There is a massive $80 million Cham Shan Buddhist retreat temple project under development on Ski Hill Road near Bethany (about 30 minutes south of Peterborough) by the Buddhist Association of Canada that I toured. It will be a re-creation of the Sacred Mountains of China. The largest Buddhist complex outside of China, it is being constructed over the next 20 years, with the main temple opening in the next couple of years. Conservative estimates are it will attract about 45,000 visitors annually from around the world, a potential boom to tourism in the area. The site was chosen because of its serenity and tranquility in a natural environment, perfect for a retreat.
The wooden temple was actually built in China, then taken apart and shipped to Canada. It will take about two years to re-assemble. There are no nails or glue, just interlocking rosewood brackets. The site, which will be a meditation centre, will also eventually feature a gift shop, restaurant and onsite accommodation. Here are pictures of what it looks like now during construction, and what it will look like upon completion. —Jamey Coughlin