The Order of Royal Purple was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia in September 1914. Several wives of the Elks created an informal group in 1913 to assist their husbands with benevolent, charitable and social work. In 1914, they became the recognized female auxiliary of the Elks of Canada. The objectives of the Order were to promote the principles of Justice, Charity, Sisterly Love and Fidelity, to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members or for other purposes. In addition, the Order was to quicken the spirit of women toward a pure and noble citizenship, to promote harmony and good fellowship, to relieve suffering whenever possible and to strive at all times to make “Life sweeter, women better, and the world happier.” The logo was a diamond with an elk head in the center, a clock pointing to 11 o’clock opposite a pansy and the word Canada on the banner. The pansy was the official flower of the Order.
The Royal Purple was a very secretive society. They required passwords for every meeting and National Conventions. The Password could only be changed by the Supreme Honored Royal Lady and the Lodges would be notified every 6 months of the password change. The colors of the Order were purple, white and gold. The tassels on their purple pill box hats represents the individual’s status. White tassel means lodge member, white and purple means Honored Royal Lady (or local president), gold for District Deputy, and purple for Supreme Honored Royal Lady (National Leader.) A non-member can be granted honorary memberships for their contributions to the Lodge. Meetings would begin and end with floor work. Each Lodge and District develop their own bylaws and Rules of Order. In 2014 the Supreme Executive of the Order of Royal Purple decided to secede from the Elks and start a new organization, the Canadian Royal Purple Society. Some locals, however, wished to remain with the Elks and these were integrated into the organization of the Elks of Canada as Royal Purple Elks Lodges.
Lethbridge Lodge No. 32 was instituted on April 27, 1928 by PSHRL Mattie Lane and 23 ladies were initiated into the Order. Teas, bake sales, craft sales, rummage sales, and bingos have been annual fundraising activities for the lodge. One of their larger projects was to supply an Audiology Unit (a brain stem evoked response audiometer) costing $40,000.00 for the Regional hospital. They also undertook to supply Lifeline Units to the Auxiliary Hospital. The ladies also supported the local Soup Kitchen, local Food Bank, Parents Place, Harbor House for abused women and children, Meals on Wheels, Keep in Touch as well as other charities. The Lodge was also a supporters of the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for children. They disbanded at the end of 2017.
- Information from the Royal Purple of Canada book and interview transcript
For more information check out the interview with Ann Marie MacDonald and the donation of Wilma Wood Royal Purple Regalia Accession Number P20170007001