Bruce Shriners Club
The Bruce Shrine Club was started by eight local Shriners in 1975 and received its’ Charter in 1976 and is part of Mocha Temple. The founding members were Nobles Sam Bailey, Ray Weatherdon, Orval Crozier, Don Manary, William Legg, Dave Watts, Elmer Hawn and Brian Wyld. Brian Wyld was the inaugural President and Orval Crozier the first Secretary.
The club held its’ monthly meetings at various locations throughout Bruce County from Kincardine in the South to Wiarton in the North. We chose many different local restaurants to hold the meetings so that no Nobles in any particular area that the club covered would have to travel excessively to attend. Presently we hold most of our regular meetings at the Saugeen Shores Masonic Center located in Port Elgin. The meetings are usually in the form of a dinner meeting and are regularly catered by the local order of the Eastern Star.
The Bruce Shrine Club has been privileged and had the honour of supplying three Mocha Potentates since it was founded. Illustrious Sirs Paul Ellyatt, 1977, John McLaughlin, 2003 and Jack Cumming, 2011. Grant Fotheringham, who is presently a member of Bruce Shrine Club, was Potentate in 2005.
Our Parade Unit, the Bruce Trail Riders was started in 1976 with 5 Honda 70 mini bikes and 1 three wheeled, motorized tricycle. Today the unit boasts 12 bikes, 2 golf carts, an aluminum open trailer equipped with a sound system for parade music and for our Nobles to ride in and a 28 foot equipment trailer painted to advertise our Philanthropy. The Bruce Shrine Club has also been fortunate to have several nobles as Clowns that parade with us as well as support us at functions entertaining the children.
Since its’ inception in 1975, the Bruce Shrine Club has taken on many fund raising projects to raise money to support our Philanthropy. In the beginning we sold Christmas products. We later expanded into selling Vidalia onions. Today we have a very ambitious, year round aluminum project consisting of collecting aluminum pop cans, crushing them and selling the metal to scrap dealers. We also organized yearly golf tournaments, dinner auctions, dance parties and have even done very successful raffle events for trips and vehicles.
The main purpose of our Club and Shriners in general is to raise funds to support the Shrine Hospitals and the children we treat. The club, over the years has supported many young patients from this area. The assistance provided by the club has been in the forms of financial aid, transportation to and from the Canadian Shriners Hospital in Montreal and even supplying equipment to help make their lives a little easier.
In addition to the fund raising efforts the Bruce Shrine Club holds social events where we can get together with family, friends and members. In July we have our annual Steak Fry, August our Corn Boil and of course or Christmas Party in December.
The Bruce Shrine Club is a very active and vibrant club which donates substantially to the Shrine projects annually.
All Master Masons are eligible to become Shriners and are welcome to join our club. The club is interested in new active members who would like to be part of our philanthropy and the comradery that goes with supporting the Shrine Hospitals and helping children.
About the Shriners
Who are the Shriners? And what is the Shrine?
Every Shriner is a Mason. One must be a Master Mason in order to be a Shriner. Master Mason is the third degree. Although there are other degrees with higher numbers which elaborate on the values of Freemasonry, none are considered higher in stature than Master Mason.
In 1872 a group of 13 Masons meeting socially in New York decided that there should be something more rewarding to the Masonic Movement, so they decided to form a strictly sociable group. Two of the founders were Billy Florence, an actor, and Walter Fleming, a physician. These two founders realized this fledgling fraternity needed a colourful, exciting backdrop to encourage membership.
It is believed that Florence conceived the Shrine’s Middle Eastern setting while on a tour in Europe. Florence attended a party in Marseilles, France hosted by an Arabian diplomat. At the end of the party, the guests became members of a “secret society”. Florence realized this might be the ideal vehicle for the new fraternity and he made many notes and drawings of the ceremony.
When Florence returned to the States, Fleming agreed and together they created elaborate rituals, designed the emblem and costumes, and formulated the greetings, etc based on this Middle Eastern theme. Although the Shrine is not a secret society, it still retains much of the mystic theme of its origin. There is very little that is “secret” about either Masonry or Shrinedom. Officially we are the “Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine” but we are more widely known as just “Shriners International”.
We are now an international fraternity of approximately 450,000 members who belong to different Shrine Temples throughout the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Philippines and Germany.
The Shrine is best known for our colourful parades, our distinctive red fez and its official philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children, which we often call the “World’s Greatest Philanthropy”. Why do we wear the “red Fez with the black tassel”? It derives its name from the place where it was first manufactured – the city of Fez, Morocco. It was chosen as part of the Middle Eastern theme of colour and pageantry.
Shriners come from all walks of life and all levels of income. There are a great number of Shrine Temples or Centres throughout the participating countries.
The temple which your local Shriners belong to is Mocha Temple. The headquarters is in London Ontario and has a membership of approximately 3000 Nobles. It has a jurisdiction of Southwestern Ontario and the District of Algoma in Northern Ontario. Mocha holds two ceremonials a year in various cities and towns. The ceremonial is a convention where new recruits are admitted to the Shrine. Our club along with many others participate in these and other Mocha activities. Our leader of the temple is called a Potentate (meaning President) and he has a Divan (meaning executive) who administer all Temple affairs.
Money is raised through circuses, barbecues, Christmas cake sales, fish fries, etc. The net proceeds of these functions are primarily forwarded to the Canadian Shriners Hospital in Montreal plus other Shrine hospitals in Erie Pennsylvania and Cincinnati, Ohio, which are close enough for Canadian children to attend.
Now Something About Shriners Hospitals for Children
From its inception in 1872, the Shrine supported various charities and philanthropies. In 1920, however, Shriners voted to found their own philanthropy – Shriners Hospitals for Children. The first Shriners hospital, in what would grow into an international network, was opened in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1922. Today, Shriners hospitals comprise 18 orthopaedic hospitals, three burn hospitals and one hospital providing orthopaedic, burn and spinal cord injury care. All of them provide research as well.
Twenty (20) of the hospitals are in the United States, one in Canada and one in Mexico. All provide expert care to children without regard for the patients or families ability to pay. All children up to their 18th birthday may be eligible for treatment at a Shriners hospital if, in the opinion of the hospitals’ Chief of Staff, the child has a condition that can be helped. Shriners hospitals accept and treat children regardless of race, religion or relationship to a Shriner.
Shriners hospitals are funded by contributions, bequests, income from the Shriners Endowment fund or designated fund raising events.
Where do we fit in?
The Bruce Shrine Club was formed over 25 years ago as a club of Mocha Shriners. Just as other service clubs suffer from lack of membership, these original founders realized there would not be enough Shriners to form individual clubs in Kincardine, Port Elgin, Southampton and other surrounding communities, so our club draws members from basically any of the Masonic lodges in Bruce County.
Over the years our club has held many different fund raisers – You may have seen our “Blue Barrels” around the local towns for collecting used pop cans. We bag them, store them, and then have a sorting and crushing session several times a year. Last year we raised over $11,000 from the aluminium.
We also sell Christmas cakes, puddings, chocolate almonds and mixed nuts at local businesses in time for Christmas and we usually start selling our Christmas products at Pumpkinfest.
Other fund raisers include our Vidalia onions of which 950 x 10 lb bags are usually sold in one week in May. Most years we hold a dinner auction and a golf tournament and sometimes raffles. We also hope to receive donations by our presence at parades locally and throughout Southwestern Ontario.
We assist local families with transportation for trips for treatment to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Montreal.
Whether Shriners, Rotarians, Lions, Kinsmen or others we all do good work perhaps in different ways. So when it’s a cold wet night and your warm and comfy at home think of the people you are assisting and you’ll realize it’s worth the effort to get up, go out in the cold and attend that meeting. Don’t ever stop being a volunteer.