FORT MCMURRAY, CANADA, May 25, 2023 (Fort McMurray Today): The opening of the Sanatan Mandir Cultural Center was celebrated with a three-day ceremony of prayers, blessings, dancing and feasting. The ceremony also ends 13 years of fundraising and volunteer work to build the temple, which was done mostly by the faithful. In a city filled with engineers and trades people, there was no shortage of volunteers. Local Hindus gave more than 200,000 volunteer hours building the temple. Kalpesh Patel, president of the Sanatan Mandir Cultural Society, said this volunteer work would have cost $2 million if it was outsourced to a private company. The community also raised $8-million for construction. “This is a dream come true,” said Chandresh Patel, who does community outreach for the temple. “A lot of people have put their blood, sweat and money into this center. Until now there was no place like this. People are literally crying out of joy.”

HPI note: Fort McMurray is in the middle of Alberta’s Athabasca oil sands, the largest deposit of “crude bitumen” in the world.