The building in the borough of Sainte-Foy is currently undergoing major renovations, estimated at $1.2 million, that will make the place of worship safer and create more space for the growing number of worshippers, according to the mosque's former president, Mohamed Labidi.
"It is comforting — after everything we went through, we need to have some happy moments," said Labidi.
It will be three years on Jan. 29 since six men were killed and five others injured when a gunman entered the mosque and started shooting into the crowded room.
Even before the tragic event, renovations had been in the works, but Labidi said the attack only reinforced the "need to make the building safer."
In the months that followed the shooting, electronic access codes were added to the front doors, which until then had been unlocked, as the building was always open to the public.
The current renovations are expected to be completed by the end of June.
Additional entranceways will allow people to circulate more freely. A "buffer zone," with a large foyer, will also separate the entrance from the main prayer room.
The expansion will make room for approximately 300 additional worshippers, on the building's three levels.
"On Fridays, all our floors are full. It's hard to find an empty space, so it's necessary," said Labidi, who is now on the mosque's board of directors.
He said the mosque already had "a comfortable cushion" of funds at its disposal to begin construction work but is still raising money across Quebec and Canada.
The organization had to juggle the renovation with another major project, the establishment of a Muslim cemetery in the region. That project, a $200,000 investment, was officially approved by the city in December 2019.
Redesign more in tune with building's vocation
The mosque currently looks like a nondescript commercial building. Once it is remodelled, it will include architectural elements more in tune with its religious vocation, according to Kamel Kheroua, an architectural adviser on the project.
Ornate designs over the doorways will add a "classic and modern" look to the mosque, said Kheroua.
A minaret will soon tower over the front entrance, mirroring the ruins of the steeple of the former parish church, Notre-Dame-de-Foy, the burnt-out shell of which stands across the street.
"We were inspired by the church next door. It will build a kind of link, in a way," Kheroua said.
Source: CBC News