During a walk down Rue Saint-Jean we came upon Saint Matthew’s Anglican Cemetery and Church (755 Rue Saint-Jean). I love old churches and cemeteries so we went into the cemetery grounds first to have a look. This graveyard was opened in 1772 and it boasts what is reputedly Québec’s oldest gravestone.
After touring the graveyard we headed back to the street to admire Saint Matthew’s Church, which dates back to the 1870s. Beside us, a woman entered the building and invited us in, saying it was open to the public. Much to our surprise, the interior of the church had been converted into a public library: the Bibliothèque Claire-Martin (Claire Martin Library)! It made for an interesting mix of books, architecture and liturgical symbols all sharing the space.
We later learned that church conversions are not an unusual thing in Québec City; for some time now, church attendance has fallen off significantly in Québec, leaving many churches empty. These empty churches are then converted into some type of functional building (library, store, community centre, etc.).
May 18, 2019