Sharon Temple – East Gwillimbury, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

East Gwillimbury, Ontario

Sharon Temple

An architectural marvel built by a nearly forgotten Canadian Quaker sect, the Children of Peace. 

Sharon Temple is an architectural and historical gem tucked in the small village of Sharon, Ontario. Built between 1825 and 1832, it was the vision of a former Quaker named David Willson, who founded a religious sect called the Children of Peace after his teachings were rejected by the Quakers during the War of 1812.

The beautifully designed complex serves as a physical symbol of the group’s religious beliefs and values, which center around peace, equality, and social justice. The site consists of eight buildings, including several meeting houses, David Willson’s study, and the church itself.

Built by the sect’s master-builder, Ebenezer Doan, the white and green church is full of symbolism. The square-shaped building has doors on all four sides to welcome people from all directions. At the center is an ark holding the Bible open to the New Testament, surrounded by four pillars representing faith, hope, love, and charity. They are then surrounded by 12 pillars named for each of Jesus’s disciples, while the three tiers of the temple are representative of the Holy Trinity.

The last service was held at Sharon Temple in 1889, and the buildings fell into a state of disrepair. Eventually, the church was relocated from the nearby Doan family farm to be restored and preserved, and today it operates as an open-air museum. The site is a National Historic Site of Canada and protected by the Ontario Heritage Trust. 

Know Before You Go

Check the website for hours as opening times are seasonal.

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