Our Ashlar Masonic Temple, built in 1923 at 101 Commercial Street, is a landmark building in downtown Nanaimo. It is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places and the City of Nanaimo Heritage Register.
It is home to Ashlar Lodge, No.3 and our long term commercial tenant, the Flight Centre.
The City of Nanaimo has compiled a series of Seagull Eye View videos of historic buildings in Nanaimo, including our Ashlar Masonic Temple. Here’s the video:
In April 2017 the City of Nanaimo awarded a $20,000 Heritage Grant for refurbishment of the exterior of Ashlar Masonic Temple:
Here is more information about Ashlar Masonic Temple:
The Ashlar Masonic Temple was built in 1923 to replace an earlier Ashlar Masonic Temple building which was originally constructed on this site in 1873.
The Ashlar Masonic Temple was designed by architect Alexander Ernest Henderson (1873-1927) and built by Vancouver contractors Baynes and Horie (Edgar George Baynes and William McLeod Horie). Alexander Henderson also designed the Nanaimo Hospital, built between 1925 and 1942 at 388 Machleary Street.
Here is the 14 June 1923 newspaper report about the cornerstone ceremony for the Ashlar Masonic Temple on 13 June 1923:
“OLDEST MASON” LAID CORNERSTONE HERE YESTERDAY
The cornerstone of the new Masonic Block, which is being erected on the corner of Commercial and Skinner Streets, was laid yesterday afternoon with fitting ceremonies. The same stone which was put in the old building fifty years ago, was used yesterday, and a copper casket containing the same coins used on the first occasion [note: the cornerstone ceremony of the first Ashlar Masonic Lodge building in 1873], coins of the present mintage, copies of the Free Press and Herald of yesterday, and other papers were enclosed in the metal box, which was placed in the resting place by Past Master James M. Brown.
Mr. Brown has probably been a Mason longer than any other man in the Province, as it was seventy years ago since he joined the order, he having become a Mason in California in 1852. Quite a number of Masons were present yesterday during the laying of the stone.”
(Source: The Herald, Thursday, 14 June 1923)
Here is a photo of James Miller Brown (1830-1926) who laid the cornerstone of the Ashlar Masonic Temple on 13 June 1923.
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