FIRST DOCUMENTED IN 1730 THE INDEPENDENT ORDER OF “ODD FELLOWS” IS NOW INTERNATIONAL

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is an international fraternity of lodges first documented in 1730 in LONDON. Its ornate red-brick building at 2 College Street (450 Yonge Street) was constructed between 1891 and 1892. The architects were Norman B. Dick and Frank W. Wickson, who designed the old Royal Canadian Yacht Club near the Lakeshore. It was demolished, but many of the houses and offices by the architects survive to this day. Yonge and College buildings even today inspire images of mystical rites in the 19th century, mixing Romanesque and Gothic, with many of the ornamentations being Gothic. The 4th floor on the south side has pointed gables, similar to a French chateau, and there are octagonal towers facing Yonge Street. In the 19th century many men belonged to clubs, fraternal societies, secret organizations, places to socialize,  and create business organizations. Some of these structures, created then, are today among Toronto’s finest heritage buildings. The former Masonic Hall remains as an event space at Yonge and Davenport. The old Temple Building, long gone from Bay and Richmond, was for the IOOF (Independent Order of Foresters). The Odd Fellows building has been saved as its development rights were sold to allow greater density in the newly-built surrounding condos.  <PHOTOGRAPHY – Ross Winter>