Tom Canada was an important figure in Bloomington's business and religious communities. He was a developer, home builder and preservationist, and donated much of the land that is today used for Buddhist temples.
Canada was known for unusual ventures such as alternative energy-efficient heating/cooling systems and an underground mushroom-growing venture in Utah.
Canada became intrigued by Tibetan Buddhism in 1970 on a trip to Dharamsala, India, where he met the Dalai Lama. He and his wife Kathy Canada donated the land on Snoddy Road for the Tibetan Cultural Center. Canada also donated 3 acres for construction of the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the United States — Dagom Geden Tensung Ling.
An anti-war and PCB activist, Canada in 1991 attempted to get on the ballot as a candidate for mayor of Bloomington, but he was not allowed to run because he lived 1,000 feet outside the city limits.
The family later fell on hard times, and Canada was twice charged with petty thievery. He served a short sentence and later moved to Florida.