Maltese Design Octagonal Labyrinth – Vancouver School of Theology – University of British Columbia – 6000 Iona Drive – UBC Theological Neighbourhood


Every previous visit to the University of British Columbia campus immediately west of Vancouver, I have forgotten to look for this Labyrinth.

Today, I visited UBC for the purpose of breaking my Ramadan Fast by attending the Muslim Students’ Association 2018 Annual Iftar, and then blogging about it on my other project’s website

Okay, so Maltese Labyrinth. I should know this already, but I don’t.

If the design in an eight sided octagonal, that makes it a Maltese Labyrinth?

That’s what I infer.

The entrance is not aligned with the final pathway leading into the centre of this Labyrinth.

There could be symmetry between the right and left halves of the Labyrinth, but there isn’t.

Looking at the bottom left at the two outer most lanes and you can see the turn-around is pulled leftward to accommodate the placement of the entrance lane also being off centre and to the left.

If this wasn’t the case, we would have an empty space, measuring one single square of a pathway unit in lane four directly in-between the entrance and the entrance to the centre.

Okay, let’s go for a Labyrinth Walk…

And, here I am… Walking a circle, in straight lines, making seven square-like slight turns towards and away from the centre.

Recently I learned the purpose of an Octagon is to Square the Circle.

A very different experience walking this one.

It indeed felt as if I was trying to Square what expected to be a Circle.

Halving found, walked, reflected, and learned something about myself and taking with me design ideas for future Octagonal Labyrinths, through this previously elusive Labyrinth, I begin my departure.

Here are some different views.

The Vancouver School of Theology is affiliated with the University of British Columbia, but is independent.

Here’s some background:

“The octagonal labyrinth at the Vancouver School of Theology was installed in 2006 and designed by Landscape Architects Perry and Associates.

This permanent version replaces the original, which was set into the grass in 1997, and was the work of Rev. April Stanley, JoAnne Tharalson, Rev. Lynne McNaughton and Ginger Shaw.

This modified design resembles in its pattern the stone labyrinth in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France.

Pavement or stone labyrinths are found in many twelfth century European cathedrals and churches.

Labyrinths are frequently confused with mazes but serve a different purpose.

A maze is a puzzle or game one attempts to solve.

The labyrinth, on the other hand, is meant to mirror the spiral patterns of creation and to draw one into reflection, contemplation, or prayer.

It is a singular path that leads the participant to the centre and then back out again.

Walking a labyrinth can be a meditative act, a metaphor for life’s journey.

Several religious traditions — Christian, Aboriginal, Eastern — have some form of walking meditation.

The Maltese Labyrinth is open to all; please enjoy walking it at your own pace.”

And the Iona Building, aka The Castle, seen here as the Stone Edifice immediately north of the Labyrinth, is no longer the Vancouver School of Theology, rather, it’s now home to the Vancouver School of Economics.

Here’s background on that:

“As announced today [ January 7 2014 ], the Vancouver School of Economics will move in 2015 a few hundred metres to the Iona Building.

A map is here (look for the red arrow near the top), and Google streetview is here.

The Vancouver Sun story about this transaction is here.

This is a very exciting development! Below is some information about the Iona Building.

The Iona Building is currently home to the Vancouver School of Theology.

The VST and its predecessor institutions have inhabited the Iona Building since its construction in 1927.

The VST is affiliated with UBC, but is independent.

UBC has agreed to buy out the remaining 912 years on the 999 year lease and purchase the building.  

The Vancouver School of Economics will move in August 2015, after some renovations.

Here is a flickr stream with more pictures.”

So, here we have a collision, an overlapping venn diagram moment where three different parts of my life, three different projects in my life, meet.

This Labyrinth, The School of Theology which built this Labyrinth, and the Vancouver School of Economics which now occupies the now former VST Building and who kept the Labyrinth Information signage on its outside wall mirrors my City of Labyrinths Project, my 30 Masjids in 30 Days of Ramadan Project, and my Islamic Finance career.

Maybe I need to return and walk this Maltese Labyrinth a few more times.

Now that I Finally know where it is.

This entry was posted in Labyrinth Walks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.