St. George's Elevator Project
BACKGROUND St. George's is the "Mother Church" of the Greek Orthodox faithful in Canada and holds a very special place in the hearts of Canadian Hellenism. For many Greek immigrants to Canada St. George's represented a link to their past in Greece and their future in Canada. The iconography of St. George's is a veritable jewel representing a dynamic affirmation of a spiritual and artistic achievement in the Greek Orthodox byzantine religious tradition being built in 1897 originally used as the first synagogue in Toronto until 1937 when it was acquired by the Parish of St. George.
ACCESSIBILITY ISSUESUnfortunately this magnificent building has significant accessibility barriers as there are four steps to the main entrance and fourteen to the main level with none of the church levels presently accessible for people with disabilities. In addition elderly members of
the congregation have difficulty in climbing the stairs and young mothers have difficulty in bringing their young children to attend at church with carriages. Last but not least and for anyone who has attended a funeral service at St. George's the difficulty in having the casket reach the main level of the church presents serious difficulties which adds to the pain of the loved ones of the deceased in watching the pallbearers having extreme difficulty in ascending the stairs with the casket.
A member of the congregation Nicholas P. Kapelos after viewing the accessibility difficulties at the funeral of his late wife took upon him the responsibility to conduct a feasibility study to ascertain if an elevator could be installed at St. George's with the consent and authorization of the church. The installation of an elevator at St. George's is by no means an easy undertaking considering the little available space, the fact that St. George's is a designated structure under the Heritage Act which would require the consent of the City of Toronto Preservation Services, that the installation of an elevator would not affect the integrity of the church in addition to the requirements needed to be complied with respect to the applicable building bylaws and governmental regulations.
Notwithstanding these obstacles plans were prepared and approved by all relevant agencies and a Building Permit has been issued by the Toronto Building Department as Building Permit 12286724BLDOOBA.
HOW WOULD THE ELEVATOR WORK?The sidewalk along the south side of the church would be adjusted to meet the street sidewalks. This sidewalk will lead to the elevator's entry lobby. The elevator is to be tucked into a niche on the south side of the church where it is visually protected from the street view. The elevator will have two stops. The first stop will be the main lobby and the second stop will be the main church level.
COSTThe estimated cost to complete the Elevator Project is estimated to be $355,000.00.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE INSTALLATION OF THE ELEVATOR?The installation of the elevator is of benefit not only to the church and its congregation but to the entire Arts and Culture community. The church congregation will obviously benefit as elderly members of the congregation, parishioners with strollers or parishioners with mobility assistance devices, i.e. canes, wheelchairs etc. will now be able to easily attend church services and community events.
With events that the church now participates in such as "Doors Open" the beautiful artwork and iconography of St. George's will now be available to be viewed by all of the general public including special interest groups from museums, universities and schools.
Last but not least the installation of the elevator will help St. George's remain viable for future generations.
St. George's is seeking your help for this worthy project.
A charitable receipt will be forwarded upon commencement of the Elevator Project which is anticipated to be June, 2016.
Thank you for your support!