Annapolis Heritage Society | Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

The Painted Room Interpretive Tour

Masonic Imagery

Annapolis Royal is the birthplace of Freemasonry in Canada, and according to local tradition the first Masonic lodge held its meetings in this building in 1738. Frederick Sinclair, innkeeper in the 1780s and 1790s, was a member of Annapolis Royal Lodge, serving as master and then secretary until his death by suicide in 1800. During this period, the Lodge met in this building, probably in the ‘Painted Room’ – where conservation work has revealed possible Masonic iconography amongst the painted wall murals. In particular, arches and columns, central themes in Masonic symbolism and teachings.

Four columns, one in each corner of the ‘Painted Room’, are a design element originating in Egyptian temples. This is based in the belief that the sky was supported by four colossal pillars, one in each corner of the world, representing the four cardinal points of N,S,E,W. Masonic lodges to varying degrees reflect Egyptian form and design, and evidence of overpainting on the columns here suggests that they predate other portions of the wall murals.

It is a possibility the landscape in these images could be the hills of Digby and Digby Neck, the Annapolis Basin and Bear Island.

The Painted Room is an evolving story – if you want to add to the interpretation, please leave your comments in our guest book or email us at