Freemasonry in Banff, Alberta or What you find on a Skiing Holiday

In January, wee Susie White was left at home with Gran and Granda and the rest of the family – Iain, Gail, Cameron and Kirsty – travelled to the Canadian Rockies to ski at Banff Alberta.  It was a Iainski01wonderful experience, skiing in perfect conditions and on blemish free powdery snow over 7,000 feet above sea level.   Banff, now with a population of over 8,000, was first settled in the 1880s, after the transcontinental railway was built through the Bow Valley. In 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway workers stumbled upon a series of natural hot springs on the side of Sulphur Mountain. In 1885, Canada began promoting the area as an international resort and spa as a way to support the new railway. The area was named Banff in 1884 by George Stephen, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, recalling his birthplace in Banff, Scotland. The Canadian Pacific built a series of grand hotels along the railway line and advertised the  as an international tourist resort.

In between taking chairlifts up the mountains and then whizzing down beautifully groomed ski trails between huge pine, fir and spruce trees we did find a little bit of time to explore in town of Banff. I looked across the road on Caribou Street and saw a largeIainski02 square and compasses sitting in a snowy garden.  It was the temple of the Cascade Lodge No 5, named after the great mountain that towers over the main street in the town and dominates the skyline of the surrounding area.

The Lodge was instituted in 1888, and has been meeting since then.  Originally located in Anthracite (a small mining town between Banff and Canmore) the Lodge was known as Cascade Lodge No 42 of the Grand Registry of Manitoba (Alberta not yet a province).  The Lodge moved to Banff from 1892 until 1897 when it returned to Anthracite.  In the early days of the Lodge, meetings were often held in different locations amongst the surrounding mountains.  One such meeting was held in 1901 at Tunnel Mountain.

Iainski03From 1901 to 1905, the population of Anthracite all but disappeared and in 1905 the Lodge relocated to Banff.  On October 12, 1905, the last meeting of Cascade Lodge No 42 was held and on November 23, 1905, the first meeting of Cascade Lodge No 5 of the Grand Lodge of Alberta was held. 

The present Lodge was constructed in 1924 and was first used in February 1925.  It was designed by architect James A. MacDonald of Calgary and built by Arthur Unwin of Banff.  It has been in use as a Masonic Lodge for over 90 years.

Many of Banff's most notable citizens have served as the Worshipful Master of the Lodge since it was chartered in 1888 (Grand Lodge of Manitoba 1888 - 1905; Grand Lodge of Alberta 1905 – present). Affiliated organizations associated with the Lodge have been the Order of the Eastern Star, Royal Arch Masons and the Banff Shrine Club.  The Lodge was the center of social activity in the town for many years being that most of the hotels would close for the winter season and it was one of the largest buildings in town.

The Lodge meets on the second Thursday of each month, except July and August.


I was very unlucky because the Lodge meeting was the evening when we flew into Calgary and the Annual Installation was 2 days after we left for home.  However, I was able to go into the Lodge because it operates as a Museum and the following are views of the upper room, looking East and below looking West.



In conversation with the volunteer Curator, a retired electrical engineer, I learned that the Lodge had donated the building to another local charitable organisation.  I discovered the following, 0n-line when I did a wee bit of research.

Cascade Lodge No. 5, known locally as the Masonic Hall, is one of Banff’s many heritage resources and come April 1 it will be under new ownership.

Banff Masons are donating the lodge and the lease for the triangular piece of property it sits on bounded by Lynx, Bear and Caribou Streets, to the Peter and Catharine Whyte Foundation, effective Tuesday (April 1).

Brett Oland, the foundation’s executive director, said adding the lodge to its inventory of heritage properties will free the Banff Masons to focus on what they do best, which is community support, and at the same time it provides the foundation with a hall that has strong historical value that can be used for the foundation’s growing event-based business.

Along with taking ownership of the Masonic Hall, the Peter and Catharine Whyte Foundation is also planning to sell one of its heritage residential properties, Mary Schäffer’s home, Tarry-A-While.

The donation of the lodge and the sale of Tarry-A-While will allow the foundation to better meet its core mandate, which is operating the Whyte Museum, Oland said in a recent interview with the Outlook.

“With the recent acquisition of the culturally significant Cascade Lodge No. 5, the Whyte Museum continues its stewardship of the historical fabric of the Bow Valley. Not only will the Lodge now have a secure and enduring future, it will also give the Whyte a dedicated space in which to conduct expanded programs, meetings and special events to showcase its impressive collection of artifacts and fine art,” Oland wrote in a follow-up email.


Visit to Penang (Malaysia) January 2016 – Alistair Glenny PM

We are grateful to Bro Alistair for supplying me this report on his Masonic exploits during his recent holiday to visit his daughter and her family in the Far East.

Once more whilst visiting family in Penang, I visited 3 of the Masonic Lodges which meet in the Masonic Temple in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.
As reported last year the Temple has been completely refurbished, with particular care, and attention to detail, being given to the actual Lodge Meeting rooms on the upper floor. The photograph below clearly shows the results achieved thus far with a floor surface and “carpet” in material more in keeping with climatic conditions. Individual Air Conditioning units now ensure a pleasant ambience and whilst removing the old ventilation system above a false ceiling, a beautiful arched roof was discovered and has since been renovated, forming an integral part of Lodge décor.

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I visited The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge No 1555 EC and witnessed an excellent Entering of candidate Mr Lim Choo Jim (known to all as Jim Lim!!) The ceremonial was very similar to our own 1st Degree and at the close of the meeting, fraternal greetings were exchanged with Worshipful Master Bro Suckbeer Singh, office bearers and brethren from all at Greenock Kilwinning NoX11 SC.

Witnessing the degree of Entering of his friend Jim Lim, was Right Worshipful Master Alan Lee Yan Chuan of Lodge Angus No 1529 SC from the city of Ipoh the capital city of Perak in peninsular Malaysia. Lodge Angus was formed in 1957 and like Lodge Scotia 1003, forms part of The District Grand Lodge of The Middle East.

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(and no one had to stay behind and roll up the carpet!!!!!!!!!!!)

Along with my Son in Law, Simon Gray, from Lodge Firth of Clyde Gourock No 626 I visited Lodge Shamrock in Penang No 938 IC and whilst there was no degree, we were enlightened by a lecture titled “The Legend of Hiram Abiff” delivered by Bro Dr Prem Kumar Chandrasekaran of the Lodge. Fraternal greetings were exchanged on behalf of our respective Lodges with RWM John Foster Slater and brethern of Lodge Shamrock.

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Again, accompanied by Simon, we had the delight and priviledge to visit Lodge Scotia 1003 SC, its RWM, Bro Raymond Herbert Godfroy, and Brethern to witness the passing to the Second, Square, or Fellowcraft Degree of Brother Stanley J Gibb who comes from Peterhead in Scotland and now lives in Penang.

The cereTT 80 009monial work was excellent and a fine reflection on all paticipants. Visitors that evening included a large and influencial deputation from The District Grand Lodge of The Middle East headed by their Substitute District Grand Master Bro Paul Manecksha and included many respected office bearers one being Bro Dr Daljit Singh Nagresh Hon SG Warden, RWIPDGM of the Middle East and PM of lodge Scotia.

The large turnout from District Grand Lodge, who were all well impressed by the Temple rennovations, entered the Lodge accompanied by this attractive Standard Lodge attendance that evening was over 60 which highlights the esteem with which Scotia is held, being of course the driving force behind the upgrade of the building.

Great exitement exists at present as Penang will host a District Grand Lodge conference later this month (February 2016) and everyone is eagerly looking forward to a delegation attending from Grand Lodge of Scotland including our Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason Charles I R Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont.

In thanking RWM Raymond Godfroy and Brethren of Lodge Scotia, I said I was about to depart Penang in a few days leaving temperatures of 33 degrees to around 3 but that the warmth and cordiallity of their welcome would stay with me. Fraternal greetings were extended from all at Lodges X11 and 626 with RWM Godfroy and Brethren.

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The Goalie joins the Speakers!

TT 80 003The 2016 Charity Burns Supper will be in the Town Hall on Saturday 27th February at 630 for 7pm. Bro Alasdair Hendry of Lodge Cumberland Kilwinning No 217 will propose the Immortal Memory. The Toast to the Lassies will be from Bro Duncan McFadyen PM of the Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No 4. A late addition to the speakers’ list in Andy Goram, known in the world of football and beyond as ‘The Goalie’.

The 2015 event was a huge success and over £6,000 was raised on the evening for local charities. We are grateful to all of our supporters and look forward to seeing you again next year. The Burns Supper is the foundation of our charitable work and your support is vital to its success.

Tickets are £20 and they can be reserved with Bros Alan Beck IPM and Iain White PM. Table reservations are also welcome.

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Meeting on Tuesday 5th January 2016

TT 80 002The brethren present were treated to a comprehensive history of freemasonry in the Province of Renfrewshire West, delivered by Bro Alex Galbraith PM SM. We heard of the fact that Scotland is acknowledged to be the cradle of freemasonry all over the world with the exception of one country which shall remain nameless! While it is easy to take stories and myths as facts, The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary’s Chapel) No 1 has the oldest minute in the world, dating from 1599.

Of course, freemasonry in this area began in 1728 with No XII and the growth started there. Alex explained how No XII was a self-constituted lodge and has had a variety of numbers: No 15 in 1757, was still No 15 in 1809, became 12 in 1816, 11 in 1822 and went back to 12 in 1826 where it has remained ever since. Alex delved deep into the Port Glasgow numbering controversy and raised a few discussion points especially for RWM Bro Willie Lawson of Lodge Doric Kilwinning No 68 who was present! We heard from Alex of Lodges now dormant like Lodge Mountstuart Kilwinning, Lodge St Andrew Crawfurdsdyke and, of recent memory, Lodge International.

In concluding the fascinating journey through freemasonry in this area, Bro Alex reminded us that it’s the future that counts now!
Such was the success of the presentation that many of the brethren present urged Bro Alex to publish his Lecture as a pamphlet. He was given a resounding Vote of Thanks.

Visit to Lodge Renfrew County Kilwinning No 370 - January 2016

Thursday 14th January 2016

Our Deputation of 11 brethren was warmly received by RWM Bro. Andrew Thomson and the brethren of 370. On receiving the Gavel from RWM Andrew Thomson, RWM Bro. Capt. Allan MacFeate then commenced the business of the evening. You could have heard a pin drop and that was how it was throughout the ceremony. The No.XII Degree Team was in fine form and a truly excellent presentation of the Second Degree was carried out much to the appreciation of the brethren who were in attendance.

The Degree Team was
Obligation RWM Bro. Capt. Allan I MacFeate
Secrets Bro. Alan D Beck IPM
Apron Bro Allan T Glen WSW
Working Tools Bro Bob Bain PM
Tracing Board Bro Ken C MacDougall PM
Charge Bro Allan T Glen WSW

Before returning the Gavel Bro. MacFeate expressed his delight for No.XII to have had the honour to have conferred the Passing at No.370 and looked forward to RWM Bro. Andrew Thomson leading a deputation from 370 to visit at Greenock in the not too distant future and thereby further cement the special relationship between the Lodges. RWM Bro. Thomson then thanked the Brethren of No.XII for a wonderful degree which he assured was enjoyed by all. Fraternal greetings were then exchanged. A most enjoyable Harmony then followed where we were well fed and watered by our guests.

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Back: Bros. Paul Stevenson IG Fraser Cameron Bob Crossan WJW Campbell Snoddy JD Alex Gray David D Stevenson Treasurer Allan T Glen WSW Alan D Beck IPM
Front: Bros. Andrew Thomson RWM (370) Bro Capt. Allan I MacFeate RWM Bro Robert J Bain PM Chaplain Bro Kenneth C MacDougall PM Secretary

No XII and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Renfrewshire West

No XII and the Provincial Grand Lodge have been closely linked back through the years since its inception. Many members of No XII have been Provincial Grand Masters with a whole succession of the Shaw Stewart Baronets featuring prominently, ending with Sir Guy who served from 1943 – 1967. Since then Bros James Hendry (1972-73) and David M Leith (1973-79) from No XII served.

At the recent installation of elective office bearers, Past Masters of No XII took the following offices: Alan D Beck Architect, Robert J Bain Bard, Alistair Glenny Director of Music and Kenneth K Morrison Organist. In addition, Past Masters Alex More and Iain White are Past Provincial Senior Grand Wardens.

Bro Gordon Dickie

Bro. Gordon Hamilton Dickie passed to The Grand Lodge Above very suddenly at home on Tuesday 5th January. Initiated on 17th March 1981, passed on 7th April1981 and raised on 7th September 1981, we had not seen Gordon in the Lodge for a while but he had been a very enthusiastic member of No XII. He was an office bearer, a floor worker and served as Depute Master to Bro Peter R Sinclair when he was RWM between 1987 and 1989. Gordon was a computer programmer with IBM at the Greenock site and took early retirement some time ago.
In his retirement, he was very active in Cathcart Old Parish Church and, being the kind and generous person that he was spent time looking after elderly relatives. Gordon’s generosity will ensure that he should always be remembered in No XII because the solid silver pencil that is part of our Third Degree Working Tools was presented to the Lodge by him Gordon is survived by his wife Brenda to whom our thoughts and prayers go out at this sad time.


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