While Baha’is have been using the newly purchased and renovated Baha’i Centre on Macarthur Street for several months now, this past Wednesday marked the official opening and public dedication of the Centre. A crowd of about 60 people, including Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien, Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Bélanger, various city councillors, heads of local religious communities as well as business owners, attended the celebration yesterday afternoon. I was invited to sing as part of a quartet from the Ottawa Regional Baha’i Choir. It was an amazing and very positive afternoon! A news story about the opening ran in today’s edition of the Ottawa Citizen:
After a small, but determined religious community in Ottawa raised enough money to buy a former restaurant and renovate it, the Ottawa Baha’i Centre opened its doors yesterday.
Baha’i rules don’t allow members to raise funds outside the faith, and that means the 1,000 members from the Ottawa area raised $700,000 through their own donations.
[…] The new centre, which took 16 months to transform, has a library and bookstore and it will be a meeting place for feasts, or for events with guest speakers. The library and bookstore will be open to the general public, Mr. Smith said.
Mayor Larry O’Brien was among the 60 people who turned up for the event. Mr. O’Brien cut the ribbon and offered an inspirational message about faith groups and how much they contribute to the city.
MP Mauril Belanger was also on hand to welcome the Baha’is to his riding. The Baha’i choir sang a few songs, and Niels Hansen-Trip, a member of the spiritual assembly, spoke.
“The event was well-received and a lot of people talked about the amount of spirit at the occasion,” said Mr. Smith.
Louis Brunet, who took the photo included above, took a slew of photos throughout the entire event, and has already posted them on his photoblog: elbi.smugmug.com. Go check them out and share in the occasion (and see the quartet in action!)
Update: martinsquest.com featured this story as well; check out his link to the Baha’i Centre renovation pictures. Also, check out Vafa’s Baha’i Centre renovation slideshow (which, coincidentally, played on a continuous loop at the opening ceremony).