Tunis Shrine Center is located in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, Ontario. Tunis received it’s charter on July 3, 1975 and the first Potentate was former Canadian Prime Minister Illustrious Sir John. G. Diefenbaker. It also covers eastern Ontario from Kingston to the Quebec border and from the St. Lawrence River up to Deep River. They also cover Quebec around the Ottawa region. Membership currently stands around 500 members. Tunis Shrine Center moved into it’s current Walkley Road location, the Ottawa Masonic Centre, on January 6, 2013.
From a Shriners Hospital perspective, Tunis has one representative on the Shriners Hospitals for Children Board of Trustees, four board representatives on the SHC-Canada Board (plus three Emeritus members) and one board representative on the SHC-Boston Board.
Tunis Shriners sponsors research seminars at SHC-Canada. These seminars are held annually and rotate between basic research and clinical research.
The 2021 Tunis First Lady’s Project is very unique. It is called the “Fezzy Bear Comfort” kit. Basically it is a kit that is given to the patient’s parents at Shriners Children's Canada while they wait for their child. In addition, each patient’s room is being equipped with a coffee maker which allows the parents to remain with their child. This is the first time that parents are receiving attention like this at Shriners Children's Canada. Part of the money raised for this project came from the selling of the “Not your Average Cookbook” with recipes provided by the Nobles and Ladies. One of the Nobles also provided a wine pairing for some of these recipes.
Tunis Shrine Center belongs to two associations, the Canadian Association of Shrine Centers (CAST) and the Northeast Shrine Association (NSA). The NSA territory covers from Eastern Ontario to Newfoundland and Labrador and the northeast United States.
In addition to regular Shrine events (e.g. Ceremonials and parades), the Tunis Legion of Honour holds an annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located at the National War Memorial on the first Saturday in June. The Shrine Center also has two golf tournaments for raising funds and having fun.
Tunis has five Shrine Clubs and eleven units. Several of these clubs and units have ladies as members. The Shrine Clubs are scattered throughout the jurisdiction. In 2021, the Brockville and District Shrine Club won a Shriners International Fun and Fellowship award in the “For Adapting an Existing Shrine Center, Club or Unit Event to have Fun During the Pandemic” category for their iPledge campaign.
This is not the first time Tunis has won an award. In the past Tunis has won numerous Dromedary awards for their newsletter and the Director’s Unit has won many awards with their mini-bikes and ceremonial Second Section.
Shriners like to have fun, especially with their families. Tunis is no different. The Hillbillies has one the largest memberships. They participate in parades and the crowds look forward to seeing the decorated riding lawn mowers, the manure spreader with hillbillies riding on them, a lady sitting in a rolling bathtub and the fan favourite, the outhouse with a noble sitting inside on the seat and his pants down! Each year they also hold a chow-down and a Hillbilly Ball.
Speaking of parades, crowds also look forward to the Air Force unit flying (driving) their planes along the parade route. The Klowns mingle amongst the crowd and the Kops have fun and always get their “bad guy”.
The Tunis Culinary Club is one of the newest clubs. Nobles and their ladies prepare, cook and eat international cuisine meals once a month. They’ve become a mouth- watering club to join.
The Oriental Band is going through a revival. They play at Oriental music at Ceremonials, Installation of Officers and other special events. According to the Band President “they play the sweetest music on this side of heaven.” One of their latest recruits is the Shrine Center’s piper, who plays the drums. However they will train anyone, regardless of musical talent.
From a fund-raising perspective, Tunis has been involved in many activities. They include the Circus (last held in 2015), golf tournaments, motorcycle poker runs, selling fruitcakes and shortbread, cash calendar draws and other events. There is also a program which allows members to give monthly donations. Funds from this program have been used at SHC-Canada for a capital purchase program and a Nurses Research Program. This program is examining how virtual reality can be used as a distraction while patients are receiving their care.
Tunis Shriners are a fun group. They look forward to helping children who require care in our health care system.
Clubs and Units:
- The 5 Tunis Shrine Clubs
- Air Force
- Culinary Club
- Oriental Band