Saturday, July 4, 2015

inSPIREd Sunday

May 2015 - Toronto ON

During Doors Open this year we went to see the Frist Church of Christ, Scientist.

Wikipedia tells me that Christian Science is a set of beliefs and practices belonging to the metaphysical family of new religious movements. It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), who argued in her book Science and Health(1875) that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone. The book became Christian Science's central text, along with the King James Bible, and by 2001 had sold over nine million copies.

It is a very mysterious building to many Torontonians. It sits by itself on St. George and has been here since 1916 and is the oldest Christian Science congregation in Toronto.

Its architecture begins in the realm of Beaux Arts classicism, but it soon deviates into lesser known territory of Christian Science. It is a very simple building and does not display any overt religious symbolisms.
Compared to many other churches today this is immaculately kept. Fresh flowers decorate the lobby. Yes, it feels more like an office building when you enter through those simple elegant doors flanked by these impressive columns.

The architect, Solon S. Beman (1853-1914), came from Chicago to design the church. He was a well-known practitioner whose most celebrated commission was America’s first planned company town, which he produced for George Pullman. Another of his projects was Grand Central Station in Chicago.

We climbed to the second floor where a speech was taking place about the building. I didn't feel comfortable taking photos so you'll have to settle for this one.

The Sanctuary or Nave was bathed in light through the seven windows that line the north, south and east sides of the Nave and through the skylight covering the central part of the Nave. The seven windows are matched on the west side by seven screens to cover the pipes of the organ. 
There were no icons or figures in stained glass, mosaics or frescos.  There was a message over a door of exit reminding the worshippers to bear witness to the faith in the world beyond.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekend Reflections

Click to see the rules and to take a badge for yourself.
Posting at Weekend Reflections.

August 2008 - Toronto

You can catch countless reflections the CN Tower around Toronto.
Taken on a stay at the Intercontinental Hotel across the street.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Look Up Look Down

Look Up, Look Down challenge hosted by Travel With Intent.

June 2015 - Toronto ON
College and Elizabeth Streets

Designed by the architectural firm of Darling And Curry and built of red sandstone the Victoria Hospital For Sick Children opened in May 1892. It was the first hospital in Canada designed exclusively for pediatrics. Through the generosity of its benefactor John Ross Robertson the hospital incorporated the most innovative techniques available such as x-rays in 1896 and a milk pasteurization plant in 1909. The Hospital For Sick Children vacated the building in 1951.

The staff of this hospital led the fight in Canada for compulsory pasteurization of milk. In 1908, the first milk pasteurization plant in Canada was established here, thirty years before it became mandatory. The Nutritional Research Laboratory was established in 1918. The nutritional research of Drs. Alan Brown, Fred Tisdall, and Theo Drake led to the development of Pablum, a precooked baby cereal, that saved thousands of children from death and disease.

Since 1993, it has been home to Canadian Red Cross Regional Blood Centre and then later the Canadian Blood Services Regional Blood Centre.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


February 2015 - Ayutthaya Thailand

I'll admit, we were getting pretty "templed" out by this time but still took a lot of photos of these astounding works of art.
The average entrance fee to most of these temples is arouond 1 US dollar.

The average temperature on our visit was 91F.

Wat Mahathat (Temple of the Great Relics) is located almost right in the center of Ayutthaya. Apart from being the symbolic center where the Buddha's relics were enshrined, Wat Mahathat was also the residence of the Supreme Patriarch or leader of the Thai Buddhist monks. The temple is believed to be built during the 14th century A.D. (the early Ayutthaya period).

Click on the photo below for a larger view.

The main prang collapsed during the Ayutthaya period, but was restored. It collapsed again in 1911, so only the foundation of the main prang remains at present.

A prang is a tall tower-like spire, usually richly carved. They were a common shrine element of Hindu and Buddhist architecture in the Khmer Empire. They were later adapted by Buddhist builders in Thailand, especially during the Ayutthaya Kingdom (1350–1767) and Rattanakosin Kingdom (1782-1932). In Thailand it appears only with the most important Buddhist temples.

The most striking feature of Wat Maha That is the abundance of broken Buddhas on display. The Burmese were ruthless in their destructive efforts.

Many sacred figures were smashed into numerous small pieces. In the aftermath of the invasion the monks attempted to repair the damage.

There is one iconic image that you see crop up time and again on postcards and in guide-books is a photograph of a Buddha head entwined within the roots of a tree. This is the main reason people visit this site.

Definitely time to head back to the hotel and put our feet up with a nice cold beer!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wordless Wednesday


Wordless Wednesday and at Wordless

Toronto ON

Wat Phanan Choeng Thailand

February 2015 - Ayutthaya Thailand

For the recap version of our day click here.
Click here for another temple we visited later in the day.

Wat Phanan Choeng is another Buddhist temple we visited in Ayutthaya. 
Built in 1324, some 26 years before the city of Ayutthaya was officially founded, the temple must have been partly connected to early settlements in the area. These notably allegedly included a 200-strong refugee community from Song Dynasty China. The large wihan, the highest building within the temple complex, houses an immense gilded 19 meter high seated Buddha from 1334 CE. This highly revered Buddha statue is called Luang Pho Tho (Thai: หลวงพ่อโต) by Thais, and Sam Pao Kong (Thai: ซำเปากง) by Thai-Chinese. The statue is regarded as a guardian for mariners. Allegedly, prior to the destruction of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767 CE, "tears flowed from the sacred eyes to the sacred navel".The statue has been restored several times in history. King Mongkut named the statue Phra Puttha Thrai Ratana Nayok after its restoration in 1854 CE.

After our stop at the Bang which was quiet and leisurely this temple was the total opposite. Since we had removed our shoes, as per standard protocol, I was terrified of getting my toes stepped upon!

One nice thing about private tours is that you get dropped right at the door/gate and then driver picks you up in the same spot.

Look at all those cables!!

I've posted this sign before but it makes me laugh. I wonder what happens if someone takes your shoes???

This temple provided a shopping area for worshippers to purchase their offerings.

This enormous golden buddha, the oldest, largest and most beautiful Buddha image of all, the Phra Chao Phananchoeng. It is 14.25 metres wide and 19 metres high, made of mortar, primed with black lacquer and covered with gold leaf.

When we entered this chamber which was packed, the monks were dressing the Buddha by passing the cloth over the heads of the worshippers. Luckily John was tall enough to get some photos.

Certain events in the Life of the Buddha are thought to have occurred on certain days. The Buddha images representing these events, are thus also associated with the days on which they occurred. People who are born on a certain day of the week, may be most interested in a Buddha image corresponding to that day.

Click on this link to find your birth day Buddha image. Mine is a Thursday and John's is a Sunday.

A very satisfied Buddha.

Placing their offerings of gold leaf on the Buddhas, I wrote about the significance of this in another post.Click here.

The crowds have died down and John is able to get a better photo of this magnificent statue. Look how tiny the monks are at the base.

As we exit there is an altar.

This worshipper has the other two requirements for an offering, a lotus flower and three sticks of incense.