Honoured by the Elk’s Lodge #25 ON, past, present and future members
Deputy Grand Organizer N.A. Talor instituted this Lodge on April 17, 1914. There were 58 chartered applicants with the first E.R. being Fred H. Campbell and the Secretary being Richard Tyler. Members of Sudbury, Cobalt and Lansdowne Elk Lodges were present to assist in the ceremony.
On May 1, 1922, the Elks purchased a building situated at 42 Worthington Street East in North Bay for the sum of $6,100.00. It is remembered by residents as it had a large games room with an Elks trophy in the games room. The Elks hired the Moores as caretakers and they and their
children lived in the back part of the house.
The Lodge operated until December 1934 when the effects of the Depression had reduced the membership to eight members and the Lodge voted for dissolution. The last Lodge executive
members were E.R. Thomas Sale, Leading Knight; S.J. Gordon, Loyal Knight; A.J. Parr, Lecturing Knight; E. J. Normabell, Inner Guard; J. W. Holbrook, Tyler; G. E. Hay, Esquire; Tom Livsey, and Chaplain J. T. Wilson. At that time, the Lodge was in arrears to the City and to the Grand Lodge.
The City took over the building and the Moores petitioned the City to lease it to them rather than close the building up. The City removed the fixtures from the residence including the large pool table and auctioned them off to pay for the back taxes and then leased the building to the Moores for a sum of $10.00 a month.
The building was converted into a boarding house and Mr. Hay, Mr. Holbrook, and Mr. Ivsey became boarders at the residence. Eleanor Moore, now wife of David Catton, recalls the Elks and Mr. Hay as a generous man who bought the neighbourhood kids ice cream. She also recalls an old set of golf clubs that she and her siblings used to play mini-putt gold with in the dirt
basement. She also recalls an airplane propeller in the rafter of the basement. She has retained a photograph of the Elks building and of Mr. Hay. She also has a gold box, which has ornate designs on it that she has returned.
At the outset of WWII, the armed forces took over the building and the Moores were ordered to
vacate. The military had plans to make an Air Force Medical Clinic. The Moores received no
compensation for their move nor what they had put into the house.
Mr. Hay was related to T.M. Palmer who lived just up the street. Another Moore was Kevin who owned Railton studio in the early Sixties. He is also the person who hand painted the picture of the Elks building. Clint Moore was a conductor with the CPR.
The City resumed possession of the building and it was eventually sold and torn down.
Grand Organizer Mike Moran set about re-organization of the Lodge, which resulted in
the Lodge being re-instituted on August 21, 1953 with Murray Harris as E.R. The GER was Jim Dixon. The Lodge quickly grew and in 1954 with upwards of seventy plus members applied for a Charter, which was granted by PGER Claude Howard.
The members were active in promoting Monster Bingoes from which they derived monies
to support charitable works. Their first major commitment was to underwrite the salary of a teacher for the local Mentally Retarded and Handicapped Society. After two years of support, they followed this by being the major donor of funds to build the first permanent school called the West Bayfield School (now part of the Association for Community Living).
The Lodge met for many years at the MacPherson Plumbing building on Algonquin Avenue. They also met at the Merlin Hotel at Main Street and Fraser Street which was owned by Brother Merle Dickerson. When it burned, meetings were held at the Manor Motel on Algonquin, at High Street which was owned by Brother Mike Zaversenuk. Meetings were also held over top of
Cheechaw’s on Algonquin Avenue.
In the mid 1950s, the Elks obtained a piece of property and commenced a building fund which culminated in their permanent Lodge building being completed in 1960.
The building has had many renovations but basically sits today as it did when built. Central air was added in 2000 to complete the renovations.
In 1961, they hosted the 49th Grand Lodge Convention. GER Stan Otto dedicated the building. It was at this convention that Brother Ken Gooding was elected Grand Tyler and he progressed
on to become GER at the Winnipeg Convention in 1969.
Brother Merle Dickerson, now deceased, was a Charter member and served the City of North Bay as Mayor over a period of 25 years.
The Ontario Elks Association was born in North Bay and its first President was Eugene Souliere of North Bay who was a driving force being the Association. Brother Gene served as President from 1966 to 1969.
Brother Ron Witherell of Espanola Elks #346 served as the second Ontario Elks
President. Brother Ron was installed as GER in 1982 in Sault Ste. Marie.
Brother Romeo Renaud was also active with Eugene and also served as an Association President from 1971-1973.
North Bay has further hosted the 72nd National Convention in 1992 where Jack Blinston of Sherwood Park Lodge #481 was installed as GER. They also hosted the 79th National Convention in 1999 which saw Paul Clendenning of Sarnia #503 installed as GER.
Brother Dan Bastien has served for a number of years on national committees and was awarded Honorary Life Membership in Grand Lodge at the 1999 Convention. Brother Dan is a PDDGER and a Past Provincial President.
Brother Mark Montgomery was elected to Grand Lodge as Chaplain at the 78th Convention in Whistler, BC, and served as Grand Exalted Ruler for 2005-2006. He was installed at the 93rd Convention hosted by North Bay Elks #25. His theme was “4 the Kids – Pour les Enfants”.
Brother Mark is also a Past District Deputy and a Past Provincial President.
A very active Royal Purple Lodge no. 170 was organized in November of 1953 and they
continue to actively serve the community and the Order.
Also at this Convention in North Bay, Enola Mathieu of North Bay Royal Purple #170 was elected as Supreme Honoured Royal Lady. This marked the first time that the GER and the SHRL were both from the same community at the same time.