June 11, 2006
While the pillars of satsang were laid in Canada long back in 1974, the auspicious morning of Sunday, June 11, 2006, marked a historic event as the first carved pillar of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto was installed in the presence of Pujya Kothari Swami, Pujya Gnanpriya Swami and other dignitaries.
The Stambh Sthapan Vidhi began with mahapuja at 11:00 am in the presence of Pujya Kothari Swami to commemorate this auspicious occasion. Devotees from across Canada and USA came to witness this divine occasion. Thereafter, the profusely hand-carved marble pillar was hoisted to the top of the Mandir by the massive crane bearing the BAPS insignia. Devotees chanted in unison, "Mandir Mahotsav ni Jay!" and saints chanted the Vedic mantras while the first marble pillar was successfully installed in its place by the skilled artisans.
A special assembly was held in the afternoon to mark the occasion where the celebrations included a parade through the audience by the children and youth in colorful costumes with dances and devotional music. Pujya Gnanpriya Swami talked about the importance of this historic milestone in the construction of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Canada. Thereafter, Pujya Kothari Swami, who came from India to participate in the ceremony, gave a discourse extolling the virtues of donating ones time, talent and wealth to such a noble cause. Everyone was overjoyed to hear the video blessings of Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj for the historic occasion.
The celebrations were made more memorable by the presence of many dignitaries, including, Mr. Jason Kenney, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, The Hon. Stephen Harper, Shri Satish Mehta, Consul General of India, Toronto and Mr. Matthew John, Manager of Outreach, Office of the Prime Minster