In the cold winter months of 1929-1930, a group of men came together in the quickly growing community of Flin Flon and organized the Flin Flon Lodge No. 232 Benevolent and Protective Order of Eagles. E.E. Hand would be the first Grand Exalted Ruler of the lodge and the Dominion organizer, Roxy Hamilton, would work with the superintendent of the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company, W.A. Green, to see the community’s needs and what the fraternal organization could do.
The creation of the organization was met with enthusiasm in Flin Flon and the first meeting April 2, 1930 would see 70 men come together. The lodge would be highly successful from this point on and in 1940, the 10th anniversary booklet from the lodge would show that Flin Flon boasted the largest lodge in the Dominion of Canada and Newfoundland. The lodge was so well-known and respected that it would host provincial conventions in 1933 and 1937. Elks from the lodge would also hold every Grand Lodge office during the 1930s with the exemption of secretary treasurer. In 1940, L.F. McDonald would become the Grand Exalted Ruler, the highest title possible in the Elks organization.
In 1932, the organization would win its first award for exceptional community service. The award, the Gad Gillam Trophy, is given to the lodge with the best community record. That would not be the only year that the organization would get that honour - the lodge would pick up that same award in 1933 and 1938.
One of the most important projects that the Flin Flon lodge put together was helping those who needed relief during the Great Depression. With the federal and provincial governments not doing much, it fell to the Elks to help. A finance committee was organized and would dispense $24,000 in 1932 in direct relief. That was an impressive amount - about $460,000 in today’s money. Cap Robertson was the person in charge of the finance committee and the premier of the province requested to the council that he remain in charge of the committee for another year because of that success.
The Elks would continue to provide this service to the community until 1936, when the Social Welfare Commission was created.
It wasn’t just providing relief that the Elks helped with. They would set up a two-day carnival for the kids in the community and would help to set up equipment in the first playground in Flin Flon’s history. The Elks also ensured that children had medical examinations and provided eye glasses to those who needed them.
Without the Elks, it is likely that Flin Flon would look very different today.
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