Orillia's oldest Fraternity
The Orange Lodge in Orillia
Today, interest in the Lodge, by young men in their late twenties and mid thirties is on the increase, as rediscovery of the Orders principles and values are on the rise. In this area, there has been resurgence of patriotic males who are stirred by love of their country, their heritage, a desire for fraternal interaction, and are wanting to get involved in the community and contribute in charitable ventures.
"That I will steadily maintain the connection between Canada, the Mother Country, and all members of the Commonwealth beyond the seas, and be ever ready to resist all attempts to weaken British influence or dismember the Commonwealth of Nations."
Here in Orillia, we try to offer a balance between Lodge ritual, protocol, social activities and benefits of the Order. Taking part in Lodge activities is a large part of being a member but is not mandatory as we realize that there are people who for some reason or another cannot take part fully in our business and activities and may miss a few meetings. This being said, the Lodge will question a brother about his membership where absence to meetings and functions become an ongoing issue.
"I will do my utmost to support and maintain the Loyal Orange Association; observe and abide by its constitution and laws; obey all regular summonses, and pay all just dues, if in my power."
Unlike some other Orange Lodges, Harmony Loyal Orange Lodge is one of the few Lodges who have a regular Lodge meeting all twelve months of the year. Other Lodges "shut down" for a couple of months during the year, and others use their regular meeting nights as social nights (holding a very short meeting (if any), and then having their social activities).
We feel that a balance of protocol and social activates is important, hence the reason why we do not hold social nights on our meeting nights, and that’s why we hold regular meetings year round (with the exception of cancellation due to snow storms or extreme weather conditions during the winter months).
It is during our Regular Lodge meetings where planning for day to day management of the Hall takes place. At times, charitable activities are at the forefront, or sometimes it's building maintenance. Sometimes it may be protocol, or getting involved community activities. At times there could be discussions about helping out other Lodges in the area, whether they be Orange, or other Fraternal Lodges, and then sometimes it could be about one of our own who is sick or has fallen on rough times.
"That I will be true and faithful to every brother Orangeman in all just actions, neither wronging him nor knowing him to be wronged or injured without giving him due notice thereof, and preventing it if in my power."
Other than discussing the management of the Hall, the monthly meeting, is the time for edification in the principles of the Canadian Orange Order, [provide link here to page with these spelled out] to learn proper parliamentary procedure, speaking etiquette, proper debate principles and an opportunity to practice them.
There are several times throughout the year that we gather together just to have fun. We try to post all the events on our calendar or by posters within the Hall, but sometimes events can just be a spare of the moment thing where it just can’t be planned for... Such as the case of the World Junior Hockey Championship, or some of the guys want to get together for a social night, maybe watch a football game or some other sporting event.
A couple of years ago we started “Pub Nights”. It was one night each month when the guys could get together, play some darts or cards or socialize over a few pints while watching a game on the big screen. Now called “Dart Night”, it is typically held on the first Saturday of each month. In some instances it is moved to the second Saturday of each month. To check out the dates, view our calendar
In the months leading up to Christmas, Lodge members are asked to donate non-perishable food items, or purchase gift certificates to grocery stores in the area, to stock our pantry. All this is done for our Family Christmas programme, in which a local needy family is selected. All the items, including any toys, clothes, Christmas dinner and the pantry are packed up and delivered to the family shortly before Christmas, accompanied by gift certificates for local grocery and department stores.
Salvation Army Kettle Shake
For over 5 years we have also volunteered to man a Salvation Army Christmas kettle, and are scheduled to do so again this year. Our members have commented on several occasions on how generous the people of Orillia are during this time as a lot of well needed money is raised. During this time our members enjoy talking with the people of Orillia, answering their questions (if we can) and wishing them, and their families a very Merry Christmas.
Every year, the Master of the Lodge gets to select the Charity of his choice. One charity or organization is chosen and for rest of the year, all money raised through bake sales, yard sales, fundraisers, and donations are then given to the recipient of that year.
Acts of Remembrance
"Decoration Day" which is held in Orillia in late June (typically the 4th Sunday of the month). It is the day when organizations decorate the graves of their former members and a small service is held. Often Organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion honour those that served in Canada’s Armed Forces. However now days, most organizations have a “Stone” that represents all of it’s members that are buried in the cemetery.
In recent years a couple members of this Lodge decided that it would be more fitting to decorate each grave of every known member that they were able to find (the way it was done years ago), rather than just our stone. Since then each year close to 150 graves are marked annually with a piece of orange trail marking tape. Each year, it is hoped that we can expand our list, even if it’s only adding one or two additional names each year.
“Lest We Forget”
Each year the Lodge supports the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy fund and places a cross at the cenotaph at Orillia’s Soldiers Memorial Hospital. All members who are able meet across the street with many other organizations. The Legion’s parade marshal then has everyone formed into positions and all march across the street for the Remembrance service.