Founded September 26, 1912 and incorporated under a special Dominion of Canada Charter. The first lodge was established in Vancouver, B.C. and the Officers and members expanded the Elks organization across Canada.
Charles E. Redeker became the first National Leader of the Elks of Canada.
The largest, all-Canadian, fraternal organization in Canada developed.
Prior to 1912 an Elks organization flourished in the USA. The Elks of Canada are not affiliated with the American Elks, but share a common history and enjoy a friendly relationship.
In the USA the Elks began with a group of actors and entertainers led by Charles A. Vivian, an Englishman. They chose the name Elk because of the animal’s stately qualities. The framework of the organization was developed at a meeting in New York on February 16, 1868 and spread rapidly becoming one of the most respected and successful organizations in the United States of America. It was only natural to base the Elks of Canada on such a fine example.
The Elks of Canada have grown to over 250 lodges with close to 15,000 members and are committed to our Vision of being the most progressive family focused organization in Canada, meeting community and member needs and expectations.
Over the years changes have been made to realize this Vision. In 1998 a referendum was passed by the membership removing the word male from the Constitution - permitting women to join the Elks.
The qualifications to become a member of the Elks are: Any person of good reputation, a believer in a Supreme Being, an adherent of lawful government and having attained the age of 16.
Members are initiated by their home lodge, become members of the National Order and receive a warm welcome in any lodge they visit across Canada. Think of it as a “national network” of friends.
All applicants must complete a membership application and be proposed by a member in good standing at a regular meeting of a Lodge. Membership fees are collected and a ballot/vote upon the admission of the candidate is taken. (Fees are determined by each local Lodge.) Once approved each member is “initiated” into the Elks by a special and meaningful ceremony. Once initiated they are entitled to all the privileges of membership in the Elks of Canada.
The men and women of the Elks of Canada promote and support community needs across Canada.