Baha’is of Halifax celebrate 70 years

An early Baha’i meeting in Halifax in the 1940's.--L to R: Dorothy Ward (later Wade), Doris McKay, Grace Geary, Ralph Laltoo, Ellen DeMille, Beulah Proctor, unidentified man with two children.
© Will C. van den Hoonaard, The Origins of the Baha’i Community of Canada, 1898-1948 (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, 1996).
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 13 April 2012 (CBNS) — On April 21st, 2012, the Baha’i Community of Halifax Regional Municipality will celebrate the First Day of Ridván Holy Day and the 70th anniversary of the formation of the first Baha’i Spiritual Assembly in Halifax, the governing council of Halifax Baha’i community.

The 1st Day of Ridván marks the beginning of the twelve days of the Baha’i festival of Ridván, also called “the Most Great Festival”.

There will be displays of the community’s history and a program of prayers, readings, and music that will be followed by a reception.

The Baha’i Community of Halifax began to form in the 1930’s, when the first Baha’is moved to Halifax. By 1942, the Halifax community was large enough to form a Local Spiritual Assembly, the seventh in Canada. By 1947, the Halifax community consisted of eighteen Baha’is and was the fifth largest Baha’i community in Canada.

The Baha’i population continued to increase in Halifax, in what was then Halifax County. New communities were formed. A Dartmouth Local Spiritual Assembly was established in 1967. The 1970’s saw the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies in Sackville (1970), Cole Harbour (1972) and Bedford (1978).

In 1999, the Baha’i communities of the former Halifax and Halifax County amalgamated to form the Baha’i Community of Halifax Regional Municipality, a diverse and vibrant community that now consists of about 260 members.

The Baha’i community has endeavoured to maintain a strong connection with the larger Halifax Regional Municipality community and has in turn felt support and friendship from the Municipality and its residents.

The Baha’i choir, “Fire and Light Baha’i Chorale Group” staged public performances, including a performance during the G7 Summit of 1995. The Dartmouth Baha’i community collaborated with the local government to establish and maintain the World Peace Pavilion on the Dartmouth waterfront.

From 1994 to 2009, the Baha’i community of Halifax initiated and sponsored World Religion Day Celebrations with the collaboration of many other religious communities. The community has initiated and maintained “English as a Second Language” classes, called English Corner.

In addition, individual Baha’is have been active partners with other community groups that promote unity and understanding, such as the Interfaith Council, Partners for Human Rights, and the Black Cultural Centre and have undertaken numerous small projects of service in neighborhoods all over Halifax.