ottawa baha’i centre official opening

Mayor Larry O'Brien at the Ottawa Baha'i Centre. (c) Louis Brunet, elbi.smugmug.comWhile 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).

happy ridván!

Happy Ridván to you wonderful people. We had a glorious celebration here in Ottawa, including performances from the Ottawa Regional Bahá’í Choir, and a solo on The Garden of Ridván from yours truly. Afterwards, a crowd of many people made their way over to Pej Central for a celebratory barbecue. I took the opportunity to ask Sam to explain to us the significance of Ridván:

If you really want to know, look up a lengthier explanation of Ridván (check Wikipedia’s article too).

Update! Ridván photos are up now (mostly from the barbecue so far)!

Related News:
Baha’is celebrate ‘King of Festivals’ (BWNS)
Les bahá’ís fêtent Ridván (bahai.fr)

stereo photos of baha’i terraces

I recently found some very interesting photos of Haifa and the Baha’i Gardens on flickr. These aren’t your ordinary photos: they’re stereoscopic. Like one of those “Magic Eye” drawings, you just cross your eyes slightly in order to see a three-dimensional image. Click through each of these to see larger versions, courtesy of pinelife.

those nutty neighbours

so down the street over there’s this little house where some of our neighbours live. oh yeah and they’re Baha’is. James Howden is one of them and he’s a prolific and passionate writer—so much so that he was hired on by Adrienne Clarkson as her speechwriter during her tenure as Governor General of Canada. He and his eco-friendly wife, Diana Cartwright, recently returned with their young son Sam from a trip to the beautiful Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and wanted to share their adventures with the world. Check them out on flickr!

BTW you may know the Howden/Cartwright couple from previous posts in my blog: they had a long string of fireside discussions on Saturday evenings that would draw large numbers of people to muse about everything spiritual and philosophical of great import; Diana attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development as a Baha’i representative back in 2002; their son Sam also attends the children’s class I blog about.

sarah and shameem’s wedding

first danceLast Saturday in Kingston, two good friends of mine, Shameem and Sarah, were married in a charming ceremony full of love, joy, unity and profound caring. It was a beautiful evening to behold; roses were abundant and candles dotted the halls everywhere. I’ve posted up the wedding photos for posterity in a flickr photoset. Check them out and relive it with us!

Once you’re done, you should also view Martin’s photos and Louis’s photos. The latter were taken with a Nikon D70s and are of excellent quality. Check them out or you’re e.