Montreal, January 17, 2018 - Some 150 members of the Montreal Bahá’í Community gathered at the newly renovated Bahá’í Centre on 177 Pine Avenue East to celebrate the occasion and the 19 Days Feast. Representing a large variety of ethnic as well as age groups, they were coming together from nine different boroughs of our city.

 Two of the Assembly members in 1983 who were present at the Feast told the friends the story of how the Bahá’í Centre was purchased then. Kay Hopkinson, a member of the Bahá’í Community of Montreal at that time made a simple suggestion at a 19 days Feast to purchase a Place of gathering for the friends. As the procedure goes, the suggestion was forwarded to the Spiritual Assembly, the governing body which administers the affaires of the Community. The Assembly welcomed the suggestion and approved of it. The Montreal Community was relatively small and the Assembly had little money in its Bank account. The island of Montreal had some 15 municipalities with a Bahá’í Administrative Bodies until January 1, 2006 when the municipalities and Montreal joined together as one city.

 In early days of the Faith most meetings were held at the home of Architect Sutherland Maxwell and his wife May Boles where the Montreal Bahá’í Shrine is located now. As the membership of the Community grew, the Bahá’í activities were held at either YWCA downtown or at the home of the friends. Therefore, the expenses were little and the amount of money kept in the bank was also little.  The Assembly came up with a bright idea to organize a fundraising event and collect the necessary funds to purchase a Centre. The event was scheduled at the Negro Community Centre. It happened that an ice storm paralyzed all activities in Montreal and surroundings. There was little hope to have a large gathering and collect a lot of money!

 The Hand of the Cause John Robarts (one of the members of a Body by that name to help expansion and other activities of the Community) who lived in Rawdon, Quebec with his family was scheduled to be present at that fundraising event. His daughter who was supposed to drive him to the event was afraid that the treacherous ice covered roads might cause an accident and there was no way that they would go to the Fundraising. John, nevertheless, was determined to be in Montreal and nothing could stop him to do so! He put on his hat which he had worn while in Haifa visiting Shoghi-Effendi, the late Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, decided to take a taxi and arrived at the Negro community Centre! He had the intention to auction his hat in order to generate funds for the Montreal Bahá’í Centre.

 As it was expected, not very many people managed to be present at the meeting due to ice storm, nevertheless five thousand Dollars was raised that evening! The Spiritual Assembly appointed a committee to search for a suitable building to purchase and the present location was found. Unfortunately, it was located in residential area and it needed a permit from City Hall in order to be used for public activities. One of the above Committee members contacted the relevant office at the City Hall which denied the request without further discussion.  Another member tried again and managed to get hold of an official at the Mayor’s Office. When this official was informed of the purpose and activities in the Bahá’í Centre, the permission was granted without further question. The major problem was still lack of funds. The price of the property was $100,000 – a lot of money at that time! There were very few Bahá’ís then who owned a property and the late Raymond Flournoy was one of them. He managed to mortgage his own home in order to obtain a second mortgage and enable the Assembly to buy the property. Surprisingly, the anniversary of Raymond’s passing was on this day, November 17! 

 The Assembly was painfully paying the mortgage then coincidentally, the daughter of Architect Sutherland and May Maxwell, known to the Bahá’ís as Rúhíyyih Khánum, came to Montreal for a Conference. She heard that the Montreal Bahá’í Community has purchased a property and asked whether the mortgage has been completely paid? She was told that $20,000 is left to complete the payment! She thought for a moment and said that her mother, May Maxwell, had kept a Bank account in Montreal and she thought that there was exactly $20,000 in it! She generously donated the amount to the Montreal Bahá’í Community thus the mortgage was fully paid.

 The beautifully renovated Bahá’í Centre is open to the public, has a library to purchase Bahá’í Books as well as a reading library accessible during the opening hours of the Centre.


Bahá'í Center


177, av des Pins E
Montréal, QC H2W 1N9
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Phone: 514-849-0753

Click here for map and hours



Montreal Shrine


1548, av des Pins O, Montreal
Phone: 514-568-2104

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S5 Box