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Orange Hall


Other Names:
Loyal Orange Hall
Loyal Orange Lodge. No. 1654
Strathcona Orange Hall

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Orange Hall is an early twentieth-century one-storey wood frame building located on one lot at the edge of MacIntyre Park in the Old Strathcona district of Edmonton. A small closed porch serves as an entrance to the hall, and the building's front and rear boast the name "Orange Hall" prominently lettered in a vibrant orange.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Orange Hall lies in its fine representation of the kind of modest wood frame buildings often constructed in early twentieth-century Alberta to serve as civic spaces. It is also significant for its association with the history of the Loyal Orange Lodge, one of the province's most important fraternal societies. The building's architecture and historical associations make it a valuable contributor to the heritage character of the Old Strathcona Provincial Historic Area.

A simple wood frame structure with a plain exterior, the Orange Hall perhaps reflects the preference for a sense of austerity characteristic of many Protestant churches, yet it is clear that pragmatic concerns were paramount in the building's construction. Composed primarily of an open assembly hall with a raised stage at the south end, the building is an excellent model of the balloon framing type of construction common to early - and often temporary - civic buildings constructed in Alberta. The Orange Hall is one of only a very few remaining wood frame structures amidst the many brick buildings that comprise the commercial and civic core of the Old Strathcona Historic Area. It is also among the oldest buildings in the area.

Fraternal organizations played a significant role in the early social life of the province. Established in Strathcona in 1895, the Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1654 was initiated primarily by local Protestants, mainly members of the Anglican Church. Built in 1903 by volunteer labour, the Orange Hall provided a venue for Lodge meetings and served the following year as the point of departure for the largest Orange parade on record in Alberta. In 1904 two thousand five hundred Albertans celebrated and marched together. Notable Orangemen that served as officers of the Lodge include such luminaries as Robert McKernan and R.W. Pettipiece, editor of the South Edmonton News. Premier A.C. Rutherford was often present and participated in the annual Orange celebrations. In addition to Orange activities, the hall has served as a popular community centre and hall well used by the general public for over a century.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1163)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Orange Hall include such features as:
- size, form, scale, and massing;
- location and siting within its context of Old Strathcona;
- wood balloon-frame construction;
- medium-pitched gable roof;
- drop siding exterior;
- timber window frames and sashes
- interior elements such as the elaborate wall niche composed of decorative wooden pilasters and an arch;
- original wood flooring with rectangular pattern;
- vertical tongue and groove "V"- jointed wainscoting, trim, panel doors, and interior plasterwork;
- "Orange Hall" lettered in orange on the front façade above the entry and on the rear.


Street Address: 10335 - 84 Avenue NW
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Lot 12, Block 79, Plan I
Contributing Resources: Building: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
9 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.519759 -113.496594 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2007/10/01

Historical Information

Built: 1903 to 1903
Period of Significance:
Theme(s): Building Social and Community Life : Community Organizations
Building Social and Community Life : Social Movements
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Community : Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
Current Function(s): Community : Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club

The Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1654 (Strathcona Orange Hall) is an important component in the historic centre of Edmonton's Strathcona district, which was founded in 1891. It is one of only a very few remaining wood frame structures in the commercial and civic centre of the community, and is also among the oldest. Other extant wood frame buildings in Strathcona include the 1891 Strathcona Hotel (PHR), the 1894 Hub Cigar Store (largely burnt down), and the 1901 Chapman Brothers store (RHR). Photographs and fire insurance maps show that Whyte Avenue was originally lined with wood frame commercial buildings. On 83rd Avenue, Strathcona's Fire Hall No. 1 (1906), adjacent to the Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1654 (Strathcona Orange Hall), was also a wood frame building.

Brick had been produced in the area as early as 1881, and some structures were built using this material in the early 1900s. The oldest remaining example is the Gainer Block, which was erected in 1902. However, after the enactment of a bylaw mandating the use of brick in Strathcona's commercial district in 1902 - as a precaution against fire - the predominantly wood frame boomtown front buildings along Whyte Avenue were rapidly replaced with larger structures in the approved material. When the fire hall was replaced in 1913, it too was a brick building. Photographs from 1914 reveal a transformed streetscape dominated by two- and three-storey brick buildings.

The Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1654 (Strathcona Orange Hall) is a very simple structure, the design of which elaborates only slightly on its function as a place to house the meetings of the Loyal Orange Lodge. It has a rectangular in footprint and a medium pitch gable roof, and is typical of the kind of wood frame buildings erected in communities across Alberta. By the addition or subtraction of features such as display windows, a recess entry, a boomtown front, or a belfry, these generic boxes could serve any number of purposes. As a general rule, such buildings were among the first in a community and often were intended from the start as a temporary. If anticipated growth and prosperity materialised, it was not long before a grander building replaced the original. In cases where this did not occur, such as Strathcona, which faded after amalgamation with Edmonton in 1912, evidence of the initial stage of development might survive.

The historic Strathcona district is of provincial significance, and the Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1654 (Strathcona Orange Hall) is a contributing element within the district.

(D. Field, November 2005)



The Orange Order was founded in Ireland in 1795 as a fraternal social organization devoted to upholding the cause of the Church of Ireland and exposing and denouncing the purported evils of Catholicism. It remained a grass-roots organization, but made inroads into upper class British Society in the 1820's, when the King's brother, the Duke of Cumberland, became a member and was elected Grand Master. On the whole, with its rituals and penchant for secrecy, it appears to have served as an Anglican counterpart to the Presbyterian oriented Masons. In time, however, it attracted people from all areas of British society who had strong anti-Catholic feelings.

The Grand Lodge of Orangemen of British North America was established in Brockville, Upper Canada, in 1830, and soon became a popular supporter of Conservatism. Even the young John A. MacDonald became a member, along with the grandfather of Emily Murphy. The movement gradually made its way westward, and, by the 1880's, a Grand Lodge was in place for the North West Territories. In 1895, it was noted that a warrant had been issued for the establishment of a lodge in the new railway town of South Edmonton, with the Anglican Reverend R.A. Munroe to serve as Worshipful Master. Incentive had been provided by the Manitoba School Question, which had granted communities the right to establish separate schools in Manitoba and the North West Territories if the number of Catholic children in a district warranted it. Another issue was the use of French in official government business.

With Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1654 in place in South Edmonton, meetings began to be held in private residences. Among the members was Robert McKernan, later owner of the Dominion Hotel and the Princess Theatre, who became the first elected Worshipful Master of the Lodge. Another early member was R.W. Pettipiece, the editor of the South Edmonton News, who was the first Recording Secretary. The big event of each year was the traditional 12th of July march down Whyte Avenue, accompanied by a fife and drum band, to celebrate the Victory of William III (of Orange) over the Catholic forces at the Battle of the Boyne in 1692. By 1904, an impressive number of 2,500 people were on hand from all over Alberta to take part in the celebration.

In 1903, the Orangemen of Strathcona were able to acquire a lot from August Nanton in the heart of downtown for $150 and construct their own hall with volunteer labour. Like many Orange halls across the country, including the one in Edmonton, it was a wood frame structure, with a plane exterior, possibly reflecting the religious preference for the austere, preferred by many Orangemen of the time. A basement was dug, and a porch added in 1924. Otherwise, the building remains essentially the same as it was in 1903. In addition to Orange activities, the building was used as a meeting hall for other organizations, which may have been a factor in its survival, as meeting space was much sought after in the heart of Strathcona in later years. In 1994, the Hall was designated a Registered Historic Resource.

The Orange Hall is still owned by Lodge No. 1654, which continues to hold meetings there, and also rents it out to other organizations. In recent years, the Lodge itself, which now allows women members, has concentrated on charitable activities, and no longer stages its 12th of July celebration march.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The historical significance of the Orange Hall in Old Strathcona lies in its provision of structural evidence of a Protestant men's fraternal organization of the turn of the twentieth century. At the time, a number of such organizations flourished, many holding meetings in small, wood frame halls which have not survived.

(D. Leonard, October 2005)



Is it indeed fortunate that this building has retained much of its original features with little alteration. This is especially true when one considers the extensive changes made to the only other Orange Hall of similar historic period in Edmonton, in the neighbourhood of Norwood. The history of this hall is especially significant when combined with others in its immediate vicinity. Together they form the nucleus of the short-lived town of Strathcona. Built in 1903 by members of the Orange Hall, it remained an active community centre even after the amalgamation of Strathcona with Edmonton.


The Strathcona Orange Hall was constructed in 1903 to house the activities of the Loyal Orange Lodge No. 1654 which was established in 1895. It is wood frame structure which remains much as it was built. The white clapboard siding was originally painted a dark colour, and the closed-in porch is a later addition. Otherwise, the hall is unchanged. Inside the hall was hardwood flooring, wainscoting and at one end, a stage with a podium and carved wooden arch. In 1980, because of the well-preserved interior, the hall was used as the set for a documentary on the life of Alberta women's right activist Emily Murphy. The Hall is one of the few wood frame buildings remaining in Old Strathcona, and reflects the community's earliest days.


Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0675
Designation File: DES 1163
Related Listing(s): 4664-0152
Heritage Survey File: HS 5842
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1163)
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