“Toronto Temple Dedicated,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 104–5
Church members from two countries and a number of different cultures came by the thousands to the dedication of the first LDS temple in eastern Canada August 25–27.
The Toronto Ontario Temple—the Church’s forty-fourth operating temple—was dedicated in eleven sessions held over three days. The sessions drew more than seventeen thousand people from the temple district.
The temple serves some sixty-five thousand members in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. It also serves members in parts of New York, Vermont, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan in the United States.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, presided over the dedicatory sessions. The dedicatory prayer for the temple, read in each session, included a plea for blessings on President Ezra Taft Benson, who did not attend: “In his advanced age we pray that thou wilt give him gladness in his heart, comfort in his body, and the assurance of our love.”
The prayer also expressed gratitude for “this great nation of Canada, whose people enjoy the blessings of liberty and peace, with full freedom to worship thee according to thy revealed pattern.”
It was noted in the prayer that “this nation has become a gathering place for people from scores of other lands. In their veins flows the blood of Israel.” Because of the diverse cultural backgrounds of those attending the dedicatory sessions, proceedings were translated not only into French—one of the official languages of Canada—but also into Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean.
The prayer expressed gratitude for the “redemption wrought by the Lamb of God, who offered himself a sacrifice for all men.” It also petitioned God to “arouse thy people to an understanding of the covenants which they make with thee in thy holy temples.” The prayer committed members to “pledge to thee our love, our strength, our means, our faith, and bear witness to the world that thou art our living God.”
President Hinckley told those attending the second dedicatory session that “the real test of our love for this house lies in the use of it. It isn’t built as a monument, but it is dedicated to be used.”
President Monson commented, “We’re close to heaven on this glorious occasion.” He called the dedication “a capstone event” and noted that “this is a day of thanksgiving as well as a day of dedication.”
More than twenty-six hundred volunteers from throughout the temple district served in activities from hosting to cleaning during the open house; collectively, they donated more than sixty-four thousand hours of service.
Members showed by their service that they regarded the building as a treasure. After the end of the last dedicatory session late on Monday afternoon, for example, local members took just two and one-half hours to complete cleaning and furniture moving that had been scheduled to take all night. They did the work so their General Authority visitors from Salt Lake City could see the temple prepared for operation before leaving the next morning.
Laurie and Kathy Davidson of St. John’s, Newfoundland, made the four-day trip by car and ferry to bring their children to the dedication. They felt well rewarded for the effort because of the opportunity for their family to “experience the Spirit. It was everything we hoped it would be for them,” Brother Davidson said.
President David H. Olsen of the Bloomfield Hills Michigan Stake echoed those feelings. More than nine hundred members of his stake attended the dedication. “There was a tremendous outpouring of the Spirit there that will certainly encourage our people to attend often,” he said.
Many visitors who came during the thirteen-day open house before the dedication of the temple were also touched by what they felt. A Welsh visitor, a member of another faith, wrote in the guest book: “The most impressive place of worship I’ve ever seen.” Another visitor wrote: “An excellent presentation of the Christian faith.” Still another commented: “As a follower of Christ in another denomination, I felt much peace and serenity during my visit to your temple. Thank you for the privilege of sharing.” The open house drew more than sixty-one thousand people to the thirteen-acre temple site in Brampton, northwest of Toronto.
In addition to President Hinckley and President Monson, speakers at the dedicatory sessions included eleven members of the Quorum of the Twelve: President Howard W. Hunter, Elder Boyd K. Packer, Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Elder L. Tom Perry, Elder James E. Faust, Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Elder Russell M. Nelson, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Elder M. Russell Ballard, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, and Elder Richard G. Scott.
Two members of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke: Elder Dean L. Larsen and Elder James M. Paramore. Seven other members of the Seventy also were among the speakers: Elder Ted E. Brewerton, Elder F. Enzio Busche, Elder Jacob de Jager, Elder W. Eugene Hansen, Elder Robert K. Dellenbach, Elder Gerald E. Melchin, and Elder Alexander B. Morrison.
Bishop Glenn L. Pace, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, spoke. So, too, did President Elaine L. Jack, Relief Society general president, and President Ardeth G. Kapp, Young Women general president.
Toronto Temple President Arnold N. P. Roberts and Audrey D. Roberts, temple matron, spoke during dedicatory sessions, as aid Gordon F. Finnigan and Hans Peets, counselors in the temple presidency.
Several of the visiting speakers have ties to Canada. President Monson was serving as mission president in Toronto when the first stake was created there in 1960. (Five stakes now cover the same area.) Elder Ballard also served as mission president in Toronto. Elder Packer was president of the New England Mission, which included the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Elder Maxwell served in Canada as a young missionary. Five of the speakers were born in Canada: Elder Brewerton, Elder Morrison, Elder Melchin, Sister Kapp, and Sister Jack.