Moose Lodge disbands after 92 years of service to community

By William McGinn

Kelly Parker shows off the original Moose charter. Photo: William McGinn.

After 92 years in Lindsay, a long-time service club has been officially disbanded. Moose Kelly Parker says for a long time Lindsay’s lodge had the biggest base in all of Ontario for the international fraternity known as the Loyal Order of Moose.

Beginning in 1929, the Lindsay Moose Lodge, which was also a restaurant and bar, moved three times, first to Victoria Avenue, then moving in 1972 to Lindsay Street South, where the Kawartha Lakes Community Clinic now sits. It then moved in 1990 to McLaughlin Road, and Homestead Oxygen bought the building in 2015.

Kelly, who joined the Moose in 1984 in Toronto at the time, used to be president of Lindsay’s Moose fraternity. He is now the owner of Homestead Oxygen, with his wife Liz, another Moose since 1997, who is general manager.

Moose Kelly Parker looks back at some memorabilia from the long history of the service club. Photo: William McGinn.

The Loyal Order of Moose is an international fraternal organization, set on celebrating life and providing communal services. There are all-male fraternities and all-female sororities with occasional inclusive meet-ups, one unit being known as Women of the Moose. Liz said as of May 1, 2021, the Loyal Order of Moose is a title no longer seen as all-male and both male and female members are found under the same banner.

Formerly having thousands of local members, Kelly revealed the main reason for their local disbanding was the pandemic. Homestead Oxygen remained a place for meetings and get-togethers twice a month, but when everything shut down there was no longer anywhere to go and meet up. The club considered Rotary clubs, Lions clubs, and restaurants to meet at, but the ideas just “didn’t fly,” he said. Not enough people were going out to meetings or available to be officers, and the last couple of years meetings were held in a boardroom with nothing to offer its members.

Ending their long life but wanting to end on a bang, Kelly said he and other Moose Lodge members recently donated $5,000 to Ross Memorial Hospital to support a new CT Scanner, $5,500 to A Place Called Home and $20,000 to OPP for Child Find. Kelly also said hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years have been donated to the community thanks to the time and effort of the Moose family.

As for the Moose Lodge overall, outside of Kawartha Lakes, there are still 30 lodges in Ontario, 22 in Quebec, nine in Alberta and nine in B.C., as well as a presence in Great Britain and the U.S. The Moose service club was originally formed in Chicago. “We have members in Lindsay who still want to get involved, so we’re going to now organize carpools down to Oshawa twice a month,” said Kelly, to the club there.

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