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Montreal, July 29, 2018 – A group of young people from Waterloo community, Ontario, was in Montreal for a three day visit specifically the historic sites associated with the visit ‘Abdu'l-Bahá’s sojourn in this city in 1912.

They were welcomed warmly at the reception centre of the Shrine and, after going through the history of the place and its significance for the Bahá'ís, they continued their visit to the Shrine itself; the former home of Montreal architect Sutherland Maxwell. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son and successor of Bahá'u'lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, arrived in Montreal on August 30, 1912 for an initial five-day visit. Force of circumstance, after giving a speech at the Saint James Methodist Church on September 5th, he caught cold which forced him to delay his departure, perhaps an inconvenience for the Master, but a blessing for Montreal.

During this period, he only went to the Maxwell’s home. However, even His health condition did not stop those who wanted to visit him at Windsor Hotel. Nevertheless, as his initial itinerary had already been announced in the newspapers, the frequency of visits decreased somewhat, some believing he had already left. Despite his health, he went to the Maxwell’s home later that day. The weather was cooler and pleasant during that period.

May Maxwell later told her daughter that 'Abdu'l-Bahá said during His stay in their home: “Here, is my home”. She described her guest as someone “serene and calm”, but during the nine days He spent in Montreal, 'Abdu'l-Bahá actually seems to have constantly given talks, interviews, received guests, or visited those He thought were ready to hear His message.

The youth group continued their visit first to Cathedral Mary Queen of the World and then to Windsor Hotel where 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His entourage had stayed for six days. This majestic hotel of the time on Peel Avenue was ravaged by fire in 1957 and the part of the structure where 'Abdu'l-Bahá had probably stayed was destroyed. Today, the CIBC tower replaces the old structure of the hotel but the annex still exists in its original architectural form as it was in the time of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá.

It is interesting to know that the Master stayed at the hotel at the same time as Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, who was returning from a successful trip to Britain. The year 1912 marked almost a century of peace between Great Britain and the United States. Following a parade of about two kilometers, with fireworks and fanfares, the prime minister moved to Windsor Hotel. There is no indication that 'Abdu'l-Bahá met him, either accidentally or at one of the sumptuous reception at the hotel given for the prime minister, but it is remarkable that these two personalities stayed at the same hotel at the same time.
The visit to historical sites was completed around 5 pm and the youth continued the day with NDG friends at the Kent Park picnic.

 

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