There are two focal points of Baha'i activity in Montreal - the Montreal Bahá’í Center/Bookstore and the Montreal Bahá’í Shrine. They are described in detail below.
1548, Pine ave. West, Montreal
Open weekday evenings from 7 to 9 pm.
Open weekends from 1 to 4 pm.
Even though ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in other homes in Europe and America, the Maxwell home in Montreal is the only place officially designated a “Shrine.” This sacred spot is unique in the world, since it is the only Bahá’í shrine outside of the Holy Land and those places in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey where the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh have resided or sojourned. It was therefore a great honour and privilege conferred upon Canada and the city of Montreal.
The importance of this Shrine has been described in these words: “Things arise in historic perspective as time goes by. This is the only private home in Canada where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed. After His visit, it was always considered blessed by having been used by Him. For future generations, it will eventually grow in importance and sacredness, because He, the Centre of the Covenant, the Greatest Mystery of God, stayed here.”
The Montreal Bahá’í Shrine is, therefore, a place of pilgrimage. Not only do the upper floor and the room of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá constitute the Shrine, but the whole building is an historic monument. It is located in a city that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá hopes in the future “will become so stirred, that the melody of the Kingdom may travel to all parts of the world from that Dominion and the breaths of the Holy Spirit may spread from that centre to the East and the West of America.”3 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had said, in effect, that ‘this house is My home.’
177 Pine ave. East, Montreal
The present Montreal Baha’í Centre was acquired in 1982 and serves as a meeting place for activities both those of the Bahá’ís and others who have used it for worthwhile projects.
Bahá’í activities include Feasts, where the Bahá’ís gather together every 19 days, to pray, read the Writings of the Faith, consult on the affairs of the community, enjoy refreshments and each other’s company. It is used often for Bahá’í Holy Day observances which mark significant events in Bahá’í history nine times a year.
It is also used to host the weekly meeting Language Corners organized to help new arrivals in Montreal improve their French or English
BAHÁ’Í BOOKSTORE AND INFORMATION CENTRE
177 Pine ave. East, Montreal
“God’s greatest gift to man is his intellect,” say the Bahá’í Writings, and so learning is a lifetime adventure of the mind for human beings.
Reading is a part of every day Bahá’í life and, aside from the many other means of acquiring knowledge in the arts and sciences, study of the extensive Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice is a part of the ongoing process of an individual’s spiritual growth.
As well, over the years, a great number of books have been published, inspired by the teachings of the Faith on a vast range of subjects, from human rights, to the advancement of women, from “metaphorical nature of physical reality” to raising a family, from the elimination of prejudice to community building.
They are available in a number of languages as well as English, French and Farsi.
The Bahá’í Bookstore and Information Centre offers a full range of Bahá’í literature, as well as a warm welcome to visitors and inquirers. It’s hours are from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays.