In the small town where I live there is a National Historic Site. One of the oldest museums in Canada, the Sharon Temple is an architectural masterpiece and has a very interesting history.
The Temple was constructed with simple tools but consummate skill and artistry. Construction by the Children of Peace, took place between 1825 and 1831 . The design was an imitation of Solomon’s Temple. . It has three tiers, with four symmetrical sides. Inspired by the Old Testament from the Bible, there are four pinnacles. Inside, a gently curved staircase, called Jacob’s Ladder, leads to the musicians’ gallery above. The four central pillars even bear names: Faith, Hope, Love and Charity.
The Children of Peace were a very interesting group who had a significant impact on the area. Former Quakers who came to Canada from the United States, they saw themselves as the new Israelites lost in the wilderness of Upper Canada. The village of “Hope” was their New Jerusalem, the focal point of God’s kingdom on earth.
By 1851, through the vision of the Children of Peace, Sharon was the most prosperous village in the province and the Children of Peace all became prosperous farmers in an era when new farmers frequently failed.
Some other accomplishments of the builders of the Sharon Temple:
- Influential centre in the struggle for democracy and social justice in Canada. –
- They played a key role in the development of democracy in Canada through their support of William Lyon Mackenzie, who was the elected representative for their riding, and by ensuring the elections of both “fathers of responsible government,” Robert Baldwin and Louis Lafontaine, in their riding in 1841, despite threats of political violence.
- The scene of stirring events during the Rebellion of 1837. – where McKenzie was eventually to attempt to overthrow the government .
- The home of Canada’s first farmers’ cooperative.
- Establishment of a credit union, and a land-sharing system
- A centre of musical accomplishment in Upper Canada.
- Home to the first pipe organ built in Upper Canada.
- The temple was used to raise money for the poor.
- They built Ontario’s first shelter for the homeless
For further information please visit the Sharon Temple website at www.sharontemple.ca