ON HIS HERMETIC Code Tour of the Manitoba legislature

ON HIS HERMETIC Code Tour of the Manitoba legislature

Freemason symbolism at Winnipeg legislature

The rooftop sphinxes are incised with the cartouche of Tuthmosis III, the pharaoh thought to have created the first secret societies

WINNIPEG — Frank Albo, a real-life Robert Langdon, is warming to his topic.

“This building,” he says, “is telling a story. It’s telling a story through the language that temples spoke.”

The building is the Manitoba legislature. The language is that of symbols, one that would be decipherable by any Freemason. Or by someone who’s taken a keen interest in symbology, as Albo has.

“I was looking for something to write about for my undergraduate degree,” he says.

Driving by the legislature he noticed two sphinxes on its roof. That got him started. He talked the provincial government into giving him a grant to research the building.

It took two years. (“I figure I made about 35¢ an hour.”).

But he got a book out of it, The Hermetic Code, and created a tour of the legislature that can run from 90 minutes to two hours, depending on how excited he and his tour group get.

Everyone from high-ranking Freemasons to Queen Elizabeth’s ladies in waiting to fans of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (whose hero is symbologist Robert Langdon) has taken it.

Lots of public buildings have bits intended to put visitors in mind of something: lions in front of court houses, for example, underline the nobility and majesty of the justice dispensed within.

But, contends Albo, nearly everything in the Manitoba Legislature is loaded with meaning. One set of architectural features indicates you’re about to enter a temple, another are a manifestation of the Fibonacci sequence (which also plays a role in The Da Vinci Code).

When the legislature was built, between 1913 and 1920, these ciphers would have been readily understood, since virtually everyone associated with its construction, beginning with its architect, Frank Worthington Simon, was a Freemason.

As was every Manitoba premier from 1872 to 1966. (Ed Schreyer, who led the New Democrats to power, was the first who wasn’t.)

Some of the symbolism is hidden. The rooftop sphinxes, for example, are incised with the cartouche of Tuthmosis III, the pharaoh thought to have created the first secret societies. You can only see the cartouche if you climb on the roof.

Most, though, is in plain view. The legislature’s crowning glory, the Golden Boy, is Hermes, the Greek god of commerce, transportation, communication and crossroads — all the things that were to be central to Winnipeg’s future back in the 1900s, when it was believed that the city would become the Chicago of the north, home to 4.5 million people.

(Metropolitan Winnipeg’s current population is 675,000; Manitoba’s is 1.1 million.) Perhaps anticipating events, the sculptors of Golden Boy created him “not that well endowed,” says Albo.

For the Freemasons it was built for, the legislature was meant to constantly remind them of the noble aims of their society and the lofty goals of the province.

“A temple to morality,” Albo calls it. “A building that you walk through and it makes you wiser or more sagacious.”

At least it does if you can speak its language, or have the right interpreter.

Access

For more information on the Hermetic Code Tour visit the Heartland International Travel & Tours website at www.heartlandtravel.ca.

For information on Winnipeg visit the Tourism Winnipeg website at www.tourismwinnipeg.com.

Just Posted

Charles Hawkswell, Commander, of the Cape Lazo Power and Sail Squadron, presents a $1,000 cheque to the Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society. File photo
Comox removing moorage fees, hydro for Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society

Last year, the unit and society responded to more than 50 rescue missions in the past year

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident north of Courtenay nets almost 10-year sentence

Richard Daniel Vigneault was arrested without incident and faced 16 counts

Dr. Aref Tabarsi, a general pathologist at the North Island Hospital Campbell River Hospital Medical Laboratory, spoke about the issue of service in the region at a meeting in February 2020. Black Press file photo
Comox Strathcona hospital board wants pathology service back

UPDATED: Board supports move for chair, vice-chair to engage with Island Health on issue

Danielle Egilson has been awarded a $40,000 post-secondary scholarship with The Cmolik Foundation. Photo supplied
Student from Courtenay’s Vanier Secondary lands prestigious scholarship

Cmolik Foundation provides opportunities for youth who’ve experienced adversity

Poverty is a sad reality for some people in the Comox Valley. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Project takes a hard look at poverty in the Comox Valley

Objective is to reduce poverty in the Comox Valley by 25 per cent over four years

While the route to get there is a little different, downtown Courtenay is open and accessible right now. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Bridge — and downtown Courtenay — are open, say businesses

Incoming BIA president Sean Ferguson says parking is available

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Most Read