Voluntary Associations in British Columbia’s Frontier Communities: The Case of Freemasonry in Kelowna, 1905-1914 Stephenson, Brian P.
Addressing a gap in British Columbia’s provincial, and Kelowna’s local, historiography, this thesis examines the role of Freemasonry in the growth of British Columbia and its early frontier communities. Arriving in Victoria prior to British Columbia joining Confederation in 1871, Freemasonry demonstrated itself to be a uniquely British form of social capital, the fraternity’s role in early Victoria foreshadowing the organization’s influence throughout the interior of the province. As seen through a microstudy of the frontier community of Kelowna in 1905, Freemasonry in British Columbia acted as an early social network regionally and locally, providing a province-wide system of connections while promoting similarly strong ties between individuals within the emerging communities themselves. A force for social organization, Masonic Lodges countered social disorder within British Columbia’s frontier communities and eased movement between them while influencing notions of respectability, masculinity, and civic responsibility.
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