The Thomas Foster Memorial Temple

Situated on a hill in rolling countryside, five to six kilometers north of Uxbridge, the Thomas Foster Memorial is easily visible from the west, south and east. Both its position and unique design command one's atten­tion. It's structure was inspired by the Taj Mahal which is just outside of Agra, India. The Emperor Shah Jehen built the latter temple in 1650 as a burial place for his favorite wife. It is the greatest masterpiece of Indian architecture.
Thomas Foster went to the Toronto architectural firm of Craig and Madill with the proposal to build a similar structure for the resting place of his wife, his daughter Ruby, and himself. At the same time, it was to be used by the community for burials. A removable slab in the floor would allow for coffins to be lowered to crypts below for storage. This structure was to cost $100,000, and was to be placed next to the small cemetery where his ancestors were buried. By the time the building was completed, it had cost Foster twice as much as the original estimate of the architects.
The Eastern architecture, -and the worship of pagan gods, did not lend itself to this area, so the early Christian Church of the Byzantine influence was chosen instead. The dome, resting on four pendentives or supports bet­ween arches, and this period displayed more embellishments. Thus, the Foster Memorial is a totally unique and original structure.
The broad, octagonal, terraced base on which the building rests, is 87 feet in width and 92 feet in length. (The structure itself is 55 feet in width and 60 feet in length.) It builds up by stages of vertical wall, semi-dome drum, and a great central dome to the gilded finial. The perfect form of architecture, that of the pyramid, was the fundamental motif for the design. From the ground below the terrace to top of the finial on the cen­tral dome is a height of sixty feet, and the inside diameter of the dome is twenty-three feet.
The masonry of variegated Indiana limestone is enriched with carving at the windows and cornice lines. The design builds up with just enough emphasis from wall to roof to mark the change in materials. The thrust of the four great internal arches below the central dome is carried on piers at the four corners. These piers are weighted by carved stone finials sur­mounted with brass caps. The transepts and apse are three-sided without and semi-circular within.
Facing the west, and providing the entrance motif, the portico, resting upon three arches, supported by monolithic columns, is enriched with in­cised carving.
Weighted buttresses capped with bronze reinforce the flanks of the portico. The roof surfaces are of copper tile, chemically treated to produce a permanent green surface. The entrance doors, window tracery, and all metal parts are of bronze

The windows, the work of Yvonne Williams, are of hand-painted, fired and leaded glass, the colours and designs are harmonious, and are distributed so as to flood the interior with soft, col­ourful light.
The floors are of rich-coloured terrazzo and marble mosaics, wrought in symbolic designs. On entering, one crosses the River of Death, on which floats water lilies and lily pads. The motion that underlies the work of the Creator is suggested in the general design of the floor beneath the great dome. This motion, typifying life, radiates from the Greek letters, "Alpha and Omega", which in turn flank the "Chi Rho" monogram in its early Byzantine form. The laurel wreath of victory over death encircles the central motif.
Under each of the four great arches, a marble screen with balustrades separates the crossing from transepts, apse and nave. Sixteen marble col­umns, four to each screen supporting three arches with pierced marble tympanum above, are features of the interior. The columns are in vari­coloured Italian marbles with carved Devon stone capitals and desserets. Each capital differs from its neighbours and is carved with the heraldic symbol of one of the saints or apostles. The marble altar in the east is ap­proached from the raised apse by three travertine steps. The high marble reredos emblazoned with gold cross and I.H.S. monograms, is a departure from the canopied altar of the early church, but more in keeping with the scale of this structure and the present day form of Christian service. The pulpit is of Rocherons marble with an incised carved frieze and inlay of gold mosaic.
The southern transept contains three family sarcophagi. Above each sarcophagus is a memorial window bearing a modest memorial shield. The crypt contains six compartments for winter burials.
A dado of Bois-Jourdain gray marble shot with red, and inlaid with gold mosaic surrounds the interior. The same marble is used in window reveals and surrounds. The pedantries under the dome, the soffits and returns of the great arches, are in glass mosaics, in conventional floral and geometric designs in harmonious and brilliant colours. The acoustical ceiling is of azure blue.
Above, the drum of the dome is pierced with twelve stained glass, leaded windows, that in the east being in the form of a gold cross on a rich blue ground. Circling the lower part of the dome, above the great ar­ches in gold lettering on a field of graded blue mosaic, is the inscription: "Take this my body for it is done and I have gained a new life, glorious and eternal".
The Foster Memorial Mausoleum is open to the public on the first and third Sunday from June to September, in the afternoons.