Avtar Gosal still has the original cheque he gave to Arthur Erickson to design the Ross Street Sikh Temple in South Vancouver.
The cheque, made out to Erickson Massey Architects for the sum of $10,000, is surprisingly crisp and despite its date — March 21, 1969 — looks as though it was just torn from a chequebook.
“He was a wonderful man,” said Gosal yesterday, of the Vancouver architect who died two weeks ago. “Once we met him, we thought we’d found a genius.”
The Ross Street Temple with its distinctive roof of five stacked offset squares and wire dome was one of Erickson’s early works.
Temple pioneers, along with Erickson’s nephew, colleagues and politicians gathered yesterday for a special service for the legendary architect.
Gosal, secretary of the Khalsa Diwan building committee for the temple, said Erickson made a special trip to India to study domes.
“It showed he really loved our community,” Gosal said. “Who would go? He could research here. He could get pictures here.”
Gurdail Sangra, another of the temple’s pioneers, said Erickson’s vision for the temple was a “white lily coming out of a pond.”
Jagag Singh Uppal, who negotiated the purchase of the two-and-a-half acre lot ($75,000 in the mid-60s), said Erickson’s design also called for a moat, or sarovar, around the outside of the temple, but it was never completed.