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Published in - – Red Deer Advocate – March 15, 2015

Canada’s Da Vinci Code Capital

Manitoba’s legislative building was designed more than 100 years ago, yet only recently has its freemason heritage and symbolism been discovered.

The Manitoba legislature is one of the last places you would expect to find hieroglyphics, Egyptian sphinxes, a bust of Medusa, Greek gods, hidden symbols and other elements of the occult. But all of those things were hidden in plain sight by the original architect and the builders, who were all freemasons.

British architect Frank Worthington Simon believed that architecture has the capacity to reform the soul and he designed the Manitoba legislature to be a replica of King Solomon’s temple. He placed ideas and symbols in the building hoping the public would figure it out, but it took a century for that to happen.

About 10 years ago, a research fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Winnipeg was walking past the Manitoba legislature when he noticed that the beloved golden statue on top of the building bears a strong resemblance to the Greek god Hermes. Holding up a torch and carrying a sheaf of grain, Manitoba’s Golden Boy was said to “be the embodiment of enterprise and youth, facing north to where the province’s natural resources lie.”

As it turns out, the Golden Boy was also a symbol of freemasonry and Hermeticism.

The philosophic power of freemasonry lies in its symbols. Frank Albo, the student who first discovered hidden symbolism in the Manitoba legislature building, has spent many years since researching it. While writing a thesis on the building, Albo discovered that the numbers 5, 8 and 13 can be found in virtually every room of the building. The number 666 is also found throughout the building whose length and width are both exactly 666 feet. The room that houses the grand staircase is 66.6 feet in length and there are three sets of 13 steps leading to the second floor. The hidden symbolism goes on and on.

At the time the legislature was built, Winnipeg was booming. The city had more millionaires per capita than any other city in Canada and perhaps even all of North America. Some experts were predicting that Winnipeg would be the next New York City. Simon designed the legislature to be his crowning achievement in one of North America’s top cities and left hidden symbols for visitors to discover.

Unfortunately, things did not turn out quite as he planned. Winnipeg did not become the next New York City and it took a century for someone to discover the mysticism in the monument.

“It’s the Da Vinci Code of Winnipeg,” said Michelle Gervais, owner of Ô Tours in Winnipeg on a recent visit. “It’s been here for 100 years and not one politician figured it out. The head architect was a freemason, the man who created the Golden Boy was a freemason, many of the builders were freemasons and the mayor at the time was a freemason, so no one pointed out the hidden symbolism.”

If you visit Winnipeg, a tour of the legislature is an absolute must. Few buildings in Canada can claim to have this level of mysticism secretly woven into their design. The Manitoba legislature is much more than meets the eye.

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Exploring the Alberta Legislature Building

As it turns out, Alberta’s legislature has some secrets of its own. If you’ve ever wondered where Alberta’s redneck image came from, you should check out Alberta’s first mace, which is on display at the legislative building. The mace is the symbol and emblem of the authority of the Crown in government, and every provincial and territorial assembly in Canada has one.

When Alberta politicians met for the first time, they realized that no one had thought to order a mace, so a makeshift one was fashioned from household items and painted gold. Alberta’s first mace was made from a lead pipe decorated with pieces of a handsaw, a shaving mug, buttons and the float from a toilet tank. The make-shift mace was meant to be used temporarily, but it worked so well it was used for 50 years.

Tours of the legislature are fascinating and they are free. Besides the original mace, make sure to look at the pictures of past premiers — one of the paintings has six fingers on the right hand.

There’s a tribute to the Famous Five Alberta women who challenged the notion that women are not persons. And there’s also a magic spot where you can stand and hear the sounds of a fountain mysteriously emanating above your head.

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The Heart of Canadian Government

Parliament Hill attracts approximately three million visitors each year. Located on a hill on the southern banks of the Ottawa River, visitors can tour the beautiful grounds and the historic buildings either on their own or on a free guided tour. If Parliament is in session, it’s possible to watch live debates in both the Senate and the House of Commons.

During the summer months, you can watch the colourful changing of the guard ceremony on the lawn and enjoy the evening music and military spectacular known as Fortissimo. Fortissimo features the band of the Ceremonial Guard, as well as dancers, pipers and soldiers.

Canada Day celebrations are over-the-top on Parliament Hill and Carillon concerts using the 53 bells of the Peace Tower take place year-round. Be sure to visit the Peace Tower and take the elevator up to the top for an incredible view of Ottawa.

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