The terms maze and labyrinth are often used interchangeably, but they are two quite distinct entities. Wikipedia offers this definition:
In colloquial English labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single, non-branching path, which leads to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous through-route to the center and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.
When RailGuy and I were driving along the street that parallels the river in Morrisburg, I noticed that the Lakeshore Drive United Church had a small plaque mounted near the sidewalk. The sign reads “Lakeshore Labyrinth”. Intrigued, we stopped to investigate.
The church itself is a lovely structure. It was built in 1880 by the Methodist Church of Canada. It became a United Church at the time of the Church Union in 1925. It is constructed of brick, with cut stone dressings, following a Gothic design. The east spire, on the left, was destroyed by a lightening strike in 1964 and later reconstructed.
Following the path around to the rear of the church, we found the labyrinth laid out before a sparkling view of the St. Lawrence River. The setting is very tranquil and inviting.
The modern labyrinth can be thought of as a pilgrimage. It symbolizes the difficulties we experience as we journey through life. Following the path to the centre offers a meditative experience.
A cross is at the centre of this labyrinth. A plaque at the rear of the church indicates that the Lakeshore Labyrinth was a memorial project in recognition of a legacy from Ross Hummell, with support from his brothers and sisters, and donations from local construction firms. It was dedicated in June of 2007.
The Labyrinth Society has an online locator for labyrinths around the world.