Travel – Visit – Have Some Fun
One of the great privileges of Freemasonry is the ability to travel and visit Brethren in other Lodges through the world. We often think we have to travel great distances to accomplish this, forgetting the visiting starts right here in our own back yard. A lot of fun can be found fairly close to home – just ask the Brethren of Lochearn 151 who travel to Drayton Valley once a year for a Crazy Tie Night or the Brethren who gather in Red Deer for Burns and Moose Suppers and of course our own on-going District Education Challenge.
I’d like to share a bit of history of ways Alberta Masons have tried to increase inter-lodge visitations
– Copied from Alberta Freemasonry – 100 Years (unpublished)
Historically, Masons everywhere have developed or created friendly novelty excuses for increasing inter-Lodge visitations.
THE TRAVELING SQUARE
“It was my privilege to launch what is known as “The Calgary Lodge Traveling Square” on March 7th last at a Communication of Calgary Lodge No. 23. This I did by applicable Ceremony at the request of Brother Niven Jackson, who contributed the square to his Lodge as a gesture of respect to the memory of M.W. Bro. T. Fred English, P.G.M., the first Master of Calgary Lodge, and also in the interest of Inter-Lodge visitation. This beautifully engraved Square is practically identical in kind and purpose with the famous Ionic Lodge Square of the Grand Jurisdiction of Manitoba, which after several times traveling to the Lodges of that Grand Territory since 1909, is now traveling to the Lodges of the Grand Jurisdiction of Minnesota. To Brother Niven Jackson, the brethren of his Lodge extend hearty thanks, which I also extend on behalf of our other Constituent Lodges for this medium of fostering general Inter-Lodge visitation. Through the kindness of Invitation extended to me by W. Bro. W. Les Ashton, Master of Calgary Lodge No. 23, I, on May 10th, accompanied a large delegation of Calgary Brethren to Cascade Lodge No. 5, Banff, on the first trip of the Traveling Square. The occasion at Cascade Lodge being an outstanding one of fraternal goodwill, is a good omen of the many similar events enjoyed by brethren throughout the Grand Jurisdiction.”
[From: 1947 Address of Arthur G.R. Bond, G.M.]
THE CALGARY LODGE TRAVELING SQUARE
In March of 1947 M.W. Bro. Arthur Bond presented Calgary Lodge, on behalf of Bro. Niven Jackson, and in memory of M.W. Bro. T.F. English, a Traveling Square to be called the “Calgary Lodge Traveling Square”. This Square was silver and suitably engraved.
On May 10, about fifty members of Calgary Lodge escorted the “Traveling Square” on its first journey to Cascade Lodge No. 5 in Banff.
This “Square” included a small volume designed to accompany it and record its travels, and was sent out by Calgary Lodge No. 23 to commemorate the memory of the late M.W. Bro. English, P.G.M.
The late Bro. English paid his first visit to Eureka on Feb 18, 1897 and, on March 25, 1897, he initiated and passed R.W. Bro. Puffer. He was also present at Eureka’s 40th Anniversary.
This Square was brought to Eureka Lodge by Kitchener members, and Lacombe arranged to present it on Aug. 19, 1948 to Ionic Lodge in Alix.
THE “TRAVELING SQUARE”
This editor has located a draft presentation letter among the records of Pembina Lodge No. 126. The records of Barrhead Lodge indicate that on February 12th, 1971 fifteen members of Pembina Lodge traveled to Barrhead to deliver to them their “Traveling Square” and to present a short Masonic paper to the audience.
It is printed in the notes that:
“This is the 120th time this square has been presented, well into the second volume of the book accompanying it. Without this square it is possible that this visit may not have taken place.”
The recital closed with:
“We hope you will carry this traveling square to another lodge of your choice soon, that the brethren of that lodge may enjoy the fellowship as we have done this evening.”
THE “VISITING TOKEN”
Connaught Lodge No. 69 at Viking had developed the spirit of visiting among Lodges to a remarkable extent.
In 1933 they designed a book as a “Visiting Token”. In this, the members of a Lodge making an “official visit”, as well as the hosts, record their names in the book. The Token, carried from Lodge to Lodge, serves as an incentive to fraternize and the results, during the many years it was in use, were very satisfying. This “Visiting Token” is a feature of unusual interest. Its travels indicate a success beyond expectation. For example, a fortunate journey to England by the Grand Master of Alberta, M.W. Bro. G.M. Blackstock, in July 1933, placed the “Visiting Token” before the United Grand Lodge of England, where the autographs of prominent officials from every corner of the world were secured. This was when H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught and Strathern K.G., Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge England, dedicated The Masonic Peace Memorial Temple in London. There are signatures in this “Token” of several hundred Masons from around the world.
In April of 1975, while Bro. John Daugherty was on a trip to the Isle of Man, he took the “Visiting Token” with him and attended Lord Raglan Lodge No. 3685 at Douglas where he obtained the signatures of fifty-two Brethren.
In March 1981 Bros. Place and Dorward visited Australia and attended a Lodge in Sydney, securing the signatures of all the officers, members, and visitors to the Lodge.
Similarly, a 1985 trip to Scotland by two other members resulted in a Lodge visitation and the securing of signatures of those present.
“THE TRAVELING SQUEAL”
On April 9th, 1964, thirteen members of Calgary No. 23 chartered a bus and headed out for a surprise visit to Nanton Lodge No. 17. With them, the members had taken a six week old piglet with a pink bow. The piglet was presented as “The Traveling Squeal”. The piglet was auctioned off several times and raised $90.00 for the Nanton Lodge Renovation Fund.
On November 20, 1964 the members of Nanton Lodge returned the favour and presented Calgary No. 23 with a huge ham.
THE TRAVELING GAVEL – Mountain View Lodge No. 16
Another “Traveling Gavel”, instituted by Mountain View Lodge No. 16 of Olds in 1961 “is again on the way around the District (District 4), and is promoting fraternal visitations.” reported the D.D.G.M., in 1962 Proceedings.
TRAVELING GAVEL – Charity Lodge No. 67
In 1964, Bro. Max Freed, of Charity Lodge No. 67 of Lethbridge introduced the idea of a “Traveling Gavel” to encourage inter-Lodge visitation. Teams from the Lodge were sent out to all the Lodges in Districts 7 and 11, and all but two of the Lodges agreed to participate. W. Bro. James Logan crafted a king-size gavel and, with the instructions in the register, the members of Charity Lodge visited Sharon Lodge No. 157 in Picture Butte to start the gavel on its way. The gavel is supposed to be moved within two months or a penalty is assessed, with the money going to the Masonic Higher Education Bursary. The Gavel showed up now and then, but some Lodges were known to put it in a cupboard and forget all about it for months.
This “Traveling Gavel”, started in 1964, was returned to Charity Lodge in 1991 with its History Journal. Charity Lodge then retired this Gavel from service.
THE TUSCAN TRAVELING GAVEL
This “Traveling Gavel” originated in Vancouver and had been across the U.S.A. and returned to Vancouver when, in 1972, they sent it across Canada. In Feb. 1972 Macleod Lodge No. 3 made a surprise visit on Charity Lodge, presenting it to them. Charity Lodge moved it to another Lethbridge Lodge and, after it had been to the four Lethbridge Lodges, the four Worshipful Masters agreed to charter a bus and take the “Traveling Gavel” to Mizpah Lodge No. 35 at Medicine Hat.
MYSTIC TIE LODGE NO. 188 TRAVELING GAVEL
On April 25th, 1970 members of Mystic Tie Lodge No. 213 of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, together with members of Imperial Lodge No. 60, also of Saskatoon, came to visit Mystic Tie Lodge No. 188 at the Highlands Masonic Temple, and together they conferred the Master Mason Degree on Bros. C.E. Jones and J.D. Shehyn. A “Traveling Gavel” was afterwards forwarded to Saskatoon together with a scroll commemorating the event. This gavel has been traveled for thirteen years and finally found its way to Wainwright and into the possession of Buffalo Lodge No. 44. On May 17, 1983 three carloads of Mystic Tie brethren traveled to Wainwright where they intended to see their long lost “Traveling Gavel” which had turned up recently at Buffalo Lodge. Unfortunately, the papers which were to accompany this Gavel were not with it, and the owners of the Gavel did not have a record of its travels.
There was a very interesting and enjoyable evening of communication and fraternal goodwill and fellowship with our friends in and around Wainwright.
A TRAVELING GAVEL FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY
Not all of the “Traveling Tools” which have arrived at Alberta Lodges have originated from within the Province.
In 1997 five members from Wetaskiwin Lodge No. 15 were visitors at Britannia’s June meeting. Their Worshipful. Master, W.Vro. Dennis Leicht, presented the Host Lodge with a Masonic “Traveling Gavel” which had originated in New South Wales, Australia. It was a finely crafted gavel constructed out of two colored woods; the white wood being American Oak and the brown wood being Australian Jarra. The record following this item indicated that this “Traveling Gavel” came to Canada in 1995, being presented to Gerald Webber, Grand Secretary, at Calgary, by a Past Master of Lodge Wyong No. 247, U.G.L. of N.S.W. Ponoka was the 10th Lodge recipient since its arrival in Alberta.
The scroll accompanying this traveling tool reads as follows:
HAVE GAVEL – WILL TRAVEL
Now this little Gavel has a tale to tell,
Listen carefully, and remember it well
For soon you must send it on its way
Its important message to convey.
This gift comes to us from Wyong Way,
From a traveling Brother from far away.
Its history we would like to share
Because this Gavel is rather rare.
It is constructed of pine wood;
The workmanship is really quite good.
It was once a part of a famous old tree,
That is why we’re sending it on to thee.
This tree was living when Christ was a boy;
Take care; it is our pride and joy.
If it could talk, and we wish it could,
Its story would be interesting and good.
Don’t keep it forever and a day
But soon send it on its merry way.
A couple hundred Lodges we hope to see
Listed inside and returned to me.
THE TRAVELING BOOT OF MIZPAH LODGE No. 35, MEDICINE HAT
“May your feet travel through difficulties and dangers to unite with ours.”
The Lodge Receiving this plaque is to ensure that it continues its journey to another lodge within 60 days or be returned to Mizpah Lodge No. 35.
The Receiving Lodge shall affix their Lodge name, number and date.
This “Traveling Boot” was started on its journey in May, 1985 and, by May 7th, 1997, had been received at sixteen Alberta Lodges, the last mentioned being Britannia Lodge No. 18 of Ponoka. Of interest is that Britannia’s Honorary Life Member, R.W. Bro Gerald Webber, Grand Secretary, was in attendance at their regular June meeting and volunteered to deliver this “Traveling Boot” to his home Lodge of Crossfield.
The District 19 “Galloping Gavel” was born on February 1st, 1974 for the purpose of encouraging visitations among the Brethren. Between January 2, 1974 and November 16, 1976 the Gavel changed hands 23 times. The gavel is somewhere out there to this day.
“TRAVELING DODO BIRD”
In 1979 Sherwood No. 183 made a surprise visit to Avon Glen 170 and presented them with Sherwood’s “Traveling Dodo Bird” to encourage visitations between Lodges.
In 1980 the “Dodo Bird” returned to Sherwood Lodge after visiting 15 Lodges.
QUANCE VISITATION TROPHY
In 1976 a Trophy was donated by R.W. Bro. P.M. Quance, D.D.G.M. of District No. 9 (1976/77) which was to be awarded annually at the District 9 Annual Meeting:
“For the Lodge with the best visitation record in District 9.”
1. The Lodge of the D.D.G.M. was not eligible.
2. The other Lodges to be judged will be rated according to Member miles traveled as compared to their membership.
3. D.D.G.M.’s decision is final.
The Trophy was presented for the years 1978 to Oct. 1990.
In 1982, a “Traveling Gavel Register Book” was prepared for accompanying the District 9 “Traveling Gavel”. The purpose of the Gavel was to increase lodge visitations. At the time of the preparation of the accompanying book, the Gavel had been circulating for some time. The book and Attendance Register had been prepared for presentation at the district meeting in Castor, October 20th, 1982.
R.W. Bro. Chinnery, P.D.D.G.M., of Coronation Lodge, visited Britannia Lodge in October, 1984 and presented this unusual ten pound “Traveling Gavel”. This gavel had been crafted of aluminum with a 30 inch hollow handle. The craftsman had been W. Brother Thieme, a welder and member of Apollo Lodge in Stettler. On November 7th, 1984 R.W. Bro. Jim Murdoch and a carload of Fidelity Brethren arranged a visit to a meeting at Britannia Lodge in Ponoka and presented the “Traveling Gavel”. Bro. Gordon Whitehouse presented a fine Masonic paper to the Ponoka Brethren. In accordance with the rules following this gavel, a Masonic paper was required to be presented with each delivery of the Gavel, which also must be circulated within District 9.
EDITOR’S NOTE: on December 6th, 1984 Bros. Carl Fuhr, Don Jardine, Art Roberts, and Bob Ross, all of the Ponoka Lodge, visited, and delivered this Traveling Gavel to Ionic-Landmark 45 at Alix. Their records indicated that no Masonic paper had been presented. This was the last known record on the whereabouts of “Thieme’s Traveling Gavel”.
THE INVITATIONAL GAVEL AND BLOCK
Lebanon Lodge No. 54 of Calgary attended Vulcan Lodge at its April 1993 meeting and presented the “Invitational Gavel and Block” to the Lodge.
TRAVELING LANTERN of Wetaskiwin Lodge No. 15
In 1984 Wetaskiwin Lodge No. 15 created a “Traveling Lantern”. The rules required that some Masonic Paper based on a topic depicted on the Lamp be given at the recipient Lodge. The rules also required that the receiving Lodge take the Lantern to another Lodge within thirty days of its Receipt.
This “Traveling Lantern” was delivered by Acme No. 60 to Cyprus No. 113 at their Feb. 14, 1984 meeting, with the presentation of a paper on “Faith”. The Lodge agreed that it would be delivered to Carbon Lodge on Feb. 28, 1984 together with a paper on “Landmarks of a Masonic Lodge”
In April, 1993 Vulcan had already been presented with a “Traveling Lantern”, and agreed that members would present it to Granite Lodge of Lethbridge in the same month.
The Traveling Lantern, presented by Symbol Lodge No. 93, was built by Bro. Perry Schopff (J.W.). It was made of hardwood ash and solid brass. A verse from the Bible inscribed on the front is:
“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” [Hebrews 13: 1 & 2]
On the back of the Lantern are engraved instructions for presenting:
“As soon as possible after receiving the Lantern, have an engraved plate made with the Traveling Lantern Lodge’s name, number, location and date visited. Light the Candle, read the verse on the front and read an address. It may be informative, interesting and/or humorous.”
Last instructions are to send the Lantern to Symbol Lodge in May 2016 for their Centennial Celebrations.
Carstairs Lodge had a case made for the Lantern by Bro. Glen Sollid (S.W.)”
R.W. Bro. Vic Ramsbottom [from: Gr. Lodge Bulletin, May 1992, p. 5]
“CHINOOKARCH HOT POTATO”
Started by R.W. Bro. Lorne Vaughan (67), D.D.G.M., Chinookarch District in 1997, it is a 40mm Bofers shell casing of the type used on Canadian warships and on land as anti-aircraft weaponry. It is enclosed in a frame and case made from Oak and Birch. AIM!
The “Chinookarch Hot Potato” started its journey at York Lodge No. 119 on September 23, 1997. Its purpose is to promote visiting between Lodges and, at the same time, add to the coffers of the Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund. It was delivered to Cascade Lodge No. 5 on October 14th, 1998 by Brethren of Carstairs Lodge No. 20. The Scotland visiting Brethren were present and a Fellowcraft Degree was conferred. R.W. Bro. Vic Ramsbottom presented a paper on “Symbols of the Fellowcraft Degree” and $128.61 was collected. Despite blowing snow, cold weather and warnings to stay off highways, there were a goodly number of visitors.
Some form of Masonic Research & Education must accompany the “Hot Potato” when presented to another Lodge (within 30 days). A minimum donation of $25.00 is required on presentation, or the donation of a “Loonie” from each brother present.
As at September, 1998 this unusual Traveling Gavel had been presented to Lodge Nos. 119, 3, 32, 33, 21, 20 and 5.
“The Traveling Gavel seems to bring out more Visitors as they vie to outdo one another and proudly display the Gavel within their own Lodge.” [1996 G.L. Proceedings]