Sod turning ceremony for new home of former slave chapel
Published Saturday, May 17, 2014 5:42PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 17, 2014 6:23PM EDT
It has been sitting in shambles on Thames Street near downtown London for many many years but soon it will have a new life.
It's a home that back in the mid 1800's was actually a fugitive slave chapel and a safe haven for many.
"This is historic and it's not just historic for the black community but it is historic for London. In fact, it is historic for all of Canada," says councillor Harold Usher.
The building has been vacant for years and a hot spot for vandals.
Aboutown Transportation owns the property and had planned tear down the home to make way for a parking lot but those plans have been put on hold.
That's because the community came together with a plan to move the former fugitive slave chapel beside its successor Beth Emanuel Church on Grey Street this August.
A sod turning ceremony took place on the piece of land slated for the building Saturday.
But moving doesn't come cheap.
So far, $72,000 has been raised to cover the move and another $60,000 was donated by the city to help with restoration costs.
"We have the money to bring it here and what happens after that, with the refurbishing and putting in a museum, that's to be seen." say Reverend Delta McNeidh of Beth Emanuel.
More money will likely be needed to fully restore the building.
But those in charge of the project feel confident that Londoners and even others outside of London will come together and help.
Even a large group of church goers from Toronto came to show their support.
"It's not just for us, but for those who come after us. If we don't preserve and we don't speak on the history that we are proud of, then it does get lost.," says Toronto resident Janice Searles.