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Arguably the best tour I’ve been on of any building, anywhere, the Hermetic Code Tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building is not your average tour.

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Led by the charismatic Dr. Frank Albo – tour guide and author of the book, The Hermetic Code – he enthusiastically reveals to us the mysteries of the building’s Masonic architectural secrets during this engaging 90-minute journey.

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There must have been 70+ people on this tour when I took it one July evening, and not once did anyone look at their watches during the entirety of the tour. It’s that good. Everyone, including myself (who had already spent the day fishing and visiting Lower Fort Garry while avoiding lightning and tornados) was completely captivated by the whole experience. This doesn’t happen too often on a tour, and when it does, it’s profound.

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Not into architecture? You don’t have to be. The tour is like playing a game of clue, where seemingly untold mysteries have been hiding in plain sight for generations, and only recently has Dr. Frank Albo been able to decode them.

For example, what’s the meaning behind the Golden Boy, or the pediment at the entrance to the building? What’s the point of the circular chamber?

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On the surface, we may be reading a superficial Manitoban symbolism (Agriculture! European immigration to the west! Bison!), but lurking behind every column, every stair, every square inch, is an architectural code used in great temples around the world. Is the Manitoba Legislative Building a temple masquerading as a house of government?

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From the sphinx and the Egyptian hieroglyphs on the exterior façades to the numerology and Christian symbols deep within, prepare to be wowed by these secrets that were hidden in plain sight for almost a century. For mystery lovers and architecture buffs, it’s an absolute must.

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The Hermetic Code Tour is available from Heartland Travel between May and September. A big thank you to Don Finkbeiner at Heartland Travel and to Dr. Frank Albo for including me on this tour. And thank you to the Gold Lounge staff at the Fairmont Winnipeg for surprising me the night before with a copy of the book.

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