Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario

MAY 2017

 Ontario Freemasons in the Community


   In the development of Ontario many men have joined the Craft. Aboriginal Freemasons have existed since the period of French-British-colonial settlements. Masonic lodges were sometimes brought with the various waves of immigration such as retiring rank and file from Wellington’s forces after the exile of Napoleon or the Irish after the ruinous years of the potato famine. First as Upper Canada and later as Ontario, we have welcomed newcomers.

   These men have been farmers and members of the many rural trades, builders, doctors, teacher, lawyers and politicians, to name a few. Some of these include:

- since 1867, six Prime Ministers were Freemasons although only Sir John A. Macdonald (1815-1891, PM 1867-73 and 1878-91) and Sir Mackenzie Bowell (1823-1917, PM 1894-96) hailed from Ontario;

- of twenty-nine Ontario Lieutenant Governors, ten have been members of the Craft: Sir Alexander Campbell (1822-1892, L-G 1887-192), Sir John Morison Gibson (1842-1929, L-G 1908-14), Sir John S. Hendrie (1857-1923, L-G 1914-19), W. D. Ross (1869-1947, L-G 1927-32), Dr. Herbert A. Bruce (1868-1963, L-G 1932-37), Albert Matthews (1873-1949, L-G 1937-46), J. Keiller MacKay (1888-1970, L-G 1957-63), W. Ross MacDonald (1891-1976, L-G 1968-74), and Lincoln Alexander (1922-2012, L-G 1985-91), a Prince Hall Freemason;

- of twenty-five Ontario Premiers since 1867, thirteen have been Freemasons: A. S. Hardy (1837-1901, Premier 1896-99), Sir George W. Ross (1841-1914, Premier 1899-1905), Sir William H. Hearst 1864-1941, Premier 1914-19), E. C. Drury (1878-1968, Premier 1919-23), G. H. Ferguson (1870-1946, Premier 1923-30), G. S. Henry (1871-1958, Premier 1930-34), Mitchell F. Hepburn (1896-1953, Premier 1934-42), G. D. Conant (1885-1953, Premier 1942-43), H. C. Nixon 1891-1961, Premier 1943), George A. Drew (1894-1974, Premier 1943-48), Thomas Laird Kennedy (1878-1959, Premier 1948-49), Leslie M. Frost (1895-1973, Premier 1949-61) and William G. Davis (b 1929, Premier 1971-85),

   A great many other Ontarians have been members of Freemasonry. Without intending any slight to men who are not mentioned here, a few stood head and shoulders tall and are remembered today:

- Robert H. Saunders (1903-55), Mayor of Toronto (1945-48) and Chairman of Ontario Hydro (1948-55), who is remembered in the name of the Moses-Saunders Dam and Hydroelectric Station which is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway;

- William James Dunlop (1881-1961), who served as Ontario Minister of Education (1951-59) and is remembered for his postwar education and training programs;

- Dr. Peter Martin (1841-1907), Oronhyatekha, consulting physician to the Indians of Canada and Supreme Chief Ranger of the Independent Order of Foresters;

- George Ansel Sterling Ryerson (1855-1925), first President of the Canadian Red Cross Society (1896);

- Sir Sandford Fleming (1827-1915), CPR Engineer-in-Chief of Surveys (1871-80) who created the concept of Standard Time which we use today in spring and fall when our clocks are advanced or retarded;

- John Ross Robertson (1841-1918, Grand Master 1890-92), the founder of The Toronto Evening Telegram in 1876, MP for Toronto East Riding (1896-1900), President of the Ontario Hockey Association (1899-1905), philanthropist and support of the Toronto Children’s Hospital;

- James Noble Allan (1894-1992, Grand Master 1965-67), MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk, and Minister of several Ontario departments from 1956 to 1988 (a recent biography written by Freemason Allison Gowling is available—James Noble Allan: The Man, the Mason & the MPP, ISBN (13) 978-1773-02-1881);

- John Bayne Maclean (1862-1950), the founder of Maclean’s Magazine (1911) and a number of other prestigious magazines;

- Gordon Sinclair (1900-84), well known as a journalist and radio and TV commentator;

- Ned Hanlan (1855-1908), famous national and international sculler and Toronto Alderman;

- Ewart Gladstone Dixon (1890-1984), a Fullback on the first team to win the Grey Cup - the Varsity Blue and White Rugby Team (in 1909 and 1910);

- Charlie Conacher (1909-1967) and Tim Horton (1930-74) are remembered as members of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. Tim is also remembered as a co-founder of the Tim Horton’s Restaurant chain; and

- Charles Luther Burton (1876-1961), President of Robert Simpson Company (1929-48) and his son Edgar G. Burton, who served as President of Simpsons after (1948-ca 1952).

Freemasonry’s “Open House”

   Our Grand Master, John C. Green, has asked Ontario’s Lodges to open their doors to the public on Saturday, June 3, 2017. In this way we would hope to have an opportunity to show where we meet and the interesting furnishings of a Masonic Lodge. Each part of the contents of the Lodge room are used in our rituals.

   The entry door is referred to as the “West” and is occupied by the Senior Warden. The opposite end is “East” and is occupied by the Worshipful Master. On the left, “North’” we have the Chaplain and on the right, “South,” the Junior Warden. A second door in the east is reserved for receiving the candidates for our degrees. The centre of a Lodge room contains the Altar (which holds the Volume of the Sacred Law, Square and Compasses), kneeling stool or cushion and three large candlesticks and candles. At the four corners of the room are four hanging tassels to remind all Masons of the four cardinal virtues. Officers have specific titles, duties and working tools associated with them. One of the Lodge room walls will hold and display the Lodge’s Warrant—its authority from Grand Lodge to meet.

   In Ontario all our meetings are open to members of our Lodges and those from outside Jurisdictions who are in good standing. It is one of the reasons we issue “dues cards” when members pay their annual dues—to show that they are in good standing. In our three-degree system (Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason) junior Masons are excluded from attending degrees until they have received them “in proper form.”

   Please check your local newspaper to see what hours the local Lodge may be open to the public on June 3. Or check your newspaper’s website. The Lodge’s Worshipful Master and his officers and members would be very pleased to meet with you and to explain items of interest in the Lodge room.

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

April 27, 2016 (Rev 6 December 22, 2016)

999 words.

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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