Loyal Orange Lodge Hall - Town of Gravenhurst

orange lodge

Loyal Orange Lodge Hall

Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1301 was built on a lot in the historic precinct next to the town hall and fire station of the day. The lodge was built and the latter complex burned, coincidentally, in 1897. The original inscription on the upper part of the two storey brick building can be read from the street to this day.

Long a focus of social life in rural communities and a religious and political power in Ontario, The Orange Lodge declined after World War II. Some of the most popular public Lodge activities were the July 12 parades down Muskoka Road. These continued into the 1960's even after the virtual demise of the organization; however, no longer are secret passwords whispered through 1897 peepholes.

The Orange Order is an international Protestant fraternal organization based primarily in Northern Ireland, with a significant presence in the Scottish Lowlands and lodges throughout the Commonwealth. The Orange Institution was founded in 1795, during a period of Protestant-Catholic sectarian conflict, as a Masonic-style brotherhood sworn to uphold the Protestant faith and a Protestant King.

Founded by Ogle Gowan, in Brockville Ontario, the Orange Order played an important role in the history of Canada when it was established in 1830. Most early members were from Ireland, but later many English, Scots, Italians and other Protestant Europeans joined the Order, as well as Mohawk Native Americans.  The Orange Lodges were community cultural centres, as they hosted numerous dances, events, parades, and even the teaching of step dancing.