The Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine was founded by Dr. Walter M. Fleming (1838/06/13-1913/09/09) in either August 1870 in New York or June 16th, 1871 in Brooklyn. Purportedly based on the anecdotes of the New York based international actor William J. Florence (1831/07/26 - 1891/11/19) who claimed to have attended a meeting of the Order of Bektash of Oriental Europe in Marseille and participated in meetings in Algiers, Cairo and Aleppo (Haleb, Syria). The organization was established on September 26, 1872, in Brooklyn. The story of Florences initiation has been considered a fictional embroidery since at least 1918.
Since 1920, with the establishment of the first friendless, orphans and crippled childrens home, the Shriners have been distinguished by an enjoyment of life in the interest of philanthropy. The approximately 660,000 member organization has a buoyant philosophy which has been expressed as "Pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness and jollity without coarseness." The most noticeable symbol of the Shrine is the distinctive red fez that all Shriners wear at official functions.
Shriners are men who enjoy life. They enjoy parades, trips, circuses, dances, dinners, sporting events and other social occasions together. Every effort is made to be sure a Shriner has a variety of activities from which he may choose.
Men from all walks of life and all levels of income find fun, fellowship and relaxation in their individual Shrine Clubs and Units. There are 191 Shrine Temples located in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Republic of Panama.
Shriners support what has become known as the " Worlds Greatest Philanthropy," Shriners Hospitals for Children. There are 191 Shrine Temples located in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Republic of Panama.
Shriners of British Columbia and the Yukon can be found online at http://www.bcshriners.com