26 June 2008

Fixer uppers

Renovations are going ahead at my church, St. Clare's Toronto. I blogged last year about the church and posted many pictures of the building. Repairs to the outside are complete, the scaffolding has come down on the outside, and renovations have shifted to the inside. So far, the outside looks splendid.

The man in charge of the renovations is Carlos Nunez, who has done the restorations of several other Toronto churches, most notably St Paul's Basilica- arguably Toronto's most beautiful church- as well as restoration of several paintings in the cathedral. Puff went to a parish meeting where we could meet the artist and ask questions, and the man explained a little of himself. He is an artist who found himself involved in working to restore a Catholic church, and found this to be a job that he loved. It is also one for which he is paid well, but his work is excellent and money spent on his work is spent well.

He has removed sections of paint here and there in the building to see what lies underneath. The walls were rather intricately and extensively painted at one time, with many stencils and designs throughout. It looks like it might have been beautiful, and also that it may have been garish too. The designs were painted over years ago, most likely because some unfortunate priest faced a difficult decision: Spend a fortune touching up the paint and decorative work, or buy a barrel of grey paint and a big roller. Now the painting is going to be brought back and other treasures will be renewed.

Normally, I feel my insides knot up when I hear the words "church" and "renovation" spoken together, but I am actually looking forward to this.

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