A History of NWMP Lodge No. 11

NWMP banner web 
 The banner of NWMP Lodge #11,
held aloft by 
W Bro. Don Ford

Origins

Some three months before the N.W.M.P. barracks were set up in Regina, the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, which had jurisdiction over all the North-West Territories, granted a dispensation for the formation of a Masonic Lodge in Regina; this was Wascana No. 23. Among the members of the N.W.M.P. some were Masons; several affiliated with the new Lodge and others were initiated into it. By 1894 there were some 14 Masons at the Barracks. Following the suppression of the second Riel Rebellion in 1885 and the performance of other duties which are now history, much thought was given to the formation of a Lodge in which the first qualification should be membership in the N.W.M.P

After careful preparations, the new Lodge was formed on October 1, 1894. It was known as N.W.M.P. Lodge No. 61, G.R.M.

In a large body of men such as the N.W.M. Police, whose members are scattered over such a vast extent of territory, and who are gathered from almost every civilized country in the world, a certain percentage of Masons are bound to be found.

A Mounted Policeman's duties are various, and his continued place of residence (with a few exceptions) uncertain. Principally for this latter reason it was thought that a Lodge at Headquarters, Regina, would relieve a Brother from the necessity of continually changing his allegiance from one Lodge to another, and so be the means of concentrating his energies in a more systematic manner towards the good of the Craft in general.

original altar nwmp11
 The original altar used at the Regina Barracks.

Furnishings

The original altar, pedestals and columns were made at the Regina Barracks by Constable Phillips for $15.00, and were painted white and trimmed with the N.W.M.P. colors of blue and gold. The pillars were later grained golden oak and may now be seen in the Red Room of the Regina Masonic Temple. The Volume of the Sacred Law was presented to the Lodge in 1894 by Bro. Louis Castellain.

The first Worshipful Master's regalia was given by Bro. S/Sgt J. Martin in 1895. The original sword was presented by inspector Church who originated the famed Musical Ride; his father had carried the sword in the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. In the Blue Room of the Regina Temple may be seen the original ashlars, hewn by the first members when the N.W.M.P. Lodge was formed. It was not until 1924, however, that the crest of the North West Mounted Police was officially adopted by the Lodge; permission to use it was granted by the acting Minister of Justice, the late Hon. Ernest A. Lapointe.

Transition

With the huge Dominion Government immigration policy starting in 1896, the discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1898, and the Boer War, members of the N.W.M.P. were exceedingly busy serving in all spheres and assuming manifold responsibilities. The number of members at Regina H.Q. became comparatively small, and of these only two Masons remained to keep the Lodge alive. The Grand Master of Manitoba moved to arrest the Charter. But the brethren wished to save the Charter, and to do so relaxed the custom whereby only police members could enroll in the Lodge.

 Thus in 1906 it was decided to hold future meetings in the City of Regina. D.D.G.M. Isaac Forbes, himself a member of the Force, reported to Grand Lodge in the following words:

N.W.M.P. Lodge, No. 11 (G.R.S.), Regina. I paid my official visit to this Lodge on May 2nd. This being my own Lodge, and attending regularly myself, I take a great interest in it. Owing to the fact that all the members belonged to the N.W.M.Police, and that the majority of them had been transferred to different places, leaving the Lodge short of members with whom to hold meetings, for the last four years it has been going down hill. I am pleased to say that this is now a thing of the past. The removal of the place of meeting from the N.W.M.P. Barracks to the City of Regina, which took place on October 4th, 1906, has proved to be of great welfare to Masonry. Since the meeting on October 4th the Lodge has increased from sixteen to fifty. The Lodge is now N.W.M.Police in name only, but the name will be a landmark when the Police have gone from the Province of Saskatchewan.
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