|Greetings from Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
|Still strong after 40 years
Fort McMurray is part of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo - a thriving municipality of 90,000 in the Northeastern corner of Alberta, Canada.
It is the Oilsands Capital of the World- supporting three large oilsands plants which supply 16% of Canada's oil.
Fort McMurray was originally founded as a Hudson's Bay trading post in 1870 and has endured a number of "boom and bust" cycles before stability and growth arrived in the 1960s.
These "boom and busts" resulted in many people coming and going and among those were Masons and this resulted in many false starts for a Lodge in Fort McMurray.
The First Attempt
The first recorded meeting of the Craft in Fort McMurray took place on February 15, 1926
at the home of R.W.Bro. Robert MacLeod and was attended by 9 Freemasons. The purpose of
the meeting was to establish a Masonic Lodge in the isolated town of Fort McMurray which had a population of about 300. A second meeting was
held one week later where the members decided upon the Rite to be practiced. However,
with the closure of the local salt mine, which was the major employer, no further meetings
occurred as the Brethren moved away to seek employment elsewhere.
The Next Attempts
Again in 1946, another attempt at establishing a Masonic Lodge was launched. A number
of meetings were held at the home of local Brethren. Unfortunately, the failure and closing of
the local bitumen plant ended this attempt. Another attempt was made about 10 years later
but ended with the same result.
Success at Last!
In the fall of 1966, the 4th attempt was launched. About 20 local Brethren met at the Peter
Pond Hotel and formed the Ashlar Club with the purpose of establishing a Masonic Lodge.
The construction and start-up of the Great Canadian Oilsands Plant aided their efforts and,
by 1968, the Ashlar Club, which had a stable membership of 32 Brethren, submitted their Petition
to the Grand Lodge of Alberta. The Petition was approved and, on August 23, 1968, the Grand
Lodge granted Dispensation for Fort McMurray No. 195. The Lodge was consecrated on
September 20, 1969. Fort McMurray No. 195 has growth dramatically to about 180 members and is the second largest Lodge in Alberta
Today, the strength of the "Masonic Family" is over 200. In addition to involvement in Fort McMurray No. 195, Masons have created the following additional venues for involvement.
Fort McMurray Chapter No. 137 of the Order of the Eastern Star (1975)
The Fort McMurray Shrine Club of Al Shamal Temple (1976)
The Fort McMurray Ashlar Building Club (1989)
In December 1997, 7 local Masons formed the Millennium Club for the purpose of forming a second Masonic Lodge in Fort McMurray. The Millennium Club grew to 37 members and submitted their Petition to the Grand Master on April 28, 1998. The Grand Master signed the Petition on May 16th in Edmonton and Meeting of Institution was held on September 5, 1998 in Fort McMurray. Millennium No. 2000 was Constituted and Consecrated on September 4, 1999 in Fort McMurray by the Grand Lodge of Alberta and has now grown to over 80 members.
In 1999, energetic local Royal Arch Masons formed the Hangingstone Club for the purposes of establishing a Chapter in Fort McMurray. Over the months, the Club grew to 25 and Hangingstone Chapter was granted a Dispensation in April 2000 and it's Charter in May 2001. The Hangingstone Chapter has grown to over 40 members.
In May 2000, local members of the Daughters of the Nile were successful in obtaining permission to establish the Aurora Nile Club.
In May 2008, Brethren successfully petitioned Grand Lodge to form a York Rite Lodge in Fort McMurray named Aurora Borealis. It received its Dispensation in May 2008 and will be Consecrated on August 29, 2009
Freemasonry is alive and flourishing in Fort McMurray