Sharon Temple

Yearning for the return of warmer weather and the return of summer, I had looked through a few images I had taken during greener times.

Presented here is a brief stop I made at Sharon Temple.

Sharon is located in East Gwillimbury, approximately 15 kilometres east of Bradford. I had made this a quick side-trip on my way to the Kennedy Detention Centre in Uxbridge. As I had pulled up into the visitor parking lot, the temple and its surrounding grounds almost had a sort of fantastical feel to them.

Some History

The Temple of the Children of Peace is located in the village of Sharon, Ontario. The Temple was constructed between 1825 and 1831 by a schismatic Quaker sect led by David Willson on whose property it was built. It is a square building with two upper levels of proportionally decreasing size that gives it a wedding cake look.

The Temple architecturally represents their vision of a society based on the values of peace, equality, and social justice. It is reported that the Temple was modeled after Solomon's Temple. In addition to being a place of worship, the structure was also used once a month to collect alms for the poor.

When construction of the Temple was completed, eight girls were given the task of raising that mysterious golden orb to the top of the roof.

My imagination runs wild speculating what might be inside this thing . . .

The structure, which is constructed almost entirely of wood is in very decent shape. I will assume that the labour and cost of maintenance of this building would be no small thing.

The last service was held in the Temple in 1889. The temple has been restored and is now a National Historic Site and museum as well as a National Peace Site.

During my tour of the grounds, which also includes some outer buildings, I spotted this most interesting and unique structure.

I do not remember ever seeing a round out-house before. I do have a lot of inappropriate humour to share with you about out-houses but perhaps I will leave that for the Urban Exploration forums . . .

Sharon Temple Tree Massacre

One morning in October, 2007, John McIntyre, the curator of the Sharon Temple Museum, arrived at the Temple, and was surprised by the sight of the town's Mayor wearing a helmet, safety goggles and wielding a chainsaw.

Marlene Johnston, a town Councillor, handed Mr. McIntyre a can of orange spray paint and asked him to mark trees that could be felled to maintain the greenery between the 175-year-old museum and the civic centre which is on the adjacent property north of the Temple. Mr. McIntyre tagged six trees and left.

Mr. McIntyre returned a few days later, the town's crew had cleared a large swath of 83 trees, including 15 evergreens that were planted more than 75 years ago.

To say that the incident enraged the museum's board is a bit of an understatement. The Mayor apologised, calling the incident an accident, but the town council launched an inquiry.

The inquiry reported back to council that it could cost as much as $70,000 to replant the trees which were cut down. In a written statement by Licinio Miguelo, a spokesman for the Town, council stated that "Because the tree removal from the heritage site was not authorized by council, costs related to this incident will not be borne by the taxpayer." . . . OUCH !

The province's heritage agency has a conservation easement that protects the site and any change to the property must be approved by the Ontario Heritage Trust.

1 comment:

Alex said...

The golden ball at the top of the temple is inscribed with the word "Peace" the ball represented the world, therefore, peace in the the world.

This comes from a short history pamphlet published in 1898 by Emily McArthur, one of the last children of Peace.

In 1825 they began the erection of the Temple, which has long been the
wonder and admiration of all who have seen it. It is a three-storey
structure 75 ft. in height, surmounted by a gilded ball, on which is inscribed the word "Peace".

"Anna (Emily's mother) was said to have been one of the eight young girls
who raised the gold ball at the summit of the Temple, marking its
completion in 1831".