Looking Back with Gratitude; Looking Ahead with Excitement

Square & Compass Promotions
9 min readOct 15, 2023
Saturday, January 20th, 2024 11am-1pm

Fall offers a chance for us, at Square & Compass, to look back with gratitude and ahead with excitement; especially as it relates to the Windsor Masonic Temple (the author’s Masonic home).

Of course, there are many masonic places we love. We are writing this from Texas, where we attended the Masonic Family Day 2023 at the beautiful and amazing Texas Masonic Retirement Community. The retirement community is a Masonic Jewel-and we hope to write more about it very soon! In the interim, check out this video from the Grace Woodward Museum, located with the Retirement Community, on YouTube.

Square & Compass promotes, or otherwise celebrates, the activities of Masonic bodies, lodges, and buildings around the world. We promote or celebrate these activities via our social media accounts, our podcast, and (in this case) our medium page.

However, the Windsor Masonic Temple (the Temple) does hold a special place in the author’s heart; so it is with great excitement Square & Compass takes a few moments to look back with gratitude and “celebrate” the Temple’s recent successes!

Providing local citizens opportunities to engage in the community through local arts and heritage.

The Temple is putting its wall and shelf space to good use (the wall space is especially nice because it comes with a lot of natural light, owing to the Temple’s beautiful, window-covered facade).

Since August 2023, the Windsor Masonic Temple has provided this wall and shelf space to local artists, to engage both members and the general public with their artwork. The artists include:

  • Jason (painter and wood-carver)
  • JP (illustrator)
  • Jim (wood-carver)
  • Memphis (photographer)
  • Guy (painter)
  • Maria (poet)
  • Gene (author)

The first (Jason) recently turned his artistic talents into creating a beautiful Windsor Masonic Temple portrait. You can see it on Instagram.

The last (Gene) is an author who has launched one of his books (The Anguish of War) November 2022. He has another book launch scheduled for October 2023.

Providing this space has both gives local artists with the opportunity to engage the community with their work, but also allows local citizens to be exposed to the same.

More artwork will be displayed in the coming months.

Art includes “static” work, such as paintings, carvings, illustrations, photography, or written work. Art also includes performance work, such as dance.

The Temple is a home for ballroom dancing-through the amazing “Ballroom At Its Best.”

Art equals culture: the Ontario Culture Days Festival is an annual celebration of arts, culture and heritage taking place each fall across the province. This year, it takes place from Sep 22nd, 2023 — Oct 15th, 2023. The Windsor Masonic Temple proud to showcase local art, and allow local artists to engage with the community!

Supporting the arts does not stop with inviting artists into the Temple-the Temple must engage with artists in the community. In July 2023, Temple representatives attended the Art Council of Windsor’s summer exhibition (where they met painter Guy Williams, who subsequently displayed his artwork within the Windsor Masonic Temple). Temple representatives have also attended two events organised by the Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre, to celebrate and acknowledge our original people’s history. Temple representatives also attended “A Blaze of Story” (Oct 2023) to support our member Bon Sotto and his daughter in the telling of their story, and sharing their singing and performances.

The Temple has also gone into the community. In March 2023, the Temple presented the beautiful and historical Windsor Masonic Temple to the St. Clair College Interior Design Students; in April 2023 the Temple (with Square & Compass Promotions) promoted tours and the history of the Windsor Masonic Temple at the “Staycation Expo.

Public tours continue, both organised by the Windsor Masonic Temple (for special events) and Square & Compass Promotions.

Engagement is a two-way street!

It is also important for Masonic buildings to engage with municipal officials, especially as it may relate to heritage departments. Masonic buildings are part of the community and need to engage with the relevant municipal departments by regular communication and being willing to reach out!

Artisan Engagement and “Supporting Local”

It is also possible to express local art through local artisan products-products that are locally produced and which support the local economy.

The Temple engaged in the local local food and beverage artisans through:

  • A coffee tasting (open to the public) supplied from a local, artisan coffee shop (Dec 2022)
  • A soda-pop tasting supplied from a local, artisan soda-pop shop (Sep 2022)
  • A cheese night supplied from a local, artisan cheese shop (May 2023)

The Temple is also engaging with a local company (519culture) which will be showcasing the local products of Windsor and Essex artisans both in December 2023 and as part of a very special event, scheduled for January 2024!

The Temple has also welcomed some four-legged artisans: an equine therapy horse at a the Christmas Elves holiday dinner (open to anyone who is isolated, homeless, or otherwise looking for holiday dinner in good company) on December 25th, 2022.

The Windsor Masonic Temple has also continued to welcome tours, both for the public and groups.

The Temple have also engaged public speakers, including health and fitness coaches! During the pandemic, when in-person meetings were suspended due to health-requirements, engagement continued via virtual meetings and local artisan-created gifts (Victoria’s Royal Creations), speciality postage stamps, and more.

Local Partner Support!

The Temple is has cultivated the support of community or local partners, including in its “For The Next 100 Years” Project. This support is vital to the success of any project, and (more generally), for the success of any community building long-term.

Communication

The “For The Next 100 Years” project and the Temple in general have taken great steps to improve communication by ensuring, for example, minority official language is, as often as possible, included in communications (and that the translations are professionally completed).

It is also important to communicate for all abilities by, for example, using “alt text” in digital images and by ensuring physical signage uses braille.

[Our audience may have noticed an increase in French Language messaging both on our social media and in our e-mail blasts, as well as an attempt to increase voices of diverse groups (such as UGLE participating in London’s Pride parade, our trip to a special day for local First Nations in Windsor, or the Order of Women Freemasons) and increased accessibility by (for example) use of ALT text. Freemasonry is diverse, and Square & Compass intends to examine and promote that diversity!]

Engaging with New Topics

Engaging with the community is important; engaging with new topics and ideas is also important. One valuable by-product of Square & Compass’ celebration of the Temple’s “For The Next 100 Years” project is that it has caused Square & Compass to engage with new topics, such as:

The National Trust & National Trust Conference

In October 2023, the National Trust is hosting its annual conference. Square & Compass Promotions will be in attendance: and we can’t wait.

[Conférence 2023 de la Fiducie nationale (avec l’Association canadienne d’experts-conseils en patrimoine et le Cercle du patrimoine autochtone) Le patrimoine en évolution à Ottawa (Château Laurier) du 26 au 28 Octobre]

The National Trust provides an amazing resource for historical buildings, and was of great assistance to the Temple in generating ideas and finding supports for its “For The Next 100 Years” project.

We, at Square & Compass Promotions, are thankful to the National Trust; thankful for the work of its members and employees in promoting the importance of historical and heritage buildings and in providing resources for the preservation of these buildings; for the upcoming 2023 Conference Transforming Heritage; for its very useful website; and for providing us the opportunity to return to a city in which we love.

We are also thankful for its “Transforming Heritage toward Climate and Reuse, Housing and Development, and the Cost of Heritage” survey which Square & Compass will complete and use to highlight and promote the unique challenges and successes of historical masonic buildings-such as the Windsor Masonic Temple!

The National Trust of Canada organises “Historic Places Days: Every Place a Story.” In 2023, Historic Places Days took place from July 8th to July 23rd (it also took place in 2022). The Temple took part in Historic Places Days 2023 and 2022 (https://historicplacesdays.ca/places/windsor-masonic-temple/).

For The Next 100 Years

Square & Compass has to take a moment to celebrate the progress made by the Temple, specifically in its “For The Next 100 Years” project. We also have to note the heritage specialists (three), construction workers, dedicated professionals, and volunteers (over 20 who have dedicated thousands of hours) that made this progress possible.

As the Temple’s architect and heritage specialist noted (September 2023):

  • Most of the brick and limestone have been re-pointed, … mortar matches the existing closely in terms of colour and composition (lime based) … parapets have been prepared with new waterproofing and are ready for cap installation … next steps are cleaning copper flashing installation and window caulking.

As the municipality noted,

  • …products listed below were evaluated to be effective for heritage sensitive cleaning on the limestone. The mock up panels were located on the north elevation west corner of base-stone on the limestones…

The Temple’s lift is also modernised.

The modernised lift is more energy efficient. It ensures a safer and more reliable lift experience for users. It also ensures that lift components will be much easier (and quicker) to replace, should the need arise. It will also assist in reducing associated energy costs as the modern components are more energy efficient and environmentally responsible than those installed previously.

[Le nouvel équipement est plus économe en énergie. Notre travail de modernisation garantit une expérience de levage plus sécuritaire et plus fiable pour les utilisateurs. Il garantit également que les composants de levage seront beaucoup plus faciles (et plus rapides) à remplacer, en cas de besoin. Il contribuera également à réduire les coûts énergétiques associés, car les composants modernes sont plus économes en énergie et respectueux de l’environnement que ceux installés il y a plus de 25 ans.]

Being environmentally responsible and accessible is an important part of the Temple’s responsibility to the community. The Temple also added braille signage. It is also a more secure experience for the Temple.

It is very important to celebrate the volunteers that make the “For The Next 100 Years” project possible, as well as generally maintain the Windsor Masonic Temple; such as the Temple Board (7) the “For The Next 100 Years” committee (5), the entirety of the Border Masonic Temple Association, and the local partners and artists who will be involved in the January 20th Public Unveiling.

The volunteers have donated (in total) upwards of 500 hours a month in terms of work, whether it be administrative, attending meetings, communications, cleaning the Temple (at the last volunteer clean-up, 7 volunteers donated three hours of their time apiece), or volunteering at the Scottish Rite Learning Centre (9 hours a week).

[THIS PROJECT IS FUNDED IN PART BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA’S ENABLING ACCESSIBILITY FUND. CE PROJET EST EN PARTIE FINANCÉ PAR LE GOUVERNEMENT DU CANADA PAR LE BIAIS DU FOND POUR L’ACCESSIBILITÉ “This project is funded [in part] by the Government of Canada. Ce projet est financé [en partie] par le gouvernement du Canada.”]

We are thankful we have the opportunity to celebrate the “For The Next 100 Years” project with our audience, and we hope by doing so we encourage other masonic lodges, districts, or buildings to consider similar projects.

Conclusion

There is much for which we can celebrate(or be optimistic…or be thankful). This story gives Square & Compass Promotions the chance to look back with gratitude and forward with excitement.

There is no doubt, at all, that the work being done on the Windsor Masonic Temple, the volunteerism to and for the Temple, the local supports and partnerships, the “For The Next 100 Years” project will result in a lasting physical legacy that will commemorate a truly special place and a truly special anniversary (the January 1922 Windsor Masonic Temple opening).

The question we at Square & Compass now ask is: what is it about your home masonic building, or Lodge (or Masonry in general) which you would celebrate or promote. Let us know via social media.

There is much in Freemasonry to celebrate…so lets celebrate…and lets look ahead with excitement!

All opinions expressed are those of Square & Compass Promotions and the guest(s), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other group, Masonic or otherwise.

Note: The Temple is also working on a Halloween event, the first one held at the Temple since pre-pandemic. This event will include local support and (at least) 10 volunteers and will engage the same. It is going to be an amazing event!

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Square & Compass Promotions

Square & Compass Promotions explores the many ways in which Freemasonry is relevant to our communities. We share both Masonic & Personal stories.