It’s not every day you get the chance to visit a Masonic Temple, but the Weston lodge is hosting an open house this Sunday, during the Santa Claus Parade.
Behind the unprepossessing exterior, the building is gorgeous, and it is certainly worth a visit, both for its architecture, and—if you’re like me—the chance to rid yourself of misconceptions.
The Masons are a fraternal organization devoted to self improvement, Andrew Turk, a spokesperson, told me. “We take good men and make good men better”, he said, and used—not for the first time, I’m sure—the analogy of a rough stone. “Instead of cutting stones, we are cutting and carving our selves. We talk a lot about cutting off our excesses.”
In the main hall, in front of the highest ceremonial chairs, are two square rocks, called ashlars. One is rough hewn, representing men when they enter. The other is smoothed and square, representing the perfection that masonry hopes to provide.
The Masons are likely the oldest organization in Weston; “We have been in Weston since 1874, and the first [meeting] place was in Eagle House. In 1924, they bought this building”, Turk told me. The Upper Canadian heritage is still obvious; there are several Union Jacks and portraits of royalty.
In 2017, though, an arsonist nearly destroyed the building. The interior and furnishings were seriously damaged, and it was only because a member happened to be in the basement at the time of the attack that the fire was stopped.
About 120 masons are part of the Humber Lodge, and you won’t be invited by whisper, wearing a bowler and Mac, sitting on a cold bench by the banks of the Thames.