Profiles of Historic Sites
Carl Klenk fonds/0116-029-01-002
Image courtesy Mission Community Archives
33219 First Avenue
Date of Original Construction:
Fraser Valley Academy of Dance
The Masonic Hall is a two-storey, white building on the north side of First Avenue, in the downtown business district; it is the second building east of the Welton Street intersection, betwen the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Gold Bin jewelry store.
This building was constructed in 1924 by A.B. Catherwood to replace the former 1892 Masonic Temple which had been destroyed by fire. The building originally cost about $10,000 to construct.
For years, the Masonic Lodge in Mission operated as a closed Society for men only; although many local business men belonged, their activities and rituals were cloaked in an atmosphere of secrecy. Being a member of the Masons held a certain prestige, and many local business and community members were active in the Lodge, along with members from Matsqui and surrounding communities.
The building is built with a north-south orientation which goes against typical Masonic lodges which more commonly face east and west with the master's place in the east. The difference in building style was so important that the lodge lost some members due to its untraditional manner.
Over the years, much of the original decorative woodwork on the exterior has been removed off of the front of the building. It now has a plain façade, and is rented out by the Masonic Lodge. For many years, the large room on the ground floor was available for rental to the public, and numerous special occasions were celebrated here, including an annual art show, farmer's markets, receptions, and socials.
People Associated with the Site:
Albert Bryant (A.B.) Catherwood- Builder - came from Ontario to Hatzic in 1899 with his wife Nell. He was a contractor and builder, involved in many local projects. He served the municipality as both councillor and reeve from 1938 to 1951.
A white flat-faced wood and stucco building with two storeys. The door is set back in an alcove from the front face of the structure and windows are only on the second floor of the front which faces on First Avenue.
Entering the building through the double doors, there are a couple of steps up to an entry area, flanked by a small kitchen and bathroom. Most of the ground floor is a large open hall or meeting room, paneled in dark varnished wood. A stairway, also wood paneled, leads from the entry to the second storey, where there are two small rooms now used as office and change room, and a large open meeting space, where the Mason's formerly met. The space is currently used for dance classes.
Where to get further information:
- Mission Community Archives
- Fraser Valley Record - April 30, 1980 Photograph
- Mission District Historical Society - Guide to Mission City BC Walking Tour Book (2005)
Last Modified January 24, 2015