John Coburn Memorial L.O.L. No. 3287
Innisfail, Alberta, Canada
About the Lodge
Orangemen rededicate name of Innisfail lodge
Loyal Orange Lodge #3287 in Innisfail is now the John Coburn Memorial Lodge
Johnnie Bachusky, May 22, 2022
INNISFAIL – Orangemen came by the dozens, along with many family members, to mark a special day they hope will trigger renewed interest for one of the town’s longest established service groups.
The Loyal Orange Lodge #3287, standing proudly downtown at 5204 - 49 Ave. since 1960, was the setting on May 6 and 7 for the Orangemen to host the Western Canadian sessions.
It was also an opportunity on May 7 for a dedication ceremony of a memorial garden and bench, and to rededicate the name of the old hall in the memory of John Coburn, a long-time member from Northern Ireland, Calgary and Innisfail who passed away on July 23, 2020.
“It is always going to be an Orange lodge but we were asked to honour a very dear member of the lodge, whose name was John Coburn, and we were given the rights to call his name this lodge,” said Ron Murphy, the master of the local lodge, who pointed out a corner inside the lodge that was dedicated to Coburn, who was a deputy master of the Innisfail lodge. “There is a banner here. His family is here, so we are going to do a small dedication out front by the garden and we’re going to come inside and dedicate the hall itself to his name.
“He was a long-time member, a long-time contributor, a great mentor to many of us and just a really nice gentleman,” added Murphy.
Coburn’s family members came to the service to join the Orangemen, some coming from other Canadian provinces to attend Orange Order business and to salute a recently passed loyal member.
Marie Coburn is the widow of John Coburn. She proudly said the dedication service was moving tribute, even if her late husband would have been “embarrassed” by the attention.
“I am really, really pleased. I think this is great,” said Marie. “John was a very quiet man. He would be so embarrassed by all of this. If he was here, he would be the first one in that hall and hiding in the corner.”
She added that the Orange fraternity meant “everything” to her late husband. “He would have been in it 53 years this year because he was in it from Belfast as well,” added Marie, noting she and John came to Canada in 1981.
The Loyal Orange Lodge #3287 and its first members arrived in Innisfail in 1898 to spread the message of the Orange Order, a service organization that began in County Armagh in what is now Northern Ireland in 1795.
According to the Grand Orange Lodge of Canada, the organization stands for a democratic government, promoting and maintaining the Protestant faith, and supporting the monarchy, public schools, supremacy of law and a united Canada.
Orange lodges once had a big influence in many small communities across Canada, including in Alberta and in Innisfail.
The Innisfail Orange Lodge once had up to 40 members, which included local businessmen and farmers, who were once headquartered near where the ATB building now stands.
However, local interest in the Orange Order dwindled in recent decades. There are now just 16 members. All reside in Calgary.
For the past two years the local Orangemen, who have dual membership to Calgary and Innisfail lodges, have been on a mission to boost their profile in town. They have invested thousands of dollars to renovate the local lodge.
“Renovations are still ongoing. We have been trying our best to get the hall back into some type of semblance that it used to be,” said Murphy of the refurnished and repainted hall that is filled with Orangemen memorabilia. “We are just trying to make sure it’s a place our members and people would like to come to.
“We have been renting the hall out to local Innisfailians as well and they have enjoyed coming here,” added Murphy. “We think the rate is right for renting the hall. We are just trying to make it a place to be back in the community again.”
Orange Lodge resets commitment to Innisfail
Service group hosts open house at revamped hall
Johnnie Bachusky, Oct 11, 2020
INNISFAIL – One of the town’s oldest service groups, dormant for many years, finally reopened its doors to the public with a goal to be once again accepted as a valuable resource for the entire community.
The Orange Lodge held an open house for the public on Sept. 12 at its downtown area hall, located at 5204 - 49 Ave.
It was a chance for the public to learn more about the Innisfail Orange Lodge, which is affiliated with the Canadian branch of the Orange Order, a Protestant fraternal organization that began in County Armagh in Ireland in 1795.
As a service club, the Orange Lodge was once a major force in the town and region for many decades but membership has since dwindled, and today’s members, all of whom reside out of town, are attempting to revive interest.
Ron Murphy, master of the local Orange Lodge, said he was pleased with the public response to the open house. He said service club members were anticipating anywhere from 10 to 50 people to drop by the hall for a coffee, or soda, some snacks, and chat about the community and the long century-old history of the Orange Lodge in the community.
“We want to just embrace the community, and move forward in what we do with the community,” said Murphy, noting the primary goal of the 12-member club is to once again be an important contributor for the entire community.
To start that process, members put together a $5,000 budget earlier this year to fix up the old hall, which has been in town for more than a half century, although members are still trying to determine its origins and when it was actually built.
Over the summer club members came in from out of town and fixed up the building, which included a new paint job.
“A gentleman came by and said he used to bring his two nannies to play cards here on a Friday night,” said Murphy of the recent feedback the service group has received over the summer leading to the open house. “We would love to be back in that situation with the community but it takes time. This is the first step.
“I know my members are happy with what they’ve seen,” he said, adding the Orange Lodge is also aiming to partner with other local service groups on community projects. “I am tremendously happy with what they’ve done so far, and what we’ve accomplished during the summer months, and I am looking forward to doing more of that.”
The open house also served to attract interest in the community to rent the old hall, which will give the Orange Lodge revenues to pay for the cost to maintain the hall.
“It was a shame to all of us collectively that this building sits idle 29 days a month,” said Murphy. “We are not for profit so we just need to look over our costs. If we start to make a profit we are going to turn that back into the community.
“What we are all about now is a little bit of self-survival and that we need to get this building utilized a little bit more to offset our overheads.”
Murphy said there was significant interest shown during the open house from various groups and individuals looking into the possibility of renting the hall, both for one-off events and for regular use.
5204 49th Avenue, Innisfail, Alberta