In the mid 60’s, a fervent group of men and women built a ‘temple’ in which to meet. The International Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs was also responsible for the construction and funding of the IOOF Home in Allandale, as well as Heritage Place and now a new fabulous facility in Barrie’s expanding south end.

This little building was erected out of town, bordering the newly constructed Highway 400. On Ferris Lane. There was very little on Ferris Lane in those days... no Consumers Gas, no Millet Salter office, no B101 office, no OPP Association etc. etc. So, this was a structure on its own.

The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs used the building for over 30 years, for meetings, for conferences, and annual sessions.

When Heritage Place neared construction completion in the early 90’s the organization gave generously to construction of an auditorium in this apartment, residential, care facility for seniors. And so it made sense to begin meeting there, and abandon the ‘temple’ on Ferris Lane.

Here’s where the neat part starts. The organization sold the building (for somewhere around $400,000) and invested the money in the Friendship, Love, and Truth Charitable Foundation Inc. Using the interest from the temple investment, the IOOF and Rebekahs have been able to gift our community repeatedly, since 1992. With the gifts in 2004, the organization has given well over half a million dollars, without touching their principle.

In fact, the organization is one of Simcoe County’s top, consistent, charitable donors.

At their summer banquet and annual meeting, the foundation this year gave their large gift of $20,000 IOOF Senior Citizen Home and $2,000 gifts to the Post Polio Support Group, RVH Regional Cancer Centre, Juvenile Diabetes Program and Voice Program, to the Salvation Army, the Seasons Centre and the Simcoe County Lupus Chapter. As well $2,000 gifts went to CNIB talking books, and the CFUW Scholarship Trust, and the Girl Guides.

Odd Fellow President Bob Byers (long loved as Springwater Township Fire Chief) says these gifts make a consistent difference in our community and the organization is pleased to be able to contribute.

I see it as a win-win-win. Temple sold. Multi purpose room used. Community at large receiving important money for programs largely run by volunteers.

The wheels go round.

Thanks, Bob. Thanks, Odd Fellows. Thanks, Rebekahs.

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