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An inside look at a local Masonic Lodge as Freemasons celebrate 300 years

NAPANEE – At first glance this building on Bridge Street in Napanee may look like a church but don’t let the stained glass windows fool you — it’s a Masonic Lodge and members say all religions and walks of life are welcome here. While some believe Freemasons are part of a so-called secret society — many members want to dispel that rumour. “We wear rings and Bumper stickers and all that and make no secret that we’re masons.” Ian Troyer has been a member here at the Prince of Wales lodge for about 20 years and he says it runs in his family. Ian Troyer/Past Master: “My great grandfather, my great uncle and my dad. So that makes me kind of a fourth generation Mason. It was kind of inevitable.” Troyer is a Past Master — a title of honour among Freemasons, an elected member that oversees of the lodge for one year. The main themes — brotherly love, relief and truth. Troyer: “Brotherly love is how we deal with each other, relief is how we deal with the rest of the world from a charity point of view and truth is how you see yourself and live your life.” This year Freemasons around the world are celebrating a huge milestone — as the first recorded meeting of a Masonic Lodge dates back to 1717 — 300 years ago. While it started in England, it came to Canada and eventually Ontario only a few decades later — and grew from there. Doug Scott/Member: “There are about 14 thousand members in Ontario, approximately 12 lodges in 40 or so districts.” Heather Senoran/Videographer: “To commemorate the 300th anniversary the Grand Maser of Ontario is encouraging all lodges across the province to host an open house on June 3rd of this year. And that’s exactly what members here at the Prince of Wales Lodge plan to do.” During the open house the public can learn all about the history of the ancient brotherhood, which boasts past members including Kingston’s own Sir John A Macdonald.While the group does meet in private, and yes, they even have a secret handshake — these Mason’s say the Freemason life is all about forming deep connections to each other and the community. Scott: “One of the famous sayings of Freemasonery is that we take good men and we make them better.”

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