Operators of a Glace Bay funeral home say they get a lot of unusual requests: some people want to get married or have their children baptized, while others drop in to pray.
The building that houses the funeral home was once Holy Family Church. It was one of several Catholic churches closed in the Glace Bay area in 2013.
Trevor Tracey, who is originally from Glace Bay, bought the building to start his second T.J. Tracey Cremation and Burial Specialists funeral home.
'Cape Breton hospitality'
"The intent was to save the church," said Tracey's sister and funeral home employee Debbie Tracey. "It was such an integral part of the community."
Debbie said the funeral home is open to former parishoners who want to visit. She said they have heard from community members they are glad the church is being preserved.
"It's a whole lot of Cape Breton hospitality here," she said.
"It's very unique because it sets us apart from others and it's the comfort people feel when they enter the church."
No plans to hold weddings
Linda Tracey, another sister, also works at the funeral home.
"A few people have come in and asked, 'Would you consider doing weddings here?,' she said.
But the Traceys said they have no current plans to hold weddings.
Linda said she was skeptical when she first heard about the plan to turn a former church into a funeral home but her thinking has since changed.
"Because when the locks were first put on the doors at this church, they never thought they would be able to lay their loved one at rest in their parish but it makes them very happy to know they can still do that," Linda said.
'It's not staunch'
Karen Howarth lives across the road from the church and was a former parishioner at Holy Family. She said she had her husband's funeral there.
"I called Trevor because of the location, not because I knew him. He made it so very easy. It's not staunch, they're not like this, like you know some can be," Howarth said.
"I like that I knew the building and I like what they've done to it. I like how you can have everything contained here ... everything can be done here and they can handle everything."
The church still has a chapel where people are welcome to visit, Howarth said. She said the building is full of happy memories.
"Knowing what it turned into is not so far from what it was that it gives me a little bit of peace," she said. "I'm quite pleased to be able to look out the window and know that this building will be here for a long time to come."
Correction : A previous version of this story said the former church would be available to host weddings. The owners clarify that they are not opening up the facility to weddings, and this version has been corrected. (Apr 05, 2017 11:21 AM)