The Children of Peace were a religious community located in Hope, Ontario. In 1841, the town of Hope was renamed Sharon in order to get a post office. Under the leadership of David Willson, the Children of Peace broke away from the Quakers in 1812. Quakers were “plain folk,” known for their quiet meetings for worship and lack of music. The Children of Peace enjoyed including music in their services and meetings. They created the first civilian band in Canada, known for playing in the Temple, marching, and giving concerts. They also commissioned the first organ made in Canada.
The Sharon Temple’s construction took place between 1825 and 1832. Its design is to showcase their love of music and its use in their services. The Children of Peace had four main virtues (faith, hope, love and charity), all which are written on the inner columns of the Temple. They used the Temple to raise money to help each other in times of need, and to build schools. They also supported the province’s first shelter for the homeless. According to the Agricultural Census of 1851, their community had become the most prosperous village in the province.
The Children of Peace became successful farmers in a time when farmers often failed. They were successful in establishing a credit union and land-sharing system. Within their autocratic colony they inspired other settlers to fight for democracy. They used captivating messages of equality and of a government based on the will of the people. There were approximately 300 members of the Children of Peace. They were a group of people related by their family ties and religious views. Many members were immigrants from Lycoming and Bucks Counties, in Pennsylvania. They transformed the place they moved to.