Built in 1895, The Masonic Temple at 335 Donald Street was the first Masonic lodge built in western Canada and is the only building in Canada built by the Masons for the Masons.
Freemasonry is thought to have its origins in the stonemason’s guilds of the Middle Ages. It is generally agreed that the Masonic Order was founded in 1390. The Masons primarily originated in Europe, but some trace their origins to ancient Egypt. Freemasonry has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories throughout the years.
The Masonic Temple was designed by Montreal-born architect George Creeford Browne, who was himself a Mason. The temple was built in the Romaneque Revival style, with classical elements. The interior of the Masonic Temple featured offices, a library, meeting rooms, kitchen, banquet hall and more, all furnished in the finest of materials. The Masonic Temple was in use until 1969, when the Masons sold the building at 335 Donald and moved to their new home at 420 Corydon Avenue.
The building stood empty for a year until it reopened in 1971 as a restaurant and dance hall called the Rec Room. The Rec Room was not open for very long. GG’s Cabaret and Supper Club had a similarly short run. Mother Tuckers Food Experience opened in 1975 and continued to operate until 1999. A couple more restaurants came and went and now the building has been standing empty since 2003.
It was during the time that the Masonic Temple was a restaurant that stories began to circulate amongst staff that the building was haunted.
There are many stories of flickering lights and objects that would be moved overnight. The same staff that closed in the evening would remark in the morning that it looked like their had been an overnight dinner party, with salt and pepper shakers moved and napkins that had been used by ghostly guests.
It would seem that some of the Masons continue to hold secret meetings and banquets at Winnipeg’s original Masonic Temple…