Who are the Shriners
If you mention the word Shriners, people often imagine a bunch of grown men wearing funny hats and riding little bikes in parades, but what is less known is why they do this. The why is to bring attention to the mandate of the Shriners, the care of children through the Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Shriners Care Cruiser Transportation Program. The Shriners are an old and established fraternal and charitable organization. Shriners International is 141 years old while the Shriners of British Columbia and Yukon are 111 years old. The Shriners of British Columbia & Yukon are part of the Masonic Fraternity which was established in the province of British Columbia in 1858. The fraternity is based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth with nearly 200 temples (chapters) in seven countries and thousands of clubs around the world. Our fraternity is open to men of integrity from all walks of life.
Shriners Believe in Brotherhood.
Shriners are a brotherhood of men committed to family, engaged in ongoing personal growth, and dedicated to providing care for children and families in need. Our backgrounds and interests are diverse, but we are bound together by our shared values and a desire to have fun, do good and build relationships that can last a lifetime.
Shriners Believe in Family.
Although Shriners International is a brotherhood, it is also an organization focused on bringing families together. Many of our fraternity’s activities are designed to involve family members, promote our shared values and help develop the next generation of community and business leaders. A variety of affiliated groups for both women and children, emphasizing personal growth, fun and friendship, participate with Shriners.
Shriners Believe in Leadership.
Shriners count among our ranks presidents, senators, local business leaders, professional golfers, country music stars, astronauts and racecar drivers. We believe it is also important to be a leader in your personal life. Our unique brotherhood helps good men become better – at home, at work and in business.
Shriners Believe in Giving Back.
Shriners Hospitals for Children® were founded in 1922 with the goal of providing expert medical care for children with no financial burden to the patients or their families. Today that philanthropic effort supports the health care system's 22 facilities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, treating children up to 18 years of age who have orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Our advanced care is provided in a family-centered environment that is focused on maximizing a child’s quality of life, regardless of the family’s ability to pay
History of the Shriners
Shriners International is, at its most basic level, a fraternity.
It all started in Manhattan in 1870 when some members of what’s considered the world’s oldest fraternity – Masonry – were hanging out at their favorite tavern. They felt that Masonry, which traces its roots to stonemasons and craftsmen of the Middle Ages, was a tad too focused on ritual. These guys wanted a fraternity that stressed fun and fellowship.
Two of those gentlemen – Walter M Fleming, M.D., and Billy Florence, an actor – took that idea and ran with it. Florence came up with the idea for a Near Eastern-themed party after attending a party thrown by an Arabian diplomat. Fleming added the structure, drafting the fraternity’s name, initiation rites, rituals and rules. Together, Fleming and Florence designed the fraternity’s emblem, devised a salutation and determined that the red fez with the black tassel would be the group’s official headgear.
The first chapter, Mecca Shriners, met in New York City in 1872. As word got out about the fledgling organization, membership grew rapidly, spreading across the U.S. In the early 1900s, membership spread into Canada, Mexico and Panama.
Today there are approximately 309,000 Shriners belonging to 195 chapters in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Republic of Panama.
Locally, Gizeh Shriners of BC-Yukon started in Victoria, on June 11, 1902, and now represents the largest geographical jurisdiction in the Shriners organization. In 1942, Gizeh headquarters moved from Victoria to Vancouver, and to Burnaby in 1968. There are now over 80 clubs and units affiliated with Gizeh throughout BC and Yukon.