Furnishing a Lodge Room on the Canadian Frontier

The Material Culture of 'Rideau Lodge' No. 25, 1815–46

  • Forrest D. Pass City of Ottawa Museums
Keywords: Freemasonry, Canada, Ontario, regalia, material culture, consumption

Abstract

A small artefact collection and a substantial archival fonds from Rideau Lodge No. 25 offer an unusual glimpse into the material practices of freemasons in early 19th century rural Canada. Organized in 1815, Rideau Lodge operated for about 30 years in and around the hamlet of Burritts Rapids, in presentday eastern Ontario. Their surviving artefacts and accounts reveal how the brethren procured the material necessities of masonic ritual in the context of emerging frontier capitalism. The Rideau Lodge masons developed a hybrid material strategy, purchasing some items from distant suppliers, including those in the United States, while making or repurposing other items locally. A case study in the relationship between local production and the market economy on the Canadian frontier, this article adds to the general literature on early Canadian capitalism by illustrating how cultural considerations - in this case the practices and values of freemasonry - influenced rural Canadians' consumption strategies.

Author Biography

Forrest D. Pass, City of Ottawa Museums

Forrest D. Pass is an Exhibition Development and Research Officer at the City of Ottawa Museums. Between 2013 and 2017, he curated the Upper Canada section of the Canadian Museum of History's new permanent exhibition, which features a selection of the Rideau Lodge artefacts.

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Published
2018-07-03
How to Cite
Pass, F. D. (2018). Furnishing a Lodge Room on the Canadian Frontier. Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism, 6(2), 196-231. https://doi.org/10.1558/jrff.33478
Section
Articles