Renewing The Way

The Toronto Zen Centre Buddha Hall Renovation Project

* Please note our Renewing The Way Campaign has come to a close. However, as our Centre is supported solely by the contributions of our members and friends, we are always grateful to receive donations. If you would like to donate, you can do so here.

“Generosity brings happiness at every stage of its expression. We experience joy in forming the intention to be generous. We experience joy in the actual act of giving something. And we experience joy in remembering the fact that we have given.”

— The Buddha

Why?

We’ve grown. But our home hasn’t.

After 30 years in our current home at 33 High Park Gardens in Toronto, the time has come to expand in order to meet the needs of our growing membership. That’s why we are now embarking on the final phase of an exciting capital campaign to fund renovations that will enable us to grow both within the Centre and our broader community. To get there, we are seeking the financial support of our Members and friends.

Your gift will not only enable us to renovate our beloved Centre, but will also set the foundation for deepening our practice and training in the Dharma.

Our Goals

  • Expand our space to meet the needs for our growing Membership.
  • Create more opportunities for connecting with the wider community.
  • Upgrade our building to decrease future maintenance costs.
  • Improve our financial future through our ability to offer expanded public programming and events.

What?

A larger space for a stronger community.

Background

The heart of our Centre and the place where nearly all of our ceremonies and special events take place is our Buddha Hall. Attached to the west side of the Buddha Hall is our Kannon Room, dedicated to the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Currently, the Buddha Hall and Kannon Room are separated by two large pillars. Because of limited capacity for seating in the Buddha Hall, nearly all ceremonies and events currently require some people to sit in the Kannon Room instead. This is problematic, as the pillars obstruct their view and make it more difficult to plan seating to begin with. Additionally, even with some people sitting in the Kannon Room, we are overflowing the space.

The Plan

  • Create a larger, more open and functional Buddha Hall by removing the pillars and expanding the existing space. In terms of usable space, the Buddha Hall will become 50% larger.
  • Create a new multipurpose room in the basement, which will serve primarily as a dining room but will also be used for programs and events. This room, plus additional changes to the current basement configuration, will add approximately 500 sq ft of usable space.
  • Overall, the Centre will gain 700 sq ft of functional space!

Our Future Buddha Hall

  • Will allow for larger groups to participate in Introduction to Zen Workshops and Metta courses.
  • Offers larger, unobstructed space for Ceremonies, chanting services and Sesshin (meditation retreats, a key part of Zen practice).
  • Increases our capacity for public ceremonies, such as weddings, Vesak (The Buddha's birthday) and New Year’s Eve.

Our Future Multipurpose Room

  • Will greatly increase our limited space for mealtimes during Sesshin and special events, allowing for more people to attend these events.
  • Will allow us to host more public courses and workshops such as vegetarian cooking classes, yoga and Ikebana (traditional Japanese flower arranging).

Zen Centre Outreach

The Toronto Zen Centre currently engages in a wide variety of outreach programs. Below, you'll find a list of many of them. With our expansion, we plan to provide more of these programs and increase our offerings to the general community.

  • Quarterly food drive donations to local food banks.
  • Charity fundraising for local and international humanitarian programs, including: Malala Education Fund (Pakistan), Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation (Sri Lanka), and Jessie’s: The June Callwood Centre for Young Women (Toronto).
  • Oxfam Hunger Banquets, raising funds for Doctors Without Borders, Breakfast Clubs of Canada and St. Francis’ Table.
  • Meditation and chaplaincy work in Ontario prisons, including Warkworth Penitentiary.
  • Meditation workshops in local jails through Freeing the Human Spirit.
  • Annual summer “Buddhist Youth Camp” for Toronto schoolchildren.
  • Bi-monthly introductory workshops on Zen meditation.
  • Semi-annual Loving-kindness (metta bhavana) workshops.
  • Loving-kindness workshops in other areas of Ontario.
  • Weekly ceremonies of aid for individuals in distress or with illness.
  • Ceremonies of aid for animals.
  • Ikebana (flower arranging) and calligraphy courses.
  • Yoga classes and other movement based classes.
  • Neighbourhood waste clean-up from local parks and roadsides.
  • Bi-annual neighbourhood yard and bake sale with live music.
  • Workshops in vegetarian cooking and baking.

Drawings & Details

Click any image to enlarge

TZC main floor with expanded Buddha Hall

TZC main floor with expanded Buddha Hall

TZC Basement Level with Dining Room

TZC Basement Level with Dining Room


Current front of the Centre.

Current front of the Centre

Proposed front of the Centre.

Proposed front of the Centre, with addition


Details on the Buddha Hall renovation plan.

Details on the Buddha Hall renovation plan

Details on the basement renovation plan.

Details on the basement renovation plan


How?

With your generous support.

Help Secure Our Financial Future

The first of the six great virtues in Buddhism is Dana (or generosity), and members and friends of the Centre have indeed been generous. At this point, we have exceeded our original goal of $535,000 dollars!

The prior generosity of these donors has been tremendous, but we still need your help! The city permit process has required us to make a number of changes to our building plans — changes that will increase our final costs. The new cost estimates, which will be based on the permit plans, will be made as soon as we receive our building permit. But no matter what the final costs, all donations will be used to help the Zen Centre renovate. While things are looking very positive, we still need to raise as much as we can between now and May 15 2016, to secure the Centre’s financial future and make sure we can do the best possible job in improving our temple.

Initial Fundraising Goal: $535,000

When?

Spring 2016

While we had initially hoped to start the renovation in 2015, we have faced a number of challenges including delays in the city building permit process and increases in our project costs. For that reason, our Board of Directors has decided to wait to renovate until the spring, giving us an excellent opportunity to raise more funds and secure our permits over the winter. It will also allow for the Centre to remain open this fall and winter and offer our full schedule of activities.

Every single donation, no matter what size, will help us go forward with this renovation project. Please consider supporting it with your generous donation.