In 2014 the Rameses Firefighters Unit will celebrate our 45th anniversary. The Unit was formed in 1969 with 16 Nobles in attendance. Noble Ben Zlot was instrumental in the formation of this great unit and was its first Director. At that time he was Administrative Clerk with Metropolitan Toronto and had heard of the upcoming sale of a Fire Truck by the then Borough of Etobicoke. Noble Zlot purchased the truck with his own funds and then he worked diligently to form the Unit. Each new member contributed $50.00 to offset the cost of the truck, licensing, paint job and other expenses. The first meeting was held in Ben’s home in August 1969. Our first parade was October 3 rd , 1969.
Originally the truck was built in 1937 by Bickel Seagrave Company in Woodstock, Ontario for the Forest Hill Fire Department. It had a straight 12 cylinder engine and a 60 foot hydraulic aerial ladder, one of the largest of its time. Later the truck was sold to the Mimico Fire Dept. and then to the Etobicoke Fire Dept. In 1969 the truck was purchased by Rameses Shrine Firefighters Unit for $500.00. We have since replaced the engine with a gas powered 6 cylinder RD 450 International engine and we have also refurbished the truck at least twice since then.
The Firefighter Unit attends as many Shrine Events, Parades and Community functions as possible. We have participated in events in the U.S.A. and taken our famous Fire Truck as far away as New Orleans. In 1975 & 1989 we participated in the Shrine Imperial Session parades that were held in our home town, Toronto, ON, Canada. As a matter of fact we had so many members show up to ride on “Big Red” at these events that we had to make a call to the Toronto Fire Department to borrow an active Fire Truck so that all or our members could be in the parades.
In the 1980’s and early 1990’s the Firefighters Unit had a self controlled maximum membership of 55 proud members, plus honorary members, and we had a waiting list of Nobles anxious to become part of our esteemed Unit. Today we have fourteen (14) active members, two (2) of them Honorary and Charter Members. They are our Director & Chief, Noble Fred G. Lock and Noble Alf Shenfield.