Monday, 18 May 2009

Sharon Temple

I visited Sharon Temple this weekend, a fascinating place.

Sharon Temple was constructed between 1825 and 1831 by The Children of Peace, former Quakers with a philosophy based on the values of peace, equality and social justice.

The leader of the sect was David Willson, who was born in New York State in 1778 and migrated to Canada in 1801. After his dismissal from the Quakers, Willson established The Children of Peace incorporating some Quaker doctrines, elements of mysticism and Jewish ceremony.

The Temple was designed as an architectural representation of the sect's philosophy. The square shape and the centre doors on each side symbolize equal acceptance of people from all directions.
The three storeys represent the Holy Trinity.

The windows contain 2,952 panes of glass and are lighted on the first Friday night of September every year with 116 candles.

The Temple was not a church. It had only one purpose; the Children of Peace met there once a month to raise alms for the poor.

The elegant curved staircase leading to the musicians' gallery is known as Jacob's Ladder.

In the centre of the Temple is the tabernacle – remarkable design, proportion and wood joinery.

Built in rough imitation of King Solomon's temple, the building also features 12 pillars representing the apostles and four central pillars bearing the words Faith, Hope, Love, and Charity.

After Willson's death in 1866 the sect slowly diminished. The last service was held in the Temple in 1889. The derelict Temple was purchased by the York Pioneer and Historical Society in 1917, and restored, making it one of the earliest examples of historic preservation in Canada.


  1. Isn't the Sharon Temple interesting? I wouldn't want to wash all those windows, though!

    The temple has amazing acoustics. Apparently the Davidites liked music, one of the reasons they split from the Quakers.

  2. FASCINATING post! I just googled "Davidites" and found an article from the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada about him, the church, and his love of music.

    absolutely love the windows!!

  3. What a wondrous place. Love the clean lines and all of that glass!

  4. A fine building and history of it!

    Your springflowers are beautiful, but the best of all is Callum and his photos !!
    Many, many greetings to him! I am going next Monday to see Melli and help her Mom, who is creating a sister or brother to Melli, but it will happen not until November, if everything goes well. And this new child will be our 6th grandchildren!

    I wish everything goes well also with your new baby!
    Warm, sunny and happy days to you and yours!

  5. i found myself leaning in very close to my monitor to see the details of everything better.
    I love architecture and knowing why they are built they way they are.

  6. Shammickite,

    I'm answering a question you asked at my site a coupleof days ago:

    The trillium I photographed were in Whitchurch=Stouffville...Ballantrae, actually. But there are masses like them in the York Regional Forest, Durham Regional Forest, northern East Gwillimbury...anywhere there are undisturbed deciduous forests.

  7. What a lovely building! I especially liked the curved staircase ("Jacob's Ladder") to the choir loft. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  8. Very interesting....thanks for sharing.

  9. Ya know, I had friends who lived in Sharon. We've visited them many times in past years, and I never once saw the temple. I always meant to but never got around to it during our visits. I certainly missed out on a beauty of a place. Thanks for sharing it. :)

  10. That's really interesting. Wonderful architecture.

    I've just round to posting!

  11. How can a structure be so educational, Sham! Thanks for this.

  12. Fascinating and very special and great photos

  13. Wow! What an interesting post. I would have love to be one of the Children of Peace or at least to visit the temple back then. I also like it when belief systems are mixed, instead of one pure faith. Take the good stuff from a few and mix them all up.

  14. I can see why you liked this building so much.
    I've got the feeling I've passed this place, has it got one of those 'blue' plaques on the road that tells you about it?
    Next time I must stop by and take a look.

  15. That's a beautiful structure. Also, you've shot it very nice with the trees arround.. great post!


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