The Orange Hall on High Street was a very busy part of Callander life for many years and was the location for many activities. St. Peter’s Anglican Church and Knox United/Presbyterian did not have halls then as they do today, so church dinners were held there.
The start date for the Orange Hall is not clear, but there is a membership certificate from the hall dated October 1907, so it is at least that old. Membership dropped rapidly after WW II, and the building was sold and became an apartment building in the early 1970s.
Not only was it the hall for Orange Lodge #429 and the LOBA or Ladies Orange Benevolent Association #1208, but it was the hall for many town activities.
Plays were held there. There is a lovely poster in the Callander Bay Heritage Museum of the 1916 Ladies Aid at Pumpkin Patch show. Attached to the poster are photographs of all the ladies in their special finery. When dinners were held there, everything needed to be brought. There was no running water until the late 1940s. For one Knox Presbyterian dinner in the 1920s, a surviving description stated that water was taken in barrels and tubs in which to wash dishes. A large Quebec Heater heated the water. The menu was Baked Ham, Beans, salads, pies and cakes – everything was put on the table. This was quite an event as there was a concert after the meal was eaten. The workers could sit down and enjoy the local talent. In the morning the cleaning up had to be done.
There was a stage with a dressing room on each side.
Movies were shown there, with seating on boards between chairs. Stan Guignard coached a boxing club there. The Girl Guides met there. The Teen and 20s Club had their meetings there.
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