Canada is home to some very marvellously and beautifully built temples that are not just visited by the people of any specific religion or sect but by everyone. It is a highly secular country with people of different religions and ethnicities living together. Indians first immigrated to this picturesque country about 110 years ago.
Since then and largely over the last few decades, they have influenced the Canadian way of life so much that they make up for one of the largest communities living there. There are over 1000 temple societies across the entire country which undertake the responsibility of constructing and maintaining temples in Canada. In 1971, one of the earliest temples was constructed in rural Nova Scotia.
This article explores the 15 most popular Indian temples in Canada.
1. BAPS Shri Swami Narayan Mandir
This glorious temple is an immensely huge hand-sculpted mandir made of white marble. The vibe of this temple is ethereal, serene and peaceful. This is one of those temples in Canada that showcases the beautiful craftsmanship, sculptures of Hindu deities and various other Vedic traditions. The Mandir is an artwork of intricate design and workmanship of ancient Indian arts, traditions and philosophy. The Mandir was constructed in a record time of 18 months. It is a symbol of the sheer dedication and devotion of over 400 volunteers.
2. Buddhist Temple, International Buddhist Society
Located in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. This Chinese Buddhist temple is run by the International Buddhist Society. This temple is the most original structure of traditional Chinese palatial (imperial) style in North America. Its design takes inspiration from the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. The features such as golden tiles on its two-tiered roof, flared eaves, and two scholar’s courtyards give it its marvellous beauty. It has serene surroundings with ample space providing a quiet, spiritual and devotional environment for those who want to meditate here. Above all, this Buddhist temple also has beautiful Chinese gardens with lotus ponds, twin gazebos, rock landscapes and a stone bridge.
3. Sharon Temple
Located in East Gwillimbury, Canada it is an open-air museum which holds its legacy for more than 175 years. This temple is an architectural portrayal of the Children of Peace’s vision of a society that is based on the values of peace, equality, and social justice. The architect-contractor who designed and built the Sharon Temple was Ebenezer Doan. He was a highly accomplished builder as reflected by the creative techniques used in the temple structure. The simple rock foundation does not even go below the frost line, yet the building remains structurally sound even after so many years.
4. Sringeri Temple
The Sringeri Sharadamba Temple of Toronto is a Hindu temple located in Etobicoke, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Sharadamba. The temple is shaped after the original 8th-century Sringeri Sharadamba Temple located at Sringeri in Karnataka, India. The temple flaunts a raja gopuram following the traditional style of South Indian temple architecture. Built with marble and granite imported from India, it occupies about 30000 sq ft. of land. The 3 main features of the temple are the 30 ft. gopuram, an 18 ft. mandapam and a ceremonial passageway illustrating the main events in the life of Adi Sankaracharya.
5. Fo Guang Shan Temple
Located in Mississauga, Ontario Fo Guang Shan Temple is a Buddhist temple of the Mahayana monastic order. The temple is famous for its beautiful red-yellow architecture which is similar to other Buddhist temples. It showcases a prayer hall and tea house on the ground floor, a library and museum on the second floor, and a meeting hall and rooms on the lower floor. It also boasts of many Budha statues made of gold.
6. Hindu Temple Richmond Hill
The Temple complex is said to be the largest Hindu Temple in North America built and run under the Agama Sastra traditions as specified in the scriptures. Its overall design was done by Mr V.Janakiraman Sthapathi, who hails from the same architect family that built the famous Big Temple in Thanjavur in South India during the Chola period. Two very beautiful vimanas have been built on top of the altars of Lord Muruga and Lord Venkateswara to give it a touch of traditional temple architecture.
7. Hindu Sabha Temple
Located in Brampton, Ontario this temple has been successful in preserving the Indian culture and the ancient style of Indian civilization. This temple was inaugurated in the year 1995 with one simple goal in mind that was to develop the Sanatan Dharma. The main attraction of this temple is the Shikharas. The temple has approximately 32,000 sq. feet of constructed space including the lower level, the Main floor, Community Hall and the kitchen.
8. Guruvayurappan Temple Of Brampton
This is yet another Hindu temple in Brampton and is considered as one of the most beautiful and largest Hindu temples in Canada. It is a drywall structure with a sloping roof. Its exterior facade is of brick cladding. For a temple, it’s architectural features don’t portray anything of the traditional temple architecture.
9. Canada Kandaswamy Temple:
Located in Toronto, Canada, the foundation of this beautiful temple was laid in 1998 by Mr. K. Kailaisantha Kurukal. It is named Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil. It has a huge image of Navalar Peruman. It has been designed according to Vedic philosophy, “like a man lying down,” with its main altar, furthest from the eastern entrance, forming the head, and has a tower representing the feet of the structure.
10. Canada Sri Ayyappan Hindu Temple
Located in Toronto, Canada this temple was established in 1991 and is named the Sabrimala of Canada. Initially, it was rented out in a small place and later in 1998, a separate land was purchased for the construction of the temple. This temple is popular with the Ayyappa devotees and portrays traditional South Indian Temple architecture.
11. Indu Temple of Ottawa-Carleton
The temple portrays traditional Hindu architectural styles, though compromises had to be done to adapt to the cold and weight of snow accumulation. It has a white colour facade with three Sikaras. Designed according to trademark religious architectural traditions, the temple stands as a monument of importance to Hindu heritage in Ottawa. There is an assembly hall and a library. The temple has nine shrines namely Kartikeya, Krishna with Radha, Ganesha, Lakshmi with Narayana, Shiva, Rama with Sita, Lakshmana with Hanuman, Durga, Hanuman, and Nataraja which are all made of granite, marble and bronze.
12. ISKCON Temple In Brampton
ISKCON Brampton (popularly referred as Vedic Education Centre) is located in Brampton, Canada. It was established in 1966. It offers a multitude of learning opportunities for those interested in learning about Vedic studies. The centre also offers classes in yoga and various other disciplines for both children and adults. On Sundays, the centre, which is open to the public offers free vegetarian feasts, along with music and Vedic discourses by guest speakers arranged by ISKCON.
13. Shri Vitthal Mandir
It is a traditional Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shri Pandharpur Vitthal. This temple is a monument of importance to the culture and heritage of Hindus living in Canada. People from every part of Northern America flock here to offer their devotion. More than that, this is one of the temples in Canada that showcases the culture and heritage of Hindus living there but does not portray any traditional temple architecture on its facade.
14. Devi Mandir
The Devi Mandir was established in 1988 by a small group of Hindus. It took a lot of hard work and zeal to build this temple and take it to the position where it is today. The Devi Mandir boasts of a prayer hall and an auditorium which can assemble 800 and 400 patients approximately. It has a white facade and for elements of temple architecture, it has shikaras.
15. Vishva Shakti Durga Mandir
Located in Ottawa, Canada this temple promotes and practices the ideals of Hindu and Hindu based religions through worship, education and teaching. This temple features a very beautiful altar and is known for its prayer services.