Inside the Freemasons historic building in Calgary on Wednesday May 2, 2018. Leah Hennel/Postmedia
(Calgary Herald, Eva Ferguson, 08.05.2018)
An iconic piece of Calgary’s history is in serious jeopardy, as the century-old Freemasons Hall faces rising property taxes and possible closure of its Masonic Temple.
Built in 1928, the impressive brick and stone-covered building in the Beltline has seen nearly 100 years of meetings, events and secret rituals that pay homage to the ancient fraternity of Freemasons.
The mysteries and secrets of the Freemasons date back as far as the 1300s. Today, the local lodges focus on charity work, education and self-improvement of its membership.
But with their property now valued at more than $8 million, Calgary’s Freemasons are facing city taxes as high as $120,000 this year, with an expectation the number will rise to $150,000 by next year.
“We’ve been here for nearly a century, and it’s our obligation to preserve that history for future generations,” said Ilya Raykhlin, Master Mason of the local Bow River Lodge of Freemasons and organizer of the annual Freemasons Day.
“But our taxes here have become unmanageable.”