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Freemasonry Watch

Canada Masonic 'Hall' given historic designation

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The Southern Gazette - Newfoundland Canada

Town of Fortune recognizes a first

Tue, January 16, 2007

The Southern Gazette

The Town of Fortune has designated the first municipal heritage sites in the town.

The George and Mary Lake House, Victoria Hall Masonic Lodge #1378 and the Fortune Fishing Sheds have all received the designation. The sites provide the recognition of the historical significance of these places to the area and promotion on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (HFNL) is working with municipalities to recognize local heritage and to help promote these places. A description of the Fortune structures along with photos can be found on the website www.historicplaces.ca.

The designation of these sites is representative of the new opportunity for municipalities to recognize their heritage.

HFNL Provincial Registrar Dale Jarvis explained "municipal designations allow towns to protect and preserve the special places in their community, whether it be buildings, structures, or lands."

The George and Mary Lake House is significant because it is a good regional example of a type of vernacular design once typical in the Fortune area, featuring a steeply pitched gable roof and primary entrances on the gable ends. Unlike a number of early 20th century houses in the community, this home has escaped the trend of modernization and has retained its overall shape, including the original roof form.

Victoria Hall is a physical reminder of a time when fraternal organizations played a significant role in society. Membership in such organizations was a highly sought after honour. Pride in the affiliation with Freemasonry is reflected in the use of Masonic symbolism on the facade of Victoria Hall.

The Fortune Fishing Sheds are a collection of 15 fisheries structures including sheds, wharves, walkways and slipways. Constructed between 1900 and 1970, they represent a specific time and place, particularly of a time when life was intrinsically linked to the sea.

The sheds originally served a vital purpose in a subsistence economy based on the bounty of the ocean surrounding the community and on the procurement, curing and storage of fish.The continued use and maintenance of this collection of fisheries buildings is a testament to the value the community places on the site.

HFNL supports municipal designation of heritage sites and listing on the Canadian Register.

Mr. Jarvis indicated "weve had great feedback from this campaign, with towns like Fortune taking the initiative in designation. I think every town has a site of local importance that could be listed on the Canadian Register."

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