Sukyo Mahikari
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New Site for the Sukyo Mahikari
Administrative HQ Office in Canada and the Toronto Center
Toronto is Canada's largest city, and its 2.5 million residents make it the fifth largest municipality in North America. In December 2009, Sukyo Mahikari Canada purchased a historic church located at 691 Scarlett Road at the corner of Kingdom Street in Etobicoke, a section in the western part of the city of Toronto. With a total floor space of about 2,000 square feet, this building will be the home for both the Sukyo Mahikari administrative HQ office in Canada and the Toronto center. The site is easily accessible
 
by major highways or by public transit and is only a 15-minute drive from Pearson International Airport. Because of its historic nature as well as its accessibility, housing our center in this building will greatly enhance our expansion efforts in Toronto and the surrounding regions.

Etobicoke was one of six local municipalities that joined with the metropolitan Toronto government to form the amalgamated city of
 
Toronto in 1998. Various groups of First Nations peoples used the land in this area of Canada at different periods in time. The single-story church building was formerly St. Matthias Anglican Church, constructed in 1895, and was relocated from the northwest area of Toronto in 1923.
The church displays features of the Victorian Gothic Revival style, with its L-shaped plan and multi-sided apse, wood construction and cladding, cross-gable roof with a bell cote, chimney, and shed-roofed tail, the west entrance porch, and the pointed-arched and flat-headed window openings with stained glass.
The church's importance paralleled the historical development of the Westmount community, originally founded in the World War I era as a residential neighborhood for workers at the munitions plants across the Humber River in Weston. It ultimately was linked to Hurricane Hazel, a tragic event that occurred on October 15, 1954 and devastated the Westmount community. The flooding of the Humber River swept away houses in Westmount and culminated in the death of 36 residents. During the storm and in the days that followed, St. Matthias served as the rescue center for the neighborhood.
In 2003, the church was designated as a Heritage Building under the Ontario Heritage Act for both its historical and architectural significance.
Major challenges will be faced in renovating this 115-year old building: the original construction technique and materials are outdated, and significant structural issues need to be resolved. Our architect is currently working on a proposal that incorporates energy-saving and low-maintenance features in addition to meeting regulatory requirements. We are hoping that the renovation will begin in spring 2011 on approval from city authorities, and look forward to the inauguration, tentatively set for spring 2012.
The photos accompanying this article show the outside of the new center and the first monthly thanksgiving ceremony held at the new center in September 2010.


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Sukyo Mahikari Centers for Spiritual Development is the registered trademark of the Bishop of the North American Region of Sukyo Mahikari and is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. All rights reserved.

Sukyo Mahikari is an Affiliate with the United Religions Initiative (URI) of North America