgundy community all have in common? They are part of the exciting programs happening at Le Salon 1861, a real estate project to renovate and repurpose Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Church. In 2015, the Foundation made a $160,000 Program Related Investment (PRI) to the project to transform the church into a coworking space fostering economic development, community integration, social inclusion and sustainability.
With this issue of the newsletter, we are introducing a new feature: an in-depth story that will take a closer look at some of the Foundation’s work. Our first story is about Le Salon 1861.
The line-up last month at Le Salon 1861 included the filming of TedX McGill, the "Art x Business" discussion series, the Up Community Start-up Weekend, a St. Joseph's Church Augmented Reality Project, the ProtoHack hackathon, and an annual local event called Le Gala des Victoires de la Petite-Bourgogne, celebrating children’s efforts in the Little Burgundy community.
…add to that a local Muslim prayer group, a restaurant celebrating local food, a morning rave, a zumba event and freelancers co-working in the Co-creation Lab…
Le Salon 1861 has transformed a lot since the BCorp real estate company Quo Vadis took it over from the Sulpicians. It is no longer a crumbling unattended church, but a bustling community hub, where unlikely bedfellows are part of an advisory board, where Muslim prayer groups, community sports organizations, academic institutions and new tech entrepreneurs all sit around the same table.
Quo Vadis’ president, Natalie Voland, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The overwhelming feeling of awe you get when you walk in today is the same feeling I had when I first saw it four years ago," says Natalie Voland, whose development company helped transform the building. "It's my company’s smallest physical space, but it's got my heart. I remember when I walked in, I said (inappropriately) 'Oh my God! How can we save this church?' "