Converted Anglican church now Taoist temple
The before and after photos are striking.
What was once the St. John the Divine Anglican Church at 3426 Smith Ave. in west Burnaby was a tired-looking, A-framed structure with glass blocks next to the main entrance.
After renovations by the Chinese Taoism Kuan-Kung Association in Canada, which purchased the property in the fall of 2010, the building has been transformed. It retains the original structure but the front wall has been replaced with large panes of glass, with a natural-coloured wooden archway flanking the new entrance.
The property had sat vacant for over a year and the ultra-modern design was chosen after the association spoke with neighbours about what they wanted to see, said project manager Kevin Chen. The association wanted to put its own stamp on the building while recognizing its past as a Christian church by not completely changing the look of the structure.
Inside, where the altar once stood, a full-height elliptical dome has been added and a mural painted on it.
Now known as the Tian-Jin Temple, it is the first Taoist temple in Canada to worship Guan-Gong, an ancient general.
Chen noted that while the temple is home to the Taoist congregation, the association plans to also make the space available to the wider community.
The association is hosting its first Tian-Jin Cultural Celebration Festival Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as a way to raise awareness of traditional Chinese culture. Admission is free and will include live music and dance performances throughout the day, games and food vendors. Everyone is welcome.