Duncan Is Now A Hub For The Freemasons Cancer Car Program

Temple Lodge, No.33 is pleased to announce that the Freemasons Cancer Car program has just stationed a vehicle in Duncan to better serve the needs of Duncan and Cowichan Valley patients.

Click the following link to find out more about the Freemasons Cancer Car Program in the Cowichan Valley.

For more information on becoming a Cancer Car Volunteer, see www.cancercarsnow.ca

Doug Sowden, the Cancer Car program co-ordinator for Vancouver Island, with the Cancer Car vehicle now stationed in Duncan.
Doug Sowden, the Freemasons Cancer Car program co-ordinator for Vancouver Island, with the Cancer Car vehicle now stationed in Duncan.
The Cancer Car vehicle now stationed in Duncan with some of the volunteers running the Freemasons Cancer Car Program in the Cowichan Valley.
The Freemasons Cancer Car vehicle now stationed in Duncan with some of the volunteers running the Freemasons Cancer Car Program in the Cowichan Valley.

Why Have A Cancer Car  Program?

Of the various treatments for cancer, radiation therapy facilities, because of their expense, have been installed only in a limited number of communities in British Columbia. Consequently many patients needing this type of treatment have to travel a considerable distance. The only radiation treatment center on Vancouver Island is in Victoria adjacent to the Royal Jubilee Hospital to which patients requiring this type of treatment travel from all over the Island. While undergoing their treatments, which can last several weeks, most patients stay at the Canadian Cancer Society lodge, 2202 Richmond Road Victoria, BC V8R 4R5,  Phone: (250) 592-2662, where accommodation is provided at a nominal cost.

What Is The Freemasons Cancer Car Program?

In April 5, 1989, the Freemasons of British Columbia, through their Masonic Community Charities Fund [note: PDF], undertook to support the Canadian Cancer Society (C.C.S) Volunteer Driver Program and assist in the transportation of cancer patients from their home area to a treatment facility.

At that time, three five-passenger vehicles were provided by the Freemasons to the Canadian Cancer Society. The entire cost of replacement vehicles, insurance, maintenance, repair and operation of these vehicles was undertaken by the Freemasons for an agreed period of fifteen years, which has now been extended to the year 2017.

Initially the program was designed to serve the needs of cancer patients in Vancouver and the lower mainland. In August, 1991, the program was expanded to meet the needs of patients living on Vancouver Island. Currently  the Island program has five vans operating out of Nanaimo, Duncan, Port Alberni, Campbell River and Courtenay. This program relies on the services of over 200 volunteers, who give freely of their time to dispatch, drive and maintain these vehicles. All told in British Columbia, the Freemasons now operate seventeen vans dedicated to the transportation needs of cancer patients requiring therapy.

Cellular telephones have been installed in all these vehicles to ensure that drivers have direct communications with dispatchers and other vans.

The Freemasons’ Cancer Car Program differs considerably from the majority of the Volunteer Driver Programs throughout B.C. in that ALL DIRECT EXPENSES ARE PAID BY THE MASONIC COMMUNITY CHARITIES FUND AND ALL VOLUNTEERS DONATE THEIR TIME.

For more information, see the Grand Lodge of B.C. & Yukon website.

The Freemasons’ Cancer Car Program On Vancouver Island

The Freemasons’ Cancer Car Program on Vancouver Island presently covers the territory stretching from Mill Bay in the south to the northern tip of the Island, a distance of approximately 500 kilometres.  It serves all communities along the Island Highway and also the Alberni Valley in the middle of the Island.

The program consists of a number of hubs with vans located in Duncan, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Comox-Courtenay and Cumberland (2 vans) and Campbell River.  There is a local maintenance person in each area to ensure the vans are kept in top mechanical and cosmetic condition.

In each hub there is also a local dispatcher who receives from the local unit of the Canadian Cancer Society, or from the Cancer Lodge in Victoria, information about clients needing rides.   The dispatcher consults his roster of drivers and selects one, then informs him of the passengers’ names, pick-up points and times, and times of appointment in Victoria.   The dispatcher works with the local Canadian Cancer Society dispatcher in some cases to arrange rides to the Freemasons’ Cancer Car Program pick-up points.

Dispatchers coordinate among themselves the loads for the various vans.  Generally, the Comox Valley dispatcher will talk with the Campbell River dispatcher before she arranges rides with Nanaimo.  The Nanaimo dispatcher will work with Port Alberni first, then he will check with Comox Valley dispatcher.  Then the Nanaimo dispatcher will offer “seats” to the Cowichan Valley dispatcher.

Vans can pick-up and drop off passengers at the door in their area, if there is only one passenger for that trip.

The vans can run five days a week, if there are passengers.  Our usual sequence is to take passengers to Victoria on Mondays and return them on Fridays; however, if there is sufficient demand we can run vans on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  The maximum number of passengers and drivers per van is six, except for rare circumstances when a short shuttle is needed for one extra person.  For example, if there are 5 clients in Campbell River (and 2 drivers) then the Campbell River van can go to Courtenay and transfer at least one client to a Comox Valley van.

In short, the Canadian Cancer Society tells us of our passengers and in some cases arranges transportation from home to our pick-up point.  The dispatchers arrange the van loads and contact the passengers and drivers to let them know the “when and where’s”.  It is the dispatchers’ role to attempt to maximize the van loads to save costs.  Thus, we do not send down two clients from Port Alberni and three clients from Nanaimo in separate vans.  The Port Alberni van would pick up the Nanaimo clients on the way through.

The dispatcher, or in some areas the maintenance person, forwards to the coordinator at the end of each month the following:   number of patients;  number of drivers; number of trips ( each passenger carrying journey); cost of fuel; and any other pertinent information regarding the vans.

Samuel Robinson (1856-1928) – Our Featured Deceased Member of Temple Lodge for April 2016

Each month we feature a deceased member of Temple Lodge, No.33 as both a memorial and a way of highlighting the history of Temple Lodge, No.33 and its member. Our featured deceased Brother for April 2016 is Samuel Robinson (1856-1928), a Charter Member of Temple Lodge, No.33 in December 1899.

Samuel Robinson (1856-1928) was a member of Ashlar Lodge, No. 3 in Nanaimo when he became a Charter Member of Temple Lodge, No. 33 in December 1899. He was Worshipful Master of Temple Lodge, No.33 in 1902.

Samuel Robinson, Worshipful Master of Temple Lodge, No.33 in 1902
Samuel Robinson (1856-1928), Worshipful Master of Temple Lodge, No.33 in 1902, (photo copyright Temple Lodge, No.33)

Samuel Robinson was a carpenter and builder by trade. One building he built is known to be standing at 126 Ingram Street in downtown Duncan, which he built as a residence for fellow Temple Lodge, No.33 member Andrew Hans Peterson. The house is now know as the Green Door.

Green Door, Ingram Street in downtown Duncan. Built in 1903 by Samuel Robinson for Andrew Hans Peterson.
Green Door, 126 Ingram Street in downtown Duncan. Built in 1903 by Samuel Robinson for Andrew Hans Peterson.

According to his 1928 obituary in the Cowichan Leader newspaper (see below), Samuel Robinson came to the Cowichan Valley in 1893. Here is a photograph of Samuel Robinson as part of a hunting expedition in May 1894 on Mt. Prevost, north of Duncan. This photo is part of a family collection and is used with the permission of Sylvia J. Dyer, the daughter of Temple Lodge, No.33 member Claude Green (1904-2003), Past Grand Master.

Temple Lodge charter member Samuel Robinson as part of a hunting expedition on Mt. Prevost, north of Duncan. (photo courtesy of Sylvia J. Dyer, used with permission)
Temple Lodge charter member Samuel Robinson as part of a hunting expedition on Mt. Prevost, north of Duncan. (photo courtesy of Sylvia J. Dyer, used with permission)

As another brief historical note: Elias Castley, who appears seated in the lower lower right of the photo, was involved in the formation of the Duncan Volunteer Fire Department. He died in 1908 when he fell from the tower of the fire hall while hanging a bell. His house (now demolished) was adjacent to the Green Door, 126 Ingram Street, which was built by Samuel Robinson in 1903.

Here is a brief biography of Wor. Brother Samuel Robinson taken from Temple Lodge, No. 33 records and his obituary in the Cowichan Leader newspaper:

First, see our Formation of Temple Lodge page for more information on Samuel Robinson as one of the 14 Charter Members of Temple Lodge, No.33 in December 1899.

“…The Worshipful Master stated, with very much regret, that Wor. Brother Robinson was rapidly failing, he had visited him twice just recently and it was very evident that his days amongst us were drawing to a close…..”

(Source: Temple Lodge, No. 33 – Minute Book, Regular Meeting of 12 June 1928)

“Minutes of an Emergency Communication of Temple Lodge, No. 33 A.F. & A.M., G.R.B.C., held on Sunday the 17th day of June 1928 at the hour of 2:00 pm.

The Lodge was opened in due and ancient form by Worshipful Brother Christopher Dobson, Acting Worshipful Master, Presiding in the East, Officers, brethren and Visitors as shown by the porch book.

The Acting Worshipful Master stated that the Emergency Communication had been called for the purpose of carrying out the sad duty of interring the remains of our late Brother Samuel Robinson who had passed on to the Grand Lodge Above on the 15th day of June 1928.

The Acting Worshipful Master then ordered the Secretary to deposit in the archives of the Lodge a roll inscribed as follows:

Worshipful Brother Samuel Robinson

“Born February 2nd in the year 1856 at Longford, in the county of Derby, England.

Died at Duncan in the Province of British Columbia on the 15th day of June 1928, in the 73rd year of his age.

He was made a Mason at Dundee, Scotland.

He became a member of Temple Lodge, No. 33 when that Lodge was granted a dispensation in December 1899, and he remained an active member up to the time of his death. In 1902 he was appointed Master of the Lodge, and for many years prior to his death he held the important office of Tyler of Temple Lodge.”

The Lodge was then formed in procession and proceeded to St. Mary’s Cemetery, Somenos, where the remains were laid to rest with due form, ceremony and honours.

On return to the Lodge Room the Secretary was instructed to forward a letter of condolence to the relatives of our late Brother, it was also decreed that the charter should be draped for one month.

There being no further business the Lodge was closed in due and ancient form, peace and harmony prevailing….”

(Source: Temple Lodge, No. 33 – Minute Book, Emergent Meeting of 17 June 1928)

“Robinson – Mr. Samuel Robinson, who had been ailing for some time past, died on Friday morning at the King’s Daughters’ Hospital, Duncan.

He was born at Longford Village, some ten miles from Derby, England, on February 4th, 1856, where his father was a farmer, carpenter and builder. On leaving school he was apprenticed to his father and followed the trades of carpentry and cabinet making. At one time he worked on the Clyde on the interior decorating of vessels.

In 1882, Mr. Robinson migrated to York centre (near Chicago), where he joined and worked with his brother, Arthur, who had large cheese and butter factories there. After six years in Illinois, Mr. Robinson went back home. He was in Scotland for seventeen months and at Longford for a year and then returned to Chicago. This was in 1892 and he stayed to see the World’s Fair in the following year.

In the fall of 1893 he came here, where his brother, Arthur, had preceded him and had bought a farm at Sahtlam. Here Mr. Robinson followed his old trade. He resided on Kenneth Street, near the Country Club. [Note: Samuel Robinson’s house is no longer extant.The Country Club was around present day Kenneth Street and Boundary Street]

He will be remembered as a gentle, kindly old man, with a goodly store of reminiscences. He became a Mason in Dundee, Scotland, and on the formation of Temple Lodge, A.F.& A.M., No. 33 in Duncan in December 1899, he became one of its charter members. He was Worshipful Master in 1902 and for a great many years he held the office of Tyler.

About sixty of his sorrowing brothers attended the funeral on Sunday afternoon, from the Masonic Temple to St. Mary’s Churchyard, Somenos, whither his body was borne by six pastmasters, Wor. Bros. A.H. Peterson, Thomas Pitt, J.M. Campbell, W.M. Dwyer, K.F. Duncan and James Greig, while a similar number of pastmasters were present among the brethren as was Mr. C.H. Dickie, M.P. and Rt. Wor. Bro. D.H. Ker, P.D.D.G.M., Junior Grand Warden, Grand Lodge of B.C. The Masonic service was in charge of Wor. Bro. C. Dobson, acting for Wor. Bro. W.B. Harper, W.M.

The committal service of the Church of England was conducted by the Rev. F. Granville Christmas.

Mr. Robinson leaves behind an older brother, William, in England and six nephews, Walter, Gilbert and Henry Robinson, Sahtlam; and W.F. and Arthur, of Aldergrove; and three nieces, Mrs. M.D. Castley and Mrs. I. Bonsall, Duncan and Mrs. W. Roseboom, Victoria.

The funeral arrangements were made by Mr. L.C. Brockway.”’

(Source: Cowichan Leader, 23 June 1928 – from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

Samuel Robinson is buried in St. Mary’s Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan, B.C. His original gravestone has disappeared but Temple Lodge, No.33 replaced it with the current grave marker shown in the photos below.

Samuel Robinson grave, St. Mary's Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan, B.C.
Samuel Robinson grave, St. Mary’s Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan, B.C.
Samuel Robinson grave marker, St. Mary's Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan, B.C.
Samuel Robinson grave marker, St. Mary’s Somenos Anglican Cemetery, North Cowichan, B.C.