Ontario Freemasonry moves into the Future

The Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario hopes that these articles through the
year have shown that Freemasonry is, today, a very extensive institution which includes
components for men, women, young men and young women. We believe it helps improve and
enhance their moral character and to understand the essence of the concept of “service to all.”

But it doesn’t stop here. Our Grand Lodge, through good and difficult times, has seen its
membership expand and contract. In recent years this appears to be in response to changes in
basic society influenced by the “computer age.” Many studies have shown that this membership
shrinkage has affected churches and social support organizations, Boy Scouts, etc as many of our
young people have turned away from understanding the concept of “service” to one of “self.” But
the needs are there and as we respond more publicly to assisting men, women, children, the old
and the young we will take satisfaction from our own service to others. This is not to change our
way of life, but to apply the fundamental principles we are taught: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
In this way we may demonstrate the value of belonging to, and actively participating in, this
Fraternity we all love, support and enjoy.

For those interested in further information on Freemasonry in Ontario please contact us at 363
King Street West, Hamilton, L8P 1B4 or at our website (https://grandlodge.on.ca/).

* * * * * *

What can we learn from these pulsating waves of Freemasonry? We can find common ground
for collaborative work in a friendly atmosphere. Persistence and perseverance will prosper in the
long term. People of different races, religions, nationalities and language can find common ground
beneficial to all. We can accommodate diversity in society. There are many different paths to
achieve the same benefits.

As prepared by Michael Jenkyns, Grand Historian, Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Canada
in the Province of Ontario

“The Masonic Foundation of Ontario and the Future”
“The Beacon of Ontario Masons”

How many times have we heard from Masons and non-Masons, both men and women, “My grandfather was a Mason”, or “My father was a Mason”. Something triggered their response. In many instances it was derived from the knowledge of a charitable act on our part, as Masons. From the moment a man becomes a Mason he is instructed as to the virtue of Charity and is consistently reminded of the needs of those in our society who are less fortunate than us. This was the basis on which the Masonic Foundation of Ontario was established, with the motto at that time, “For the Cause of Good”, and was expanded on its 50th anniversary to “Masons giving...For the Cause of Good”, to show the community the Charity of a Mason’s heart.

During the first two years, from 1964, the Grand Lodge transferred $161,507.29 to establish the Capital Fund of the Foundation. This gave the Foundation a small income of about $4,000 and only the ability to provide non-repayable bursaries to needy university and college students in their senior years. The Capital Fund increased very gradually in the following years when in 1978 it reached $310,320 (with an income of $19,650). It was clear that, if the Foundation’s ability to assist was to become more useful, a concerted effort at fund-raising would be required. President William K. Bailey initiated the first major fund-raising campaign (Project H.E.L.P.) to mark the 125th Anniversary of Grand Lodge in 1980 and when the project finished, it had raised over $620,000. Likewise in 1987, President Richard Richards announced that the Foundation initiated another major fund-raising campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of the Foundation entitled “Help Nip Drugs in the Bud”, and raised $1,171,000 by the end of 1989. In 1999 President Neil Britton announced the launch of the Millennium project, “HELP-2-HEAR” and at its conclusion raised over $2.1 million. These three fund-raising projects provided the financial base that permitted the Foundation to undertake meaningful initiatives in both medical research in the auditory field and informing the youth of the province of the dangers of addiction.

Over the years the Masonic Foundation of Ontario initiated other fund-raising opportunities, such as the Foundation yellow envelope and the grey envelope programs, as well as “Planned Giving” from which many bequests were received from Masons and their families, through their wills and their survivors. Bequests valued from a few hundred dollars to multi-million dollars. All of this enabled the Foundation’s Capital Fund to grow to over $15 million by July, 2016. As a consequence the Masonic Foundation of Ontario has donated and distributed about $15 million, since its founding in 1964, to projects and organizations throughout Ontario on behalf of the Masons of Ontario.

The Executives and Directors of the Foundation, in combination with professional portfolio and account management companies, safeguard and protect the Foundation’s Capital Fund, which form the basis of its income and donations.

Every year the Foundation receives many submissions and proposals from various organizations and individuals, which must be investigated, recommended for consideration or not able to endorse. As we have seen, times change, circumstances evolve, needs of the community vary, the medical field advances and modernizes, offering new and interesting opportunities to consider for funding.

When originally in the process of forming the Masonic Foundation of Ontario, the Special Committee held meetings throughout the year. On July 18, 1963, at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge, the Committee stated that the Foundation was to be “the means of broadening the scope of Grand Lodge benevolence, and attracting substantial financial resources which will greatly increase the interest and participation of the Craft in its benevolent outreach.” This benevolent outreach must extend into the community and show “Masons giving..For the Cause of Good”.

Therefore, the Masonic Foundation of Ontario, with the assistance of every Mason in Ontario, is and will be the “Beacon of Ontario Masons”, shining our benevolent light to our community.

As prepared by                 Allan C. Dvorak, President, Masonic Foundation of Ontario

“The Masonic Foundation of Ontario and the Present”


Before looking at the Masonic Foundation of Ontario today it’s important to briefly review the thinking and reasoning for the establishment of the Foundation in 1964. Freemasonry, in general and in Ontario, was progressing from mainly internal benevolence of giving donations and charity primarily to its members, their orphans, widows and relatives in order to meet their needs due to the lack of outside social assistance, which was not available in those early times, to focusing on community based charities.

The social assistance structure being provided to individuals presented the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, through the Masonic Foundation of Ontario, an opportunity to direct its donations and charity to community based organizations and projects.

The Foundation had a small income from its small Capital Fund in 1965 and decided that its first responsibility would be to provide non-repayable bursaries to needy college students in their senior years. As the income gradually increased from its Capital Fund, in May, 1971, it announced that the Foundation was “favourably disposed toward making contributions to medical and scientific research, when funds become available”. In 1987, President Richards announced that the Foundation proposed to mark its 25th anniversary by another major fund-raising endeavour, this one intended to provide support at the community level for dealing with the problem of youth and drugs. The campaign adopted the title “Help Nip Drugs in the Bud”. As the new Millennium approached, the Foundation Executive believed that the time was appropriate to launch another province-wide fund-raising endeavour. At the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in July, 1999, President Britton announced the launching of “HELP-2-HEAR”. This was a hearing medical research project which was not currently championed by mass public support.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors consistently review and determine which charities and programs are maintained, ended or added, for a more effective use of its members’ contributions and Capital Fund income.

In July, 2013, the Directors of the Foundation made the decision to fund three specific far-reaching and advanced prostate cancer research projects which resulted in the major fund-raising drive known as “Prostate Hope”. It was proposed by the Grand Master, Most Wor. Bro. Donald A. Campbell, at that time, and continued and supported by the present Grand Master Most Wor. Bro. John C. Green, primarily due to the number of men within the Fraternity being affected with prostate cancer and prostate issues.

Continuing with the support of initiatives set over the past many years, the Foundation is now supporting Endowed Bursary Funds to senior students, Giant Steps (Autism), a school and therapy centre for children with autism, Parent Action on Drugs (PAD) and their Peer Education Programs which have professional trainers, train senior students to work with junior students, throughout Ontario schools, on the harmful effect of drugs and alcohol. The Foundation is very active in supporting Youth Initiatives with Scouts Canada (Ontario Division), Girl Guides of Canada (Ontario Division), 4HCouncil of Canada (Ontario Division), DeMolay and Rainbow for Girls.

As prepared by                        Allan C. Dvorak, President, Masonic Foundation of Ontario

Our Purpose

Making Good Men Better.

Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world. Its members share a common goal of helping each other become better men. Its body of knowledge and system of ethics is based on the belief that each man has a responsibility to improve himself while being devoted to his family, faith, country, and fraternity.

Its roots go back centuries and its members are diverse: high profile leaders, physicians, construction workers, farmers…and maybe you.

Ancient…and modern.

We’re united by three ancient and fundamental principles—brotherly love, charity and truth—that are made relevant to the 21st century through the personal development, good works and social connections available to our members in the 550+ lodges across Ontario.

Great benefits…for you and the world.

Freemasonry offers much to its members—the opportunity to grow, the chance to make a difference and the means to build a better world for our children. It offers the chance to socialize and work with men who have the same values and ideals.

We strengthen and improve our character by learning and practicing basic virtues of fraternal love, charity, and truth. Our principles extend far beyond our interactions with each other, and we strive to apply them to our daily lives.

And there’s so much more.

It's easy to learn about Masons—starting with the pages of this website. Need more details? Looking for a Mason in your community to share his personal perspective? Send an email, call or drop by your local Masonic lodge.

Who are Masons?

Masons are spiritual and moral men who choose to associate with groups of like-minded individuals for mutual benefit. What they find in Freemasonry is a disciplined and systematic course of self-improvement based on the Golden Rule: always do to others what you would like them to do to you.

There are 3.2 million masons across the world and more than 40,000 in Ontario.

Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, colour or creed.

Masons are spiritual and moral people, but there’s no room for discussion of sectarian religion or partisan politics in freemasonry. Members are free to follow their own path, as long as it fits with the ethical principles of integrity and virtue symbolized by the square and compasses—the icon most commonly associated with Masonry.

Masonry stresses the principles of kindness and consideration at home, honesty in business, courtesy towards others, dependability in one’s work, compassion for the less fortunate and being a good citizen of the world. Masonry recognizes that each man has obligations to his family, his work, his religious beliefs, his community and himself - these must take priority and Masonry does not interfere with his ability to meet these obligations.

Masons participate in three progressive degrees, each one teaching an important lesson through the use of symbols. The degrees help a Mason think about the big questions: Where did I come from? What am I doing here? And what comes next?

A lodge is not a building…it’s the men that form it.

The foundation of the Masonic family is the Masonic lodge. It is here that Masonry teaches its lessons: kindness in the home, honesty in business, courtesy in society, fairness in work, concern for the unfortunate and respect for one another. Most lodges are clearly signed and located on main streets in communities small and large across the globe.

With over 550 Lodges in Ontario, there should be a lodge that meets in a location near you.

Masonry is not a secret society…we’re happy to share what we know.

Any information about Masons can be found at a well-stocked bookstore or local library. Masonic buildings are clearly marked and listed in the phonebook and members often identify themselves by wearing Masonic jewelry.

The so-called Masonic “Secrets” are confined to modes of recognition by which a visitor can prove himself to be a Mason and thereby become eligible to enter a lodge in which he was otherwise not known.

The Extended Masonic Family.

A Mason can choose to broaden and deepen his experience of Masonry by participating in other branches of the Masonic family:

the Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shriners and Knights Templar.

Masonry is for men…but it’s a family affair.

Women, girls and boys who share Masonic values are welcome to participate in the many social and charitable events hosted by lodges. But there are affiliate organizations for those looking for ways to become formally involved. Young men can join DeMolay, young women can join the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls and Job's Daughters International.

What do Masons do?

Masonry is first and foremost a fraternity rather than a service organization, social club or benevolent society. However, charity in the form of helping other people, is considered to be a cornerstone of the fraternity.

Community Involvement:

Masons Community Involvement

Masons are encouraged to be actively involved in their communities. Some of the community outreach programs that Masons are actively involved with are listed below:

The Masonic Foundation of Ontario, a public charity registered with the Canada Revenue Agency, supports hearing research, a bursary program for university and college students, autism services, prostate cancer research and alcohol and drug awareness programs in elementary and high schools.

The Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario sponsors the MasoniCh.I.P. child identification program. And we’re not above bleeding for a cause—every year, Ontario Masons support the Canadian Blood Services donor program with approximately 35,000 donations.

Shriners operate the largest network of hospitals in North America providing free care for burned and orthopaedically impaired children. The Scottish Rite Masons maintain a network of some 150 childhood language disorder clinics, centres and programs.

Individual districts support their own charitable projects.

Want to learn more about Masonry At Work?

Why become a Mason?

Masonry offers the opportunity to make each man better through its teachings, his Masonic associations and a philosophy that has served the social needs of men for centuries, by promoting:

  • Tradition: when you become a Mason, you become part of ancient tradition that spans centuries. From the original stonemasons that produced some of the most majestic architectural wonders of Europe to modern day Masons who participate in numerous charitable foundations, you’ll feel connected to a vital, growing and spiritually uplifting organization of moral men;
  • Self Improvement: learning portions of the Ritual and participating in the Degree stimulates the mind and, coupled with committee work and lodge management, presents the opportunity to develop leadership and organizational skills, build self-discipline through commitment, poise and self-confidence, and strengthen presentation and public speaking proficiencies;
  • Sense of Accomplishment: participating in lodge projects, be they charitable or social in nature, provides the opportunity to contribute, work with others and enjoy the success of effort well expended;
  • Fellowship - Belonging to a Like-minded Group: the modern work environment has reduced or eliminated social association with co-workers; joining with lodge members in a fraternal atmosphere can substitute for that former workplace fellowship lost;
  • A Break from the Workaday Routine: Masonry brings together in lodge men of diverse backgrounds, where the daily pressures of a career can be left outside the door and where fellowship is the common theme.

These attributes are summarized in the tenets, or fundamental principles of Ancient Freemasonry: Brotherly Love; Relief; and Truth. If these values address your needs, Masonry welcomes you.

How can I join?

To find out more or to be contacted by a local lodge member, please complete the information below. Our response may take some time depending on your interest. We may use any of the options you provide (email, phone or surface mail) to contact you

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