A skyline dominated by a place built for worship is not an unusual feature anywhere in the world. But this Temple is more unusual than most. Chief among its peculiarities is what gives this slim volume its title: the building is indeed foursquare, with four identical and fully symmetrical elevations, down to the smallest detail, all on a square plan.
One of the continent's great but little-known architectural treasures, southern Ontario’s Sharon Temple was built between 1825 and 1832 as the central feature of a community unlike any other. The Children of Peace had been Quakers who fled to Upper Canada from religious persecution in the new American republic. Led by minister David Willson, they erected three distinctive meeting houses of which the most grand, the Temple, survives. Built according to Willson’s visions of the lost Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, its unique, symmetrical geometry reflects the sect’s deep faith and unusual practice, with its doors, pillars, windows and central Ark serving as symbolic representation of biblical teachings.
4square is a guide to this remarkable place of meeting and worship, detailing its architectural, historic and cultural significance and its transition from a visionary place of the 19th century to a national heritage site in the 21st. Featuring dozens of beautiful photographs and illustrations, it is an elegant and enlightening introduction to a stirring period in Canadian history.