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On January 18th, 2016 approximately one quarter of the Bahá'í Community of Ottawa gathered for the Feast of Sultán (Sovereignty) and this group photograph was taken. Click here to see photo!
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Friday April 1st, 7:30 PM
This month, Maamawe: All Together.

Gentle Yoga and Devotions
Monday March 21 & 28,
Monday April 11, 18 & 25,
7:00 - 8:00 PM

ROBSI Camp Fire Day
Saturday April 2nd,
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Book Club
Tuesday April 26th,
Home by Marilynne Robinson
1:00 until 3:00 PM

Study Group
Every Wednesday
11:00 AM until 1:00 PM

Creative Writers’ Group
Thursday April 21, 7:00 PM

Art LogoThe art of Milook Aqiqi on display this month in the Fireside Gallery downstairs.

Bahá'í Holy Days
There are eleven holy days on the Bahá'í calendar  more..

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Ottawa Bahá’í Centre
211 McArthur Ave. K1L 6P6
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TEL: 613-742-8250   Map 

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"Bahá'í Perspectives" is the Bahá'í response to the "Ask the Religion Experts" column series that formerly ran in the Sunday edition of the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. Read here...

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The Bahá'ís of Ottawa come from a variety of backgrounds, brought together by a common belief in the oneness of humanity and the unity of religion. We work alongside others to become a force of positive change, applying insights from the Bahá'í teachings to bring about a more just, peaceful and unified community.

Community News Current
February 15, 2016
Record Turnout at 2016 World Religions Day
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson praises faith communities for their community service

World Religion Day 2016On January 17, 2016 Mayor Jim Watson warmly welcomed members of many of Ottawa’s different faith communities who had gathered at City Hall to celebrate World Religion Day. “This is the best turnout we’ve ever seen for World Religion Day,” the Mayor noted, to a crowd of approximately 250.

He characterized Ottawa's faith communities by their “many contributions and service to our community” which were well‐known and appreciated by city council, several members of which were also in attendance. The city’s religious communities have always been quick to to “step up to the plate” for community issues, such as helping welcome refugees “to our country, to our city and to our neighbourhoods.” This spirit of community service helped make Ottawa one of the most generous cities in the country in terms of volunteerism and charitable donations, he said. This generosity was evident from “church to church, mosque to mosque and temple to temple across the city.”

World Religion Day 2016Mayor Watson thanked the Baha’i community of Ottawa for organizing World Religion Day and before making the official declaration, reminded everyone that the purpose of the event was “to unite everyone, no matter what their faith or origin and shows us that there are common foundations of all religions.” World Religion Day, said Mayor Watson, “promotes harmony, mutual understanding and respect amongst all people of faith and it sends the message that we can work together to create a better world”

This year’s program reflected on on shared values of service and building bridges between people, especially during times of conflict, prejudice and strife. The program featured many musical presentations from different traditions, and was closed by the Baha’i children’s choir.
World Religion Day 2016
Photos © Louis Brunet

Community News Current
January 14, 2016

Siamak Hariri and the architecture of “Embodied Light”
The Bahá'í Temple in Santiago, Chile.

The Bahá'í Temple in Santiago, ChileOttawa, November 16, 2015 ­ Canadian architect Siamak Hariri spoke to a packed lecture theatre at the National Gallery of Canada about the creative process behind the nearly completed Bahá'í Temple of South America. After a brief introduction to the evolving philosophy of his Toronto firm, Hariri Pontarini Architects, he shared some of the fascinating design challenges of this project. Hariri's accessible presentation style captured the imagination of both the professional architectural community and the members of the general public who were present that night.  

The Bahá'í Temple in Santiago, ChileWorldwide, the Bahá'í community has constructed a House of Worship ­ or mašriqu­l­'aḏkār ­ on every continent except South America. The Santiago temple will be the eighth and final continental “mother temple.” The competitive process included some unusual building specifications, such as a four hundred year building mandate. The temple also needed to withstand considerable seismic activity, since it sits on a major fault line running down the Andes. Hariri's winning bid boldly proposed a temple of glass.

From the beginning, their guiding vision for the project was a “temple of light.” Hariri narrated the winding journey to the final design. A recurring theme in his talk was Bahá’u’llah’s parable of the mystic seeker and his troubled quest for his beloved Layli. Hariri described many design dead­ends and failed experiments with materials. As with the story of Layli, intractable problems gave way to unexpected breakthroughs. Consistently, they maintained their focus on a vision of a sacred building of “embodied light."

The Bahá'í Temple in Santiago, ChileBeyond its translucent nature, the other characteristic of the temple is its dynamic motion. It appears to be twisting around a central oculus in the centre of the ceiling. Hariri spoke of their desire to create a sense of "movement and stillness coexisting." 

The design team asked questions like “what would this building feel like?” They imagined the irregular passage of light that one experiences sitting under a canopy of trees. They strove to create a sensation resembling the organic warmth of illuminated alabaster. Discussing the textures and forms that inspired their design, Hariri rarely mentioned other buildings. He referred to organic natural shapes such as eggs, shells and wings. He studied non-architectural cultural objects: Japanese baskets, billowing sails, canvas tents and the whirling robes of Sufi dancers.

The Bahá'í Temple in Santiago, ChileThe innovative building techniques required traditional physical models and cutting­edge 3D rendering software. Their ideal building materials had to be invented and factories were constructed to produce them for construction. A steel lattice system of connector rods and irregular nodes frame the nine wings. These rest on concrete seismic isolation pads equipped with pendulums that permit each wing to move two feet during an earthquake. The steel skeleton is clad with a translucent skin made of three thousand square feet of custom shaped cast­glass panels. Portuguese marble provided a warmer texture on the interior, "like a jacket liner." The interior tracery, made of nickel­plated stainless steel and oak, was inspired by the abstract expressionist “white writing” paintings of Mark Tobey.

The Bahá'í Temple in Santiago, ChileHariri explained some fixed design elements found in all Bahá'í Houses of Worship. They should be welcoming to all, even those with no faith. Thus, Bahá'í temples have nine doors rather than one. They are  circular and don't resemble churches, mosques or other forms of religious architecture. 

This critically appraised design has been under construction for several years and is scheduled to open in 2016. For more information and links to the official photo and video logs of the construction process, click here.

Community News Current

December 11, 2015

Ottawa Bahá'í Community Celebrates the Life of Bahá’u’lláh

On November 13, over 700 Ottawa Bahá'ís and their friends gathered at the Hellenic Centre on Prince of Wales Road to celebrate the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá'í Holy Days are special occasions for the community to join together with music, food, prayers and friends.

“I love the atmosphere at Bahá'í events – creativity, joy, laughter,” said Tamara Wong. “Everyone is welcome. Everyone is a new friend.”

The evening began with a musical meditation on cello and piano. A program of prayers, readings and music, including a songs led by the community choir, all helped those gathered to reflect on the significance of the life of Bahá’u’lláh.

“It happens once a year, and you meet new people and old friends. That’s the beautiful thing,” explained Noel Hollandais. “And it’s the first time these anniversaries have been celebrated together,” referring to the commemoration of the “twin holy birthdays” of Bahá’u’lláh and the Bab. As the Ottawa community and their friends gathered together, it was with the knowledge that communities all around the globe were celebrating this special event with them.

“The most important thing for everyone is to feel part of a community, ” emphasized Amin Rashidi. Looking around the room, he noted both a diversity and commonality that bound everyone together like a “glue,” in his words. “We often lack this, not only a physical but a spiritual community.” It was always nice to get together with friends, he said, “but at these holy days there is such an immense amount of unity and diversity.”

Of course, the peaceful unification of all the peoples of the world is a central Bahá'í teaching. Perhaps translating this ideal into reality is the most fitting way for the community to commemorate the life of Bahá’u’lláh.


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