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Toronto Maha Vihara Buddhist Meditation Centre, 4698 Kingston Road, Scarborough, ON M1E 2P9, Canada., Tel: (416) 208 9276 Fax:(647) 349-0444
BRIEF HISTORY OF TORONTO MAHA VIHARA
In the late 1960’s, the spiritual needs of the Buddhist community in Toronto were fulfilled by invited guests to deliver sermons, once or twice a year at different rented locations. The congregations at these events evolved themselves into Canadian Buddhist Vihara Society. The first official meeting of this group was held at 126 Scarborough Crescent in Scarborough. A Board of 15 committee members was elected and was registered in 1973 in the province of Ontario as Canadian Buddhist Vihara Society.
Driven by the desire, nursed and nourished by the Canadian Buddhist Vihara Society, the noble idea of establishing a Buddhist temple in the Sri Lankan Theravada tradition in Toronto was conveyed to most venerable Dr. Dickwela Piyananda, chief resident monk of the Washington Temple. Ven. Piyananda made a few visits to Toronto and conducted meetings in several private residences to fathom their aspirations and needs and the necessity of having a Buddhist center.
Pioneering group of Buddhists now with intensified determination, was able to purchase the property at 3595 Kingston Road, Scarborough. The property had been a Dairy Queen fast food outlet with two bedrooms and a living room. All possible improvements were made to make it habitable and suitable as a place of worship.
With all the traditional wrappings, on July 24, 1978, Toronto Maha Vihara was born, a place to call our own. All Sri Lankan residents, though in short supply at that time, rallied round the newly formed temple. The honor of being the first resident monk of the Mahavihara goes to Ven. Kahagolle Dhammika.
The influx of the immigrants from Burma, India and Sri Lanka brought a sizeable community of Buddhists to Toronto. They needed better and larger premises to cater for their needs. The current clregy residence with four bedrooms at 4698 Kingston Road, over 100 years old at the time, was purchased in April 1995. After heavy renovation it was made the Awasage for the monks to reside. Every one passionately exclaimed that this site could be "Jetavanaramaya" in the making.
The foundation laying ceremony for the present Viharage, headed by Ven Ahangama Rathanasiri, Viharadhipathi, in the presence of distinguished guests and thousands of devotees was held on August 30, 1998 at the auspicious time conforming to the Sri Lankan tradition.
Foundation Laying Ceremony on 30th of Aug. 1998
The cost of the project was nearly one million dollars. The grand opening ceremony was held on September 30, 2000.
Ven. Ahangama Ratanasiri Thero, Pandit, MA is the Viharadhipathi since 1992.
Pioneers of the Toronto Mahavihara Society
The first TMV Committee has maintained a list of its members on a chart from July 1978 until 1980.
here to view the list. You may also click on the image on the left to enlarge it.
Life Members of the Toronto Mahavihara Society
In accordance with the Article IV 1.b of the current Society Constitution, a member may be awarded "Life Membership" if he or she makes a donation of $5000.00 as membership fee.
here to view the current "Life Membership" List.
A brief history and current activities of Toronto Mahavihara appeared in the Budu Maga Newspaper in Sri Lanka on 9th of March 2020. It is reproduced here at this link. The content of this article is entirely the findings of the author and the Toronto Mahavihara Society does not bear any responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained in it.