|2012 05 (May) 28, Regina Masons Vote to Retain Historic Downtown Property|
For Immediate Release: 28-May-2012, 11:00 a.m, Attention: Editors, News Directors, Community Relations Directors.
According to Don Ford, President of the Regina Masonic Temple Company (RMTCo), “The owner Lodges repeatedly emphasized their wanting to make an informed decision, one that was good not only for Regina's Masons, but also the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan (the governing body for Freemasons in Saskatchewan) and other users of the building, while respecting the interests of citizens in the broader community”. In response, the RMTCo was tasked with gathering more information, which included paying for a detailed engineering study of the property. Ford noted, “We were pleased with the findings that showed that the Regina Masonic Temple was in very good condition for a building of its age, and that we could continue to maintain our building to a considerable useful life with the revenues from our property`s parking lot.”
Some controversy initially surfaced regarding the proposed RPL purchase when an architectural drawing of a new Library complex displacing the Masonic Temple appeared in the media in April of 2011. Representatives of the Freemasons presented before Regina City Council in June of that year, worried that their building and land were being expropriated. At that meeting members of City Council including Mayor Pat Fiacco reassured the Masonic Temple representatives that the RPL had no authority to expropriate and that the City had no intention of expropriating the property but would respect the power of the owner Lodges to decide whether or not to sell their property. According to Ford, “In making our decision, we were appreciative that the City and its leaders had been very clear that they would respect the property rights of our owner Masonic lodges.
Ford noted that likely one reason the Lodges voted to keep their building was its historic value. According to Ford, “the library's intent to purchase really gave us a chance to reflect on what we care about and, of course, as Masons, it is perhaps not a surprise of the deep affection we have for our building.”
President Don Ford formally made the announcement of the Mason`s decision and responded to questions at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 28, 2012, at the Masonic Temple Building (1930 Lorne Street). Following this presentation, representatives of the media were invited for a quick tour of the historic and other architectural features of the building.
Brief Background on the Regina Masonic Temple
The Regina Masonic Temple was built in 1926 on the site of the original YMCA that had been destroyed by the Regina Cyclone of 1912. The Regina Masonic Temple Company later purchased the site of the YWCA (immediately south of the Masonic Temple) for its parking lot.
Unlike most historic properties, the Regina Masonic Temple has been owned and operated by the same organization and used for the same purposes over the 86 years since its construction.
Its heritage value was formally recognized by the City of Regina's bylaw that included the Regina Masonic Temple in its Municipal Heritage Conservation District surrounding Victoria Park.
The building, designed by Portnall & Reilly, one of the finest architectural firms at the time, is in Neo-Classical style. Francis Portnall himself was a member of one of the Regina Masonic Lodges.
The building's dimensions and ornamentation incorporate much of the ethical symbolism of Freemasonry along with distinct aesthetic features.
It provides an important architectural and heritage contribution to the city, complementing the other remaining historic buildings surrounding Victoria Park.
These buildings are much treasured by Regina's citizens for their cultural contributions to the city and are an important legacy for future generations.
For more information, contact:
Don Ford, President
Regina Masonic Temple Company
Tel.: (306) 530-3222 (mobile)