Jump to content

The Secrets of the Manitoba Legislative Building

The Secrets of the Manitoba Legislative Building

· 23 min. read

"There should be an Altar here, and a Priest, and the image of a god, and a victim, and a curved knife, and a circle of white-robbed worshippers around the outer edge of the Pool, and the victim should be on the altar and the curved knife should flash; the floor is stained; dull red stains are trickling through the black veins of the marble."

- Thomas Leslie, from the first guidebook written about the Manitoba Legislature, 1925

There are few buildings as impressive as the Manitoba Legislative Building. But, at first glance, it might not seem all that impressive -- it looks like every other legislative building in Western Canada. The most striking feature of the building is what's on top of the towering dome. Glistening against the blue prairie sky is the building’s iconic feature, the Golden Boy of Manitoba. But there's more than just the Golden Boy people that sets this building apart from all the others.

Manitoba Legislature

The designer of the Manitoba Legislature, Simon Frank, designed the Golden Boy following Giovanni da Bologna's 16th-century statue of Mercury. However, the statues are very different. Bologna's Mercury is pointing up, holding a caduceus, and wearing a winged crown. The Golden Boy is carrying one armful of fruit and vegetables, and the other hand is holding a torch. The original design of the Golden Boy was also supposed to have a winged crown and feet and have him standing on a golden ball, but this was changed in the final version. Although the two statues are very different, this also isn't the first time Mercury has been perceived as something different -- both by name, in appearance, and in flesh.

Frank Albo discusses this much more in his book The Hermetic Code: Unlocking One of Manitoba's Greatest Secrets. Albo believes that the Golden Boy might be a mix of Mercury's Greek counterpart Hermes, and the Egyptian god of writing, wisdom, and magic, Thoth. Even if you aren't familiar with Egyptian gods, you probably know of Thoth. He's the god with the long bird head. But The Golden Boy has a human head. How can it be inspired by Thoth when it looks like a normal human?

To understand this, we need to explore something that I was ignorant of before picking up Albo's book. In antiquity, Alexander The Great conquered much of the Near East, and travelled down to Cairo during his conquests. He was embraced for freeing the Egyptians from the Persians and became their ruler. He would bring Greek culture, religion, and philosophy to the Egyptians, and they would bring him mysticism, lore, and legend. With the mixing of cultures came a new belief system that has existed on the fringes of society for three hundred years longer than Christianity. This is Hermeticism, and the creator of it is Hermes Trismegistus.

I will save you from going down the rabbit hole that is Hermeticism. It's a religion based on the various works attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. Some of the words fall under the "technical" category of astrology, medicine, alchemy, and magic, while the other sets of works fall under "religious philosophy", such as the relationship between human beings, the cosmos, and God. Trismegistus was considered the wisest being to walk the planet, inspiring great minds like Plato, being associated with Biblical heroes like Moses or angles like Enoch, the Islamic prophet Idris, and even was debated by St. Augustine in his piece The City of God in the 5th Century.

Hermes Trismegistus gained popularity during the Renaissance due to The Emerald Tablets, a collection of writings that discuss alchemy and the creation of the Philosopher's Stone, which can turn any base metal into gold or silver. There was also the belief that the stone could be made to create an elixir that could cure illnesses, prolong life, and bring about spiritual revitalization.

Albo believes The Golden Boy is a statue of Hermes Trismegistus, such as the objects he is holding, his messaging of youth, wealth, and prosperity, as well as his iconic golden coating, all seem to fit the description.

But there is more than just the physical characteristics of the statue that point towards The Golden Boy being Hermes Trismegistus. Two Egyptian sphinxes rest in the shadow of his towering body, on the east and west sides of the building. Their presence can be considered a sign of the times, as Ancient Egyptian religion surged in popularity in the early 1900s. However, the hieroglyphs on the chest of the two sphinxes point to a different message. When translated, it says "The everlasting manifestation of the Sun God Ra, the good God who gives life" and is attributed to Thutmose III. Ra was said to give birth to Thoth, and with Thoth being one-half of Hermes Trismegistus, the creator of the Philosopher's Stone, one could argue that Ra was therefore the god that gave us everlasting life.

Sphinx on the Manitoba Legislature

I know, it's a stretch, and Albo knows it too. But there is much more going on at the Manitoba Legislative Building than just what's on the roof. Let's go to the ground level and continue from there.

As you approach the legislative building, there are a variety of stone sculptures on and around the building -- from sphinxes to statues of men and women signifying agriculture, art, industry, and science, as well as prominent heroes such as Britsh Major General James Wolfe and the founder of Manitoba, Louis Riel. However, one thing you won't see is gargoyles. This is peculiar as there are gargoyles on the exterior of other legislative buildings across Canada, including the Saskatchewan legislative building and the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

What makes this even more peculiar is that the gargoyles reside inside the building instead. Upon walking inside the building, the first thing you'll see are two herculean bronze bison guarding the towering staircase into the rotunda. But around the room are more signs of warning. The busts of both Medusa, a woman so ugly that even looking at her will turn man into stone, and Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, sexuality, and democracy, meet eyes across the room.  To bring two sworn enemies together -- Aphrodite is responsible for Medusa's affliction -- means their presence transcends the jealousy they have been made famous for. However, the room also sports fourteen lion heads and eight cattle skulls.

But why have these horrible beings haunted the insides of the most important building in Manitoba? They are an embodiment of apotropaic powers -- that is, the ability to ward off evil with more evil. What malevolent entity would invade a building where they are met with Medusa, and the woman who created Medusa?

Frank Albo's book goes into detail as to why Simon Frank built this room the way it is, but Albo believes the devil is in the details. Simon Frank (and Frank Albo too) was a Freemason, and their practice is about building a better world for all through architecture. The City Beautiful Movement of the late 1800s was a mass movement version of this. They believed that people could only have beautiful minds if they were surrounded by beautiful architecture. The Manitoba Legislature is an incredibly beautiful building, and was at the time, built in one of the fastest-growing cities in North America. Winnipeg was considered the center of the country, and many made similarities to its geopolitical importance, much like Rome or Jerusalem.

Since the conception of Manitoba, there have been many attempts to draw comparisons between it and the Holy Land. It was a land created by people who had lost their homes, their language, their culture, and their religion. It was carved out by a martyr who rose against modern-day Rome and died for his belief in freedom. It was an epicenter of commerce, trade, innovation, and, because of this, mythology, mysticism, and the divine.

It's one thing to make non-tangible connections between two distant worlds and two different groups, but Manitoba also had a very popular Russian-Jewish settling program during the early 1880s, with two neighborhoods both competing for the nickname Little Jerusalem.

This compounded onto each other and solidified the fact that if Manitoba was to be perceived as de facto capital of the new world, it needed a temple, much like Jerusalem once had.

Simon Frank used this idea and re-created the long-lost King Solomon's Temple in the shape of the Manitoba Legislature, using the same dimensions, numerology, and geometry, and recreated the spaces into modern versions. The room was filled with faces of monsters, skulls of cattle, and busts of lions that existed in King Solomon's Temple too, and was meant to ward all evil away.

Bison statues in Manitoba Legislature

Albo explains in his book, The Hermetic Code: Unlocking One of Manitoba's Greatest Secrets, that the bison may have a more religious meaning than just a respectable animal to the Metis. "These bison are meant to represent the sacred bulls which guard temple entrances in the ancient Near East. They're very clearly the protective beasts in the room where you'd expect to find protection."

If you are having trouble figuring out what sacred bulls Albo is referring to, he doesn't go into detail. However, he may be referring to Yahwism, a religion that formed out of the Cannonites and would later give birth to Second Temple Judaism. In Yahwism, the Abrahamic god Yahweh is part of a polytheistic pantheon, where He is the son of another god, El, and is husband to Ashera. Remnants of this can be seen in the Book of Job when God/Yahweh consults the Divine Council. In a monotheistic religion, there wouldn't be any need for their consultation, but it would be in a polytheistic one. When Second Temple Judaism started, El, Ashera, and the old ways of worshipping Yahweh were considered blasphemy. We can see this in the Book of Exodus when Moses comes down from Mount Sinai and sees them worshipping a golden bull. This was how Yahweh was perceived before, but as a god of many gods, not a single god.

Could Albo be saying that these bronze bison as a modern version of the golden bull? A modern version of an old god? Possibly. Albo explains when referring to the bull heads on the walls, "The skulls are, of course, copied from the ancient temples in the classic Mediterranean lands where they were survivals from the earliest times of the offering of animal sacrifices, when it was custom of the sacrificing priest to fasten the skull of the sacrificed animal high on the trunk of the tree beneath which the sacrificial ceremony was performed --- the groves were God's first temples."

We then travel up the Grand Staircase Hall, which is a perfect square, 66.6 feet on each side. Albo insists this has nothing to do with the Antichrist. Instead, it's the occult and the designated number of the sun. Ascending these stairs moves you physically from the land of monsters and beasts, through the sun, and into the sky.

From the top of the stairs, you can see inside the dome -- a cascading mosaic of blue and white, with rosettas of gold.

Dome of the Manitoba Legislature

But the dome isn't the reason we are here. We can never reach that. Instead, we look down at our feet and find before us the rotunda. Here, Albo says, if this was built to be the Temple of Solomon, would be the altar.

Of course, it looks like an altar, but so does every rotunda with a little imagination. Albo acknowledges this but also says that he wasn't the first to make the connection between the two. A 1923 guidebook by Thomas Leslie had it written that this area, sans robbed men, a knife, and a victim, has the tall tails signs for a place for human sacrifice.

It even has the blood.

At least, this is what Albo and Leslie believe.

Rotunda of the Manitoba Legislature

If we look down the pool of the rotunda, we can see The Black Star. This eight-pointed star demands attention as it crashes and spills across the white marble floor. This is the apparent blood of the sacrifice, if there was one. But there is much more to see, so let us take a tumble down the well and examine what lies below.

Black Star Pool in the Manitoba Legislature

The Black Star is very similar to that of the Star of Ishtar, another ancient god of antiquity. Ishtar is the Mesopotamian god of love and sexuality and would go on to be an inspiration for her Greek counterpart, Aphrodite.

But why would the symbol of Ishtar/Aphrodite be down here? If you take a look around, you’ll find a variety of green, bronze lamps, each with unisex faces staring back at you. These faces belong to Hermaphroditus, the love child of Hermes and Aphrodite. Hermaphroditus was said to be incredibly handsome, so much so that the nymph Salmacis forced herself upon him. In typical Greek fashion, instead of being upset, Aphrodite forced Salmacis and Hermaphroditus into one entity, a half-man, half-woman, the complementary parts of both of sexes.

This is important because of all the gods and goddesses found throughout the Manitoba Legislature, the only two who have a face and are recognizable without a doubt, are Hermes – on the roof – and Aphrodite – in the Grand Staircase Hall. Here, below them all, after giving up life, is their child, a perfect mixture of love between the god of alchemy and the god of sexuality.

But what does this have to do with anything at all? Who cares if there are unisex faces on lamps in the chamber below the rotunda?

It was believed that King Solomon’s Temple also had a chamber below the altar, and it too was marked by a Black Star. It was here that only the most holiest of holy could visit, and where the greatest of treasures were hidden. It was here, under the altar of King Solomon’s Temple, lost forever when the temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, here was the most powerful item to grace the planet before the creation of the nuclear bomb. Below King Solomon’s Temple was the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark was said to not only contain the Ten Commandments but also contain the power of the Lord within it, being able to flatten entire cities in mere moments. However, the story goes, that following the destruction of King Solomon’s Temple, it was lost forever. There are claims that it was discovered by the Knights Templar during their excavations between 1119 to 1128 CE. It has since been in their sole possession, but due to political instability in Europe, it was eventually moved over to North America. The Knight’s Templar would eventually merge and be part of Freemasonry.

If the Ark of the Covenant is in North America, why not bring it back to a replica of King Solomon’s Tomb? Frank Albo thinks it is here – maybe. The closest thing to the “holies of holiest” in the Manitoba Legislature is the lieutenant governor’s office, and within it is a copper spittoon showing an alchemical hermaphrodite, the same two-sex being as found in the chamber.

But there’s no Ark.

Instead, Albo says, it’s on the one place you’ll never look – right where we started.

On the roof of the Manitoba Legislature, right above the lieutenant governor’s office, is a statue of a chest, with the dimensions and description matching that of the Ark of the Covenant. However, instead of it being held by cherubs, it’s held by two men – one, a European settler, and the other an Indigenous warrior, a mixing of two worlds, on the belief of there being one god – or maybe a new god. Albo calls this the War Chest, which is an apt name for something the ancient Israelites would use to level cities.

Manitoba's Ark of the Covenant

I will admit, that it’s difficult to accept any of this as fact – or even a true interpretation of Simon’s design. Due to scandal after scandal, and runaway construction expenses, Frank Simon’s full vision for the Manitoba Legislative Building never came to pass. To this day, there are still empty alcoves and unfinished busts throughout the building. There are many questions, and unfortunately, very few answers.

But if there was any doubt there was some meaning behind the construction of that building, the best clue occurred on June 3, 1914, with the laying of the Manitoba Legislature cornerstone. That day, with Simon and various other Freemasons in attendance, the planets of Mercury (Hermes) and Venus (Aphrodite) lined up overhead, blessing the building from conception. Simon planned this perfectly and planned it for a reason. What that was though, is up to our speculation… and a little imagination too, just for fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about this building, you can buy The Hermetic Code: Unlocking One of Manitoba's Greatest Secrets by Frank Albo, or by booking a tour and seeing it for yourself.

Photo credit goes to The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Digital Collections.

 Don't forget to pin it!

The Secrets of the Manitoba Legislative BuildingThe Secrets of the Manitoba Legislative Building

Categories: Canada, History, Manitoba, Paranormal

Sharing this article helps the blog grow!

Get Your Complete List of What to See & Do in Regina!

    Related Posts

    The Magic Behind Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal

    Would you rather live in a perfect fantasy, or a flawed reality? This is the question Crystal from Cirque du Soleil's latest performance must ask herself. Is the pain and suffer ...

    Read More

    Categories: Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan

    110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

    I've known Jenn Smith Nelson for several years now, and I often look up to her for inspiration and guidance on how to grow with my blog. I remember hearing about her book over a ye ...

    Read More

    Categories: Canada, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Travel Tips

    Smells Like Town Spirit

    Article by Jessica Nuttall. Kraft Hockeyville is an annual competition sponsored by Kraft Heinz and the NHL. The winning community receives a cash prize that goes towards upgrad ...

    Read More

    Categories: Canada, Saskatchewan

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.
    To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy.