Who does not want to visit Canada for a wonderful vacation? This big country that is situated in North America must be at the top of the list of many globetrotters. Indeed, Canada is full of cities and attractions that will help you create beautiful memories. Toronto, for example, is one of the cities that is not to be missed because of its CN Tower, Queen’s Park and Lake Ontario. The dynamic atmosphere and diverse culture of Vancouver have also appealed to tourists. Other than the landmarks and natural landscape, Canada is also famous for its religious buildings like monasteries. If you are interested in getting to know more about certain religions or just looking to absorb peacefulness during your vacation, stop by the monasteries. Keep reading and you will learn more about the must-visit monasteries in Canada.
1. Thrangu Monastery
When you see the colorful flags in the picture, you can guess right away that Thrangu Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Yes, Thrangu Monastery is such a special place because it is the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery that was built in Canada. Situated in Richmond, the monastery was opened to the public for the first time in 2010. The most prominent feature of this religious building is perhaps its gold-leafed Buddha statue whose height reaches 15 feet (approximately 4.57 m). In addition to the tall Buddha statue, you can also observe smaller Buddha statues and traditional Buddhist elements on the ceiling and throughout the building.
2. Birken Forest Monastery
If you happen to be traveling near Kamloops in British Columbia, you have to stop by Birken Forest Monastery, which is a Buddhist monastery that is regularly used as a training center for the monks and as a retreat center for common people. The monastery follows the teaching tradition of Thai monk Ajahn Chah. You can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the monastery and you are welcome to give charity.
3. Tisarana Buddhist Monastery
Another Buddhist Monastery that is worth visiting is Tisarana Buddhist Monastery that can be found in Ontario, not far from Ottawa. Similar to Birken Forest Monastery, Tisarana Buddhist Monastery also follows the tradition of Ajahn Chah and additionally Ajahn Sumedho. Many Buddhist monks reside in the monastery and you are welcome to observe their practice and ritual. If you are looking for a sanctuary to hold a retreat, this monastery is an excellent place as well.
4. Westminster Abbey
Moving on from the Buddhist and Tibetan monasteries, there is Westminster Abbey that is considered to be quite old as it was established in 1939. Set in peaceful greenery with all the lush trees, mountains and hills in the surrounding, Westminster Abbey is home to the Seminary of Christ the King and is made up of a community of Benedictine monks. Marvel at the fine example of Gothic and British architecture before going inside to have some tranquil moments where you can dedicate your prayers.
5. Queen of Peace Monastery
On your trip to Squamish in British Columbia, you will come across a monastery that is set in the middle of the remarkable wilderness of Coast Mountain and that monastery is called Queen of Peace Monastery. The monastery finished its construction in 2012 and houses a number of Dominican sisters. Everyone, regardless of faith, is welcome to soak up the tranquility and scenic vistas of the monastery. Come early in the morning so you can participate in the morning prayers and singing performed by the nuns.
6. All Saints Monastery
Situated in Dewdney, British Columbia, All Saints Monastery is an Orthodox Christian monastery that was established in 1968. Similar to the other monasteries, All Saints Monastery is the answer you need if you are looking for a place for serenity. You are more than welcome to join the services that are held every Saturday and Sunday.
7. Avatamsaka Monastery
Set in Alberta, Avatamsaka Monastery was established to promote Dharma Realism Buddhist teaching through meditation, chanting of the name of the Buddha and the study of Dharma teachings, among others. The lives of the monks and nuns at this monastery start as early as 4 am every single day, and you are welcome to observe their rituals and practice throughout the day. Moreover, the monastery also hosts Buddhist celebrations and offer retreat sessions and Buddhist-related activities like sutra lectures and meditation classes every now and then.
8. St. Anthony Coptic Orthodox Monastery
Another Orthodox monastery that can be found and should be visited while you are exploring Ontario is St. Anthony Coptic Orthodox Monastery. It is the first monastery to cater to the needs of the Coptic Orthodox community in Canada and if you are interested in enriching your faith and rituals, you can discuss your intentions with the monastery. Otherwise, you can simply visit the monastery to wonder at the surrounding idyllic landscape that will certainly bring joy to your mind and soul.
9. Monastery of Mount Carmel Spiritual Retreat and Conference Centre
Nestled in Niagara Falls, Monastery of Mount Carmel Spiritual Retreat and Conference Centre is among the most beautiful monasteries across Canada. Admire the stained glass windows and wood carvings throughout the entire 1894 monastery. The monastery is also used to host plenty of religious retreats, spiritual activities and workshops throughout the year.
10. Monastery of the Virgin Mary the Consolatory
Last but not least is the Monastery of the Virgin Mary the Consolatory that is located in Brownsburg, Quebec. The tranquil setting of the monastery lets you focus on your prayers and contemplate on what you can do to bring yourself closer to God. The Orthodox Christian sisters reside in the monastery and they aim at introducing the traditions of Orthodox Byzantine.