Rameses Shriners was formed in 1888. In April of 1887 George S. McConkey who was the first Potentate and James Granville who was the first Recorder made the arduous trip from Toronto to New York City to make the formal request for dispensation in person to form a Shrine Center which was issued April 21st, 1887.
The Shrine Center name “Rameses” was well chosen. Rameses II was an outstanding builder, who, during his reign as Pharaoh of Egypt, caused to be built the twin cities Rameses and Pilthum. Rameses mania for building has been a part of Rameses Shrine Center’s philosophy ever since its formation. At the spring ceremonial of 1908, no less than 210 candidates crossed the “Hot Sands”.
Rameses Shriners continued to work hard on membership and in 1979 had a membership of over 6000 Nobles. Membership however in recent years like so many other Shrine Centers has declined quite significantly.
Over the past many years Rameses has been host to the Shrine Imperial Session. In 1989 Illustrious Sir Peter Rhodes was appointed Director General, and this was, at the time expected to be the largest Imperial session in history with no less than 100,000 Shriners expected to attendance. The parade alone was scheduled to run 14 hours and was said to qualify for the Guinness Book of Records.
Rameses Shriners has over the years had a number of notable people who became members. One Noble in particular who was Potentate in 1968 was Athol Layton who was better known by his ring name “Lord Athol Layton”. He was an English-Australian professional wrestler as well as a professional wrestling commentator, best remembered as being a major wrestling attraction in the 1950s and 60s winning many championships in both Canada and the US. As a single wrestler he drew large crowds particularly in Toronto against “Whipper Bill Watson” and “The Sheik” He passed away unexpectedly January 18th 1984.
During the history of our Shrine Center Rameses has had 3 Nobles who have served the office of Imperial Potentate, Harry A. Collins 1905-06, Morley E. MacKenzie 1943-44, and George A. Mitchell 2010-11. We are very proud to have had these Nobles serve as Imperial Potentate and work hard for the Shrine and Shriners Hospitals for Children
Rameses Shriners is presently in its third home located at 124 Queens Plate Dr. in Toronto and our new Shrine Centre was officially opened August 15th 2015. Our Building is also home to Bokhara Court No. 22, Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America, and Oronto Shrine Center No. 69, Daughters of the Nile. The building is also available for rentals and hosts a numbers of other organizations on a regular basis.
Rameses Shriners is the largest Shrine Center in Canada with regards to membership. The jurisdiction of Rameses Shriners is also quite large and covers the major part of Ontario. Rameses Shriners shares jurisdictions in the Province of Ontario with Tunis Shriners in Ottawa Ontario and Mocha Shriners in London Ontario. It boasts a total of 35 clubs and 12 Shrine Center Units. Travel time from the Shrine Center to the most northerly club in Timmins Ontario is about 6 ½ hours.
Over many years Rameses Shriners has been an active supporter of Shriners Hospitals for Children having members on the Boards of Governors of both Montreal and Erie. Large contingents of Shriners have also traveled to the Imperial Sessions and both participated in competitions bring home winning recognition as well as holding executive positions in Imperial Associations. This practice continues even until the present time.
Above all Rameses Shriners believes that the Shrine is Fun with a Purpose.
Clubs and Units:
- Founders Unit
- Kingston and District Shrine Club
- Muskoka Shrine Club
- Shriners Club of Hamilton
- Sudbury Shrine Club
- Waubuno Shrine Club
- Trent Valley Shrine Club
- Rorab Shrine Club
- Niagara Shrine Club
- Manito Shrine Club