Toronto, Canada: is now the proud home of a new Hindu Temple, from an architectural standpoint it is not the Taj Mahal, but it certainly is a work of art. Built using Turkish Limestone and Italian marble The Swaminarayan Mandir temple was constructed both in Canada and India, the building blocks were even bar coded to facilitate their placement in the structure. I guess this is old carving skills meets new technology.

I love great architecture and this certainly has it, but the price tag of $40 million makes my eyes boggle. The vast majority of the price tag was footed by the Hindu population, so I really can not blame the government for sponsoring some ‘Pork’ endeavor. But ‘Pork’ this is! The Hindu’s do not eat pork, but they certainly are supporting it.

My bag is working with the homeless, and working poor, people with no place to live, no food, and rapidly declining self esteem, and health. Life on the streets is hard, survive 5 years, you age 20. I look at that $40 million and just wonder how much ‘low cost’ housing it could become? I look at the fact that much of the work was done in India and shipped to Canada, ok, Canadian’s may not be great stone workers, but we sure know how to build structures that can withstand the environment.

The Swaminarayan Mandir temple may be a wonderful piece of work; it may even be a classic. But give me $40 million and I could do something useful. Something that is renewable and sustainable, something that could actually help people. 

Simon Barrett  

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