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Sharon Temple National Historic Site of Canada

18974 Leslie Street, East Gwillimbury, Ontario, L9N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/02/23

Corner view of the Sharon temple, showing the superimposed cubic forms, 1991.; Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, 1991.
General view
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1825/01/01 to 1831/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/12/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Sharon Temple National Historic Site of Canada is located north of Toronto, in the village of Sharon. It is an elegant wooden building comprised of three storeys of diminishing size. All four sides of the building are filled with large windows that are candle-lit for special celebrations. The Temple sits in the centre of a large, grassed area, which also contains a collection of other buildings associated with the religious community. The designation refers to the Temple on its lot.

Heritage Value

Sharon Temple was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990 because:
- of its aesthetic qualities, symbolism and structural design, as an embodiment of the values of he Children of Peace, and as an early example of the conservation of an historic building in Canada.

Its heritage value resides in the quality of its Neo-classical design and pioneer craftsmanship and in its physical manifestation of the beliefs of the Children of Peace who established a co-operative community north of Toronto named Sharon, known at that time as Hope. The temple was built by the members of the community between 1825 and 1831 to the designs of David Willson, the community leader, under the direction of master carpenter Ebenezer Doan. The last service was held in the Temple in 1889. In 1917, it was acquired by the York Pioneer and Historical Society, which started restorations and developed it as an historic site, moving additional buildings to the property over the years.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1990; Commemorative Integrity Statement.

Character-Defining Elements

The key character-defining elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- its isolated setting in a green space;
- its related collection of other buildings associated with the religious community;
- its superimposed cubic forms and classically-inspired proportions;
- the use of traditional, largely wooden construction materials;
- its open, light-infused interior space with focus on the central Ark;
- its symmetrical design of four façades, each ground floor facade with a central doorway flanked by large, evenly-spaced, multi-paned windows;
- the slender, linear quality of its neo-classical detailing, emphasized by the use of contrasting paint colours;
- the fine craftsmanship;
- the objects directly related to the Children of the Peace, including the Ark, the original chairs used in the temple, the banners by Richard Coates, the candle holders, and the archival material and musical instruments.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1825/01/01 to 1889/01/01
1917/01/01 to 1917/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type




Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

David Willson


Ebenezer Doan

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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