To form perfect fraternal union and harmony, establish order, ensure tranquility, provide for and promote the general welfare of the Craft, and secure to the fraternity of Canada, all the blessings of Masonic privileges: it is expedient, right, and our bounded duty to form a GRAND LODGE OF CANADA.
With this resolution, the Brethren of 41 Lodges from Canada East and Canada West assembled in the Masonic Hall in Hamilton on October 10, 1855, and brought into being the Grand Lodge of Canada. This was a bold and courageous step by the colonial Brethren.
“We, the representatives of regularly warranted Lodges, here, in convention assembled, resolve: that the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Canada, be, and is hereby formed upon the ancient charges and constitution of Masonry.”
The first order of business was to prepare a new constitution.
William Mercer Wilson was duly elected as Grand Master for the ensuing twelve months.
The Grand Lodge was consecrated and the Grand Master installed on November 2, 1855, by M.W. Bro. H.T. Backus, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Michigan.
The former Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, R.W. Bro. Dr. James Daniel, in his research into Colonial Freemasonry of the period, pointed out that the Grand Lodge of Canada was the first Grand Lodge in the Empire to be recognized by the parent Grand Lodge of England after declaring independence.
That is a singular distinction of which we should be immensely proud.
Thirty Lodges joined the new Grand Lodge. The Ancient Grand Lodge of Canada, successor to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Canada West, to which our Lodge #42 belonged, continued until 1858, when articles of union were approved by both Grand Lodges on July 14, 1858.
As a result, the Ancient Grand Lodge was declared dissolved and fraternal union was achieved, thus giving our Lodge a new number of 48.
Following Confederation in 1867, when four Provinces constituted the Dominion of Canada, the Lodges in Quebec passed a resolution on October 20, 1869, that, “The Grand Lodge of Quebec of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, be, and is hereby formed upon the Ancient Charges and Constitutions of Masonry.”
In 1885, a committee to review the Constitution recommended that the style and title of Grand Lodge be amended to “The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario.” When the revised Constitution was adopted in 1887, the name became official, and so it has remained to the present day.
Today, our Grand Lodge occupies a position of respect among the Grand Lodges of North America. We are the largest Grand Lodge in Canada with more members than all the other nine Grand Lodges combined.
As we celebrate the 158th Anniversary of the founding of our Grand Lodge at this Thanksgiving season in 2013, we must be grateful for the determination, perseverance, and dedication of our founding fathers. We must never forget the debt we owe to those who have gone before us.
However, ”Do not follow in the footsteps of the men of old: seek what they sought.” It is our solemn duty to perpetuate the legacy of our ancient brethren.
(Read to the Brethren of MMT #48 by V.W. Bro. Garnet Holmes Lodge Historian
Prepared by MMT #48 Worshipful Master W. Bro. Bryan Moorcroft)