W. Bro. Fred Mears Jr. of Riverdale John Ross Roberston Lodge No. 494 volunteering at The Heritage Lodge No. 730. At least Fred was as warm as toast with the hidden heater above the Tinsmith’s Shop on the main floor. I’ve visited when the place was freezing. I was in a rush. I hope that we will meet again! To my surprise, as I was leaving, he received his first visitors of the day. The weather was BAD.
The Heritage Lodge No. 730 Set:
Two links to some Masonic info about M.W. Bro. John Ross-Robertson:
Born December 28, 1841, Toronto, Canada. Educated at Upper Canada College, giving much of his time, however, to the study of the printing trade and editing a small college paper from his father’s home during three years, from 1857 to 1860.
Every stage in the development of this paper was handled by John Robertson personally-literary, mechanical and clerical. Thus he naturally cultivated journalism, editing in turn Young Canada, the Grumbler, Sporting Life, and Canadian Railway Guide. By 1863 he was city editor of the Toronto Globe and founder, 1866, of the Daily Telegraph. March 14, 1867, made a Freemason in King Solomon’s Lodge No. 22, Toronto. Brother Robertson spent several years in England for the Toronto Globe. Returning to Canada, he managed the Nation in 1875 and in April, 1876, founded the Evening Telegram. He found time to devote his talents to Freemasonry. In 1879 he was elected Junior Warden; in 1880, Worshipful Master. He had served as Worshipful Master of Mimico Lodge No. 369, 1879; Grand Steward, Grand Lodge of Canada, 1880, and two years later was Senior Grand Warden. In 1886 Brother Robertson was Deputy Grand Master of the Toronto District.
In 1888 the Grand Lodge of Canada unanimously elected him Deputy Grand Master and he was re-elected In 1890 he was elected Grand Master and was re-elected the following year. Elected a full member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, May 6, 1904. Brother Robertson’s Masonic writings included Talk’s with Craftsmen, 1893; History of the Cryptic Rite, 1888 and 1890; History of the Knights Templar of Canada , 1890, and History of Freemasonry in Canada, 1899. Brother Robertson was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hospital for Sick Children and for thirty-five years furthered this worthy cause and is said to have visited the hospital every day. He personally equipped and presented to the Charity the Hospital buildings in College Street and Elizabeth Street, built and founded the Lakeside Home for Little Children, Toronto Island, built a Nurses’ Hostel, a Pavilion for tubercular treatment and established the pasteurizing of milk in the Hospital grounds at Toronto.
Many civic and public benefits in Toronto are due to him, improvements in the ambulance service, health department, and supplying free medical inspection and aid in schools. He made many public gifts in the way of books, pictures, and so forth. He three times declined to he candidate for Mayor of Toronto. In 1902 he also gratefully declined a Knighthood and a Senatorship. For many years Brother Robertson was President of the Canadian Copyright Association; he served as Vice-President and President of the Canadian Associated Press, and was Honorary President of the Toronto Press Club at his death. His own statement as an editor was: “I am not a party politician; my aim is to keep both parties right.” Brother Robertson died May 31, 1918, a last act of benevolence being to donate $111,000 on May 20 to the Children’s Hospital (see Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, volume iii, page 137, and volume xxxi, page 178).
– Source: Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemason
In The Beginning…
Long ago, ships plied the great Lakes and navigation started when the nobility of England and the Continent sent ships to gather furs and trade with the Indians. In 1534 Jacques Cartier discovered two inland settlements along the St. Lawrence, which he named Stadacona, now Quebec City, and Hochelaga, which was later, named Montreal.
In 1608 Samuel de Champlain sailed up the Great Lakes to explore the regions of Upper Canada. Since the rivers were the main arteries of travel, the Humber River became very popular and trading posts were very plentiful. One of the largest ones was at the mouth of the Humber River, which became known as York.
Some years later Lord Simcoe became Governor of Upper Canada and York became what is now the city of Toronto. As waterfront land along Lake Ontario became congested and expensive, the population who did not have a great deal of money, settled inland and Weston became a very important village.
The beginning of our story is something of the past – something about West itself. Weston had its foundation as a hamlet on the banks of the Humber River about the year 1792. In that year the first Provincial Grand Lodge of Upper Canada was warranted by the Athol Grand Lodge of England, popularly known as the “Ancients” when R.W. Bro. William Jarvis was appointed Grand Master of masons for the Province of Canada West. This was some sixty-three years before that grand and glorious day in the Canadian Masonic calendar when there came into being, the first independent Grand Lodge in Canada. The Grand Lodge was duly constituted under the name of “The Most Worshipful, The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Canada in the Province of Ontario” when William Mercer Wilson, in due and ancient from was installed as our fist Grand Master in 1855.
The geographic area in which we now reside was first known as “The Humber”. Because of the river, which at one time was plentiful in salmon, it is natural that milling was the first major industry with flourmills starting up along its banks.
During the war of 1812-1814, about the time our first Grand Master was born, these mills supplied the demands of the government for flour to provision the troops. At the close of the war, Mr. Joseph Holly sold his flourmills to Mr. James Farr along with 150 acres of farmland, all of which today is part of Weston Golf and Country Club property. James Farr objected to the name of “The Humber” for the hamlet as this was being commonly used as the name of other hamlets along the river and he, being a leading and influential figure in the community renamed it “Weston” after his ancestral home in England.
In 1828 St. Phillip’s Church and parish was established near the little hamlet. More mills sprang up and in 1844 Mr. Rowland Burr rebuilt his mill on the east bank of the Humber River and this eventually became the old Cruickshank Motors, a few steps from our present temple. The fist registered plan of Weston is dated July 18, 1846 and the village of Weston was incorporated in 1881. William Tyrell was the first reeve and the council consisted of Jacob Bull, Jas. Cannon, Sr., David Rowntree, Sr., and J. Sykes.
The names along with the Dennis family, Major Charles Wadsworth and Dr. Wm. J. Charlton played an important part in the formation of the town and its social and fraternal orders including Freemasonry. William Tyrell was a fine character and lived in a magnificent residence at the corner of King St. and Rosemount Ave. Major Charles Wadsworth, a most picturesque figure, of large build who had all the style and dignity of an English major was known for driving his “four in hand” along Main Street at break neck speed. He was an active member of St. Phillip’s Church and Humber Lodge.
In the year 1870 – before the incorporation of the town of Weston – Jacob Bull returned from California where he engaged in the building trade and was so impressed at what splendid work freemasonry was doing in San Francisco that he set out to establish the order in the village. His house still stands on John Street.
Also, about the time a Mr. Eagle who had been trying to buy some Crown land from the Indians near Brantford, came to Weston and when he saw all the activity he decided to stay here and enjoy some of the prosperity. He bought a large acreage and built a hotel and put up stables large enough to accommodated a hundred team of horses. Everybody stopped at the Eagle House and prosperity was coming his way. There were several Lodges flourishing at this time near Weston but to his surprise, his Masonic Lodge, which held such as high regard in his hometown in England, did not have a meeting place. He talked it over with his buddies and found that several of them were members in good standing. Being by then quite prosperous and anxious to cater to the best people he offered to build and maintain a Masonic Temple next to his hotel, and one of his tenants, who was the manager of the Willoughby Shodding Mill – a Past Master of Simcoe Lodge accepted the job of being the first Master of Humber Lodge and Mr. Eagle was to be the first candidate.
In March 1873 a meeting was held in the home of John Linton, along with Benjamin Plewman, F.W. Forbes and Wm. Brown, Humber Lodge was duly organized and representation dispatched forthwith to Grand Lodge for a charter. The charter was granted for Humber Lodge No. 305 on July 9th, 1874 with F.W. Forbes the W.M., Wm. Brown the S.W., Jacob Bull the J.W. and Charles McMunn, Secretary. Its minutes contain the signature of M.W. Bro. William Mercer Wilson.
The first six years of the Lodge’s life were progressive and many interesting meetings were held, but as you know Grand Lodge frowned on serving liquor in connection with the meetings and this caused a split which ended in the parting of the ways and Bro. Eagle who was terribly displeased with it all asked the Masons to find a dry place to meet.
On May 1, 1880 Humber Lodge moved to a small building on King Street owned by Bill Tyrell and they remained there until the Oddfellows opened their new hall on Oct. 1, 1886. The building became available when the First Methodist Episcopal Church put the building up for sale at a price of $430.00 due to the dwindling congregation at that time.
During the first year we had two candidates, two applications and .50 cents was sent to Grand Lodge for our per capita dues. In 1880 it was moved that the initiation fee be raised to $20.00 and the affiliation fee would be $2.00. In 1881 it was moved that all members living more than 10 miles away from the lodge paid dues at half price.
In 1882 the officers of the evening came up on the 5:20 train, went to the Temple in the Eagle House, opened Lodge, installed the officers and left to Toronto again at 6:55 p.m.
In 1883 it was moved that if the D.D.G.M. attended the next meeting lunch would be served.
In 1892 M.W. Bro. John Ross Robertson, then Grand Master, was so pleased with the effort Humber Lodge had put up to help those less fortunate that he offered to buy a suit of clothes for every orphan that Humber Lodge had given assistance.
On February 22, 1893 the Masons were having an “At Home” party. A Masonic At Home at that time was the swankiest event on town. Everyone who could get a ticket wanted to go to the party; oysters were the popular dish in those days and a large crowd was present. The party was a big success until the feather beam gave out and everything went down into the hopper. The people who were in the building at that time were in pretty rough circumstances. The only thing, which did not go down, was the piano. It was up in the corner and W. Bro. Thomas Simpson, who was master of ceremonies for that evening, stood with his hands on the piano hoping it would not tip over and go down on these people. The perfect ashler went down and W.Bro.Bill Forsythe broke his leg in two places, exclaiming, “No doubt I am the first Mason who had a leg broken by a perfect ashler”. Luckily there were no life threatening injuries.
In 1893, when the hall fell, the Lodge paid .30 cents a head for a meal they never received and the accident cost $57.25.
Also in 1893 Rev. Wilde was asked to preach a sermon to the Masons and he asked a fee of $25.00. They changed their minds and did not take him.
In 1894 the finances were not so good and the auditors reported outstanding dues mounted to $88.67.
In 1898 Humber Lodge bought two dozen pairs of gloves to be used at Masonic funerals.
The Odd Fellows and the Masons lived very happily together for many years but a growing desire to have a home of their own prompted the Masons to look ahead. The time eventually came and a company was formed with authorized capital of $40,000.00 with shares of $5.00 each and directors were appointed. Plans for an up to date hall were drawn up – a full basement with an auditorium and Lodge room upstairs. Mr. Sainsbury had the contract to complete the building for $15,000.00. However, along came the First World War and all work with the exception of war work was cancelled.
After an unfortunate delay of several years another prospectus was filed on June 7, 1924 and plans were again drawn up to build the temple. After the war men and money were scarce and it was almost impossible to get started. A new directorate was formed and a little money came in sight. Bro. Art Pearson drew up plans for nothing and W. Bro. Burrage stared the new building. The figured that with luck a basement and a finished main floor would have to do until time and circumstances would help us out. Steel beams were installed in the roof so that some day we could complete the building. All those who could, gave of their time and money together, but it was hard going and you will never know the blood, sweat and tears that were put into trying to get a Masonic home for those who had faith in the cause. W. Bro. N.J. McEwan, then Jim McEwan, who was the manager of the bank here, backed us up at the bank so we could get enough money to buy the carpet and he nearly lost his job because we did not have enough money to pay for it.
The corner stone was laid on June 27, 1924 by M.W. Bro. F.W. Harcourt, P.G.M. who officiated at its dedication. There are many articles of furniture, etc. which were donated to the Lodge at that time.
There is the Master’s chair donated by W. Bro. Jacob Bull, whose picture appears above the I.P.M.’s chair. The first chair in which the candidate sits was presented by W. Bro. Jack Allan on behalf of Mrs. Florence Milner, the daughter of our late W. Bro. Jacob Bull, our first Junior Warden.
The I.P.M.’s chair and ashlars by V. W. Bro. Albert E. Scythes.
The chair to the left of the W. M. by W. Bro. Fred Rowntree.
The Senior Warden’s chair by W. Bro T. Ray Simpson.
The Junior Warden’s chair by the late W. Bro. A.R. Smith.
The alter is the workmanship of our V.W. Bro. Fred Thain.
The beautiful pillars and carving are the work of V.W. Bro. Max Smeall.
The member’s chairs were taken from the Silent picture theatre which stood next door where the post office is.
Bro. Gordon Barker, a past 50 year member, relates that he believes he is the only person who has had the letter “G” hanging from the cab of the truck when he assisted in moving the furniture into this lodge room.
Originally there was a furnace at each end of the banquet room necessitating carrying coal from one end to the other when tending the fires. When we first started there was no floor downstairs and a lot of extra work was necessary to lay cement floor. Then later on when more money was available for flooring a wood floor was then laid down by members who were skilled in this particular line. Catering facilities were grim in those days but later a kitchen and furnace room were added to the rear of the banquet hall, giving so much more space for the accommodation of larger crowds at out banquets. A good deal of credit is to be given to the officers and members who spent many hours repairing chairs. The original chairs in the temple were the old-fashioned kitchen type. Spokes and legs would work loose and no end of baled-hay wire was used to keep them together.
There were many times the Masonic Temple Board ran short of money. One of the closest calls of all was when the mortgage became due. It nearly went through but by luck enough money was gathered together to wipe out the mortgage and take over the building. This was a close call – the closest call the lodge ever had. One of the most important duties that W. Bro. T. Ray Simpson had during those years of financial difficulties was to sign the cheque which paid off the mortgage and gave us a Masonic home bought and paid for. That was a long time ago and we look only to the future. It was W. Bro. T. Ray Simpson’s good fortune to be elected the first master to sit in the chair of King Solomon in the Weston Temple.
TEMS OF INTEREST TAKEN FROM THE MINUTE BOOKS
JANUARY 1887 – W. Bro. Charlton was installed by R. W. Bro John Ross Robertson, the D.D.G.M. of that year.
FEBRUARY 1887 – The election of officers was changed to November, the installation held in December.
MAY 1887 – The Lodge was Inspected by John Ross Robertson, D.D.G.M. In the year 1887 the lodge forwarded $4.50 to defray expenses for D.D.G.M.’s regalia
DECEMBER 1889 – A notice of motion was passed to set Life Membership at $40.00.
MARCH 1891 – At this meeting W. Bro Eagle presented the Lodge with a picture of Hon. Mrs.Aldworth, the only lady Freemason.
TAKEN FROM AN OLD BY-LAW
The regular meeting of the Lodge shall be held on the 1st Wednesday on or before the full moon of each and every month, and also on the Festival of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist at such an hours as the Master shall appoint.
The fee shall be $25.00 for a joining member. For all members the monthly dues shall be 30 cents a month. This was changed in 1892 to read: The fee shall be for initiation $20.00, the fee for conferring F.C. and M.M. shall be $2.50 for each degree. The monthly dues for each village member shall be .30 cents. The monthly dues for each country member shall be .15 cents.
JANUARY 1893 – Moved a letter of sympathy be sent to the Senior Warden, Dr. W.J. Charlton and his wife on the death of their two dear children.
FEBRUARY 1893 – Moved payment of .30 cents per head for meal at the “At Home” held February 22nd. The crowd was so large that the floor would not stand the weight and consequently collapsed. The accident cost the Lodge $57.25.
1895 – Again there is little to report except that benevolence was strongly in evidence.
JANUARY 1898 – A contribution was made to assist a paralyzed brother of Conestogo Lodge, Drayton. Among the accounts at this meeting was two dozen white gloves.
JUNE 1898 – Application received from W. Perkins Bull.
NOVEMBER 1898 – It is interesting to note the amount of work that was accomplished at this meeting. W. Perkins Bull was initiated; Bro. W. Wilby was Examined in the Second Degree, and Raised to the Third Degree. Lodge was reverted to the First Degree for the purpose of Election of Officers. Bro. Wilby was Master four years later.
DECEMBER 1908 – Applications were received from G.H. Scott, A. B. Moffat and H. G. Musson. G. H. Scott was initiated.
In 1908 the Lodge did not close for summer recess.
SEPTEMBER 1908 – The late V.W. Bro. Walter Webster was initiated by W. Bro. Rodgers and his officers, of Alpha Lodge. Incidentally the Junior Warden’s expenses on this occasion was $14.25.
OCTOBER 1908 – a ballot was taken on three applications collectively and found unfavorable, it was again taken singly, and all three rejected. It cost the Lodge 75 cents to wash dishes.
JANUARY 1908 – One of the highlights of our history was that a committee was appointed to procure a suitable building lot. The committee were W. Bros. Simpson, Barker and Wilby.
JUNE 1910 – A Memorial to the late King Edward VII was read in Lodge.
FEBRUARY 1912 – The dues were increased to $4.00 Per year.
NOVEMBER 1912 – After a lapse of four years, it was finally decided to purchase a lot on LeMaire Avenue. 1914 this year we considered Building a Temple. A committee was appointed on subscriptions and Shares in Temple Co. The Committee visited other Lodges for data. $4,500 was subscribed in one week. A notice carried to erect a Temple on the lot on Main St. North. The lot on LeMaire Avenue to be sold for $1000.
JUNE 1914 – Dues increased from $25.00 to $35.00.
APRIL 1915 – Plans for Lodge approved and contracts for building to be let by directors of temple Board.
SEPTEMBER 1915 – W. Bro. Thomas Simpson was made a Life Member. The dues of members on active service were remitted.
SEPTEMBER 1921 – A deputation of members of the Craft living in Mount Dennis sought the consent of Humber Lodge to form a Masonic Lodge in that district. A discussion with regard to the building of a new hall took place May 26, 1922, the lot purchased by Humber Lodge in 1915 being the site of present building.
W.Bro. Tom Stone installed as Worshipful Master of Humber Lodge in June 1921, passed to the Grand Lodge above in January 1924. In December 1921. W. Bro. Stone became ill and never completed his full year as Ruling Master.
JULY 1922 – Grand Lodge met a Port Arthur. A large representation from Humber Lodge attended with W. Bro. A.E. Scythes, the Worshipful Master. This delegation traveled by train to Sarnia, where it embarked on the steamer “Noronic”. (The writer feels that special note should be made of this because of the terrible disaster that overtook this one fine ship “Noronic” in our Toronto Harbour, on Saturday, September 16th, 1949). Benvolent fund was established in February 1924.
Past Masters’ Night held on March 28, 1924 with W. Bro. Jacob Bull occupying the chair. This same evening was the occasion of W. Bro. Bull’s 50th year in Masonry.
On June 7, 1924, the cornerstone of present building was laid P.G.M.M. W. Bro. F.W. Harcourt and Grand Lodge Officers and other distinguished brethren officiated.
On January 23, 1925, M.W. Bro. Harcourt, Acting Grand Master assisted by Grand Lodge Officers conducted the ceremony of dedicating the present Temple.
On April 25, 1925, initiation fee was raised from $60.00 to $75.00.
Candidates for initiation to receive a free apron. Mount Dennis Lodge held their inaugural meeting in their new quarters at Humber Lodge Temple on Wednesday, May 5, 1926. 50 YEARS A PAST MASTER – DECEMBER 27th, 1876-1926
On December 27th, W.B. Jacob Bull celebrated his fiftieth Anniversary as a Past Master of Humber Lodge. Born in this vicinity in 1838, he lived here for several years, then moved to California, where he was initiated into Masonry in 1871.
Five years later he returned to Weston and along with others was instrumental in forming Humber Lodge in 1873, being installed as the first junior Warden; and as W.M. on December 27th, 1876. During the first twenty-five years of Humber Lodge, W. Bro. Bull only missed five meetings.
JULY 1926 – W. Bro. H.J. Alexander was elected as D.D.G.M. Toronto District “A”. W. Bro. A.E. Scythes appointed as District Secretary. A Local School In Weston Now Carries W. Bro. H.J. Alexander’s Name.
“The genius of Masonry is that it has in common with religion, the power to appeal direct to the hearts and minds of men, to lift them out of the passing and temporary things which make them many, into the presence of those permanent things by virtue of which they are one, and in the vision of those things, they catch a somewhat deeper understanding of the meaning of life, a broader outlook upon its problems, a renewed inspiration to usefulness and service” By M.W. Bro. John A. Rowland, B.A., Grand Master, in his address to Grand Lodge, 1926.
JANUARY 1928 – A letter of congratulations was sent to W. Bro. Jacob Bull on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
FEBRUARY 1929 – An Emergent meeting was held for the purpose of attending the funeral of the late W. Bro. Jacob Bull.
SEPTEMBER 27th, 1929 – Congratulations were extended to R.W. Bro. A.J. Anderson and R. W. Bro. H. J. Alexander on their election to Board of General Purposes in Grand Lodge and W. Bro. J.W. Hamshaw on his appointment as Grand Steward. Congratulations were also extended to W. Bro N.J. McEwen on his appointment as Organist. W. Bro. F. Beardall presented V.W. Bro. McEwen with is regalia on behalf of Humber Lodge. A petition was presented by members of the new Memorial Lodge, asking permission of Humber Lodge to organize. R.W. Bro. H. J. Alexander was their first Ruling Master.
MAY 1930 – One hundred and fifty members contributed $1887.00 to the Grand Lodge Benevolent Fund.
OCTOBER 1932 – Diamond Jubilee of Humber Lodge was celebrated. W. Bro. Fred Pollett was W.M. Twenty-two Past Masters were present. R.W. Bro. A.J. Anderson unveiled the two frames containing the photographs of all Past Masters of Humber Lodge, with the exception of five, which were impossible to secure. R.W. Bro. Anderson, in his very capable manner unveiled this permanent monument to the Past Masters of the Lodge, with the sincere hope that the Lodge would continue to prosper, and that the brethren grouped together in the two frames was only the reflection of the Lodge of today.
OCTOBER 1935 – W. Bro. W. J. Gardhouse was presented with Grand Lodge Regalia as Grand Junior Deacon, By R.W. Bro, Chas Lord, D.D.G.M.
FEBRUARY 1936 – V.W. Bro. Thos. Simpson was presented with a fifty-year Service Medal, by W. Bro. P. Hopkins, on behalf of Humber Lodge. R.W. Bro. H.J. Alexander and W. Bro. T. Kennedy were presented with their Life Membership Certificates.
JUNE 1937 – Emergent meeting to attend the funeral of our Senior Warden-elect, the late Bro. W. Lindsay Ward, whose sudden death cast a gloom over our Lodge. Out of respect to this fine officer, the Installation ceremonies were changed from June to September, and W. Bro. F. Beardall acting as Senior warden for the twelve months.
APRIL 1938 – The Most Wor. The Grand Master, W.J. Dunlop visited us on this our Rural Night. Thirty-two Lodges were represented on this occasion.
SEPTEMBER 1938 – Humber Lodge entertained her three daughter lodges: Mimico, Mt. Dennis and Memorial.
MARCH 1942 – V.W. Bro. Scythes presented the Lodge with two new flags.
May 1945 – Humber and Mt. Dennis Lodges jointly celebrated the allied victory in Europe. Members of His Majesty’s Forces were welcomed back to Lodge. W. Bro. G. Medhurst addressed the Lodge on “The Four Freedoms”.
SEPTEMBER 1946 – Niagara Frontier Lodge no. 132 visited us and witnessed an Ontario Third Degree.
May 1947 – D.D.G.M. R.W. Bro. C. Mcfadden presented Bro. John Crossland with Veteran Jubilee Medal.
OCTOBER 1947 – Niagara Frontier Lodge again visited Humber Lodge and exemplified the Third Degree according to American custom.
OCTOBER 1948 – R.W. Bro. J.P. Maher, Deputy Grand Master, was our guest and presented V.W. Bro. Russen with regalia of the office of Grand Steward.
FEBRUARY 25, 1949 – annual membership dues increased to $10.00.
OCTOBER 28, 1949 – Humber Lodge celebrated its 75th birthday. There were 254 officers, members and visiting brethren present.
JANUARY 27, 1950 – V.W. Bro. William S. Gibson, G.S.D. was among members and guests present when his son Menzie Gibson was initiated.
FEBRUARY 24, 1950 – Among guests present was M.W. Bro. Reginal V. Harris, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia and present Grand Secretary of Nova Scotia and an honorary Past Master of the Grand Lodge of Ontario. He witnessed and also assisted in the initiation of his son Arthur St. George Harris.
JUNE 10, 1950 – W.M. James A. Case together with 39 officer and members of Humber Lodge chartered a “D.C.3″ plane and flew to Rochester, New York. They were met at the airport by W. Bro. Charles E. Kase, of Rochester Lodge No. 660, his officer and large number of their brethren. They gave Humber members a wonderful reception and a full day’s tour of the city, also conducting the brethren through their magnificent Masonic building which was built in 1928 at a cost of $4,000.000. After dinner Humber Lodge officers exemplified the first degree following which they were entertained at their “fourth degree” fellowship hour. By 1 a.m. Sunday morning we were escorted back to the airport and Humber members were safely home within an hour.
OCTOBER 21, 1950 – W. Bro. Charles E. Kase, his officers and large number of members returned to visit Humber and exemplified the first degree, American ritual before an audience of 190 members of Humber, Rochester and other visiting brethren.
MARCH 2, 1951 – A proud evening for our Bro. Wm. P. Graham Sr., who was present when four of his sons James A., A. Curie William P. Jr., and Glen L. were initiated into the Lodge.
SEPTEMBER 26, 1952 – A letter was sent to Bro. Walter Ford of Malton advising that Humber had no objection to the formation of a Masonic Lodge in Malton.
APRIL 24, 1953 – W. Bro. Thomas Kennedy, 50 years a Mason was presented with his 50 year veteran’s jewel by W. Bro. Charles Webster.
NOVEMBER 26, 1954 – Letter received from Bro. Beardwood thanking the brethren of Humber Lodge for their assistance in time of distress as the result of “Hurricane Hazel”. There were approximately 120 residents of surrounding Weston and Woodbridge district who lost their lives, homes and belongings during this fateful disaster.
DECEMBER 23, 1954 – Humber Lodge announced they would be honoured to act as mother Lodge to Astra Lodge and loan them the use of any equipment and regalia they had need of until such time as Astra Lodge would be Instituted on January 13, 1955 in Weston Masonic Temple. An altar cloth was presented to W. Bro. E.J. Carruthers the first master of Astra Lodge. The following members of Astra Lodge: W. Bro. James A. Case, Wm. S. Newsome, W. Bro Robert Cruise, Sr. and Bro. John H. Weech.
APRIL 1, 1955 – Humber Lodge received approval to change their regular meetings from the 4th Friday to the 3rd Thursday as so many members were absent, stores being open Friday evenings while others were often away with their families for the weekend.
FEBRUARY 7, 1957 – V.W. Bro. Albert E. Scythes presented the Lodge with an American flag for use on occasions when American brethren were in attendance.
OCTOBER 17, 1957 – Initiation fee increased to $125.00.
APRIL 16, 1959 – The present altar pillars in temple were dedicated by R.W. Bro. George Hinton, P.B. J. Warden of Mount Dennis Lodge, assisted by V.W. Bro. Max Smeall.
Bro. Smeall was presented with Life Membership in Humber in token of Appreciation for this making and carving the same and his thoughtfulness behind this gift.
JANUARY 21, 1960 – Letter was received from Bro. Nelson Clark thanking the Lodge for flowers he received along with his 60 year medal. MAY 19, 1960 – Humber Lodge increased loan to Weston Masonic Temple from $1,200.00 to $2,000.00 re extensive alterations made to washrooms and addition to rear of Lodge.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1960 – A 50 year Past Master jewel presented to W. Bro. Thomas Kennedy who was Master in 1910.
OCTOBER 20, 1960 – The Lodge authorized the purchase of an altar pillow to be donated to The Lodge of the Pillars on their formation. $100.00 was also donated to Humber Memorial Hospital Building Fund.
MARCH 16, 1961 – R.W. Bro. Walter Sills, our D.D.G.M. informed the brethren assembled it was permissible for a candidate to be initiated into Freemasonry if wearing a ring which was impossible to remove without cutting the ring. Grand Lodge’s viewpoint being that the situation precluded the possibility of the candidate being able to take if off when asked. The ring being considered as in the same category as the gold fillings he might have in his teeth.
OCTOBER 5, 1961 – R.W. Bro. Walter Sills presented V.W. Bro. Robert Cruise with the regalia of Grand Lodge Steward. Bro. William Lithgow also presented him with a memento on behalf of Mrs. Cruise.
JANUARY 19, 1962 – Letter from Temple Board advising changes in rent. New rates $100.00 per month for 10 monthly meetings, guaranteeing 2 meetings per month. Extra meetings to be $30.00 per night and Lodge Practices to be $5.00 each.
MARCH 15, 1962 – It was recorded that our V.W. Bro. Albert Scythes, the W.M. in 1922 had celebrated his 87th birthday.
SEPTEMBER 14, 1964 – Bro. A.S. Fraser presented with his 50 year jewel, by W. Bro. S. Mueller.
NOVEMBER 14, 1964 – Our secretary W. Bro. Douglas Williams suddenly passed to the Grand Lodge above.
FEBRUARY 18, 1965 – W. Bro. Fred W. Rowntree presented with his 50th year jewel by W. Bro. Ken Newton.
APRIL 19, 1965 – Annual dues raised to $ 20.00.
MAY 21, 1965 – V.W. Bro. Max Smeall presented with a gift, the occasion marking his being a mason for 65 years.
AUGUST 26, 1966 – W. Bro. Thomas Kennedy, W.M. in 1910 passed to the Grand Lodge above at the age of 93.
FEBRUARY 1967 – W. Bro. G.R. Bennett presented the Lodge with the new Canadian flag.
MARCH 16, 1967 – W. Bro. T. Ray Simpson presented with his 50 year jewel as a mason, having been initiated into Humber Lodge on March 24, 1916. W. Bro. Simpson mentioned that his late father W. Bro. Thomas Simpson also received this honour in 1936, he being Master of the Lodge in 1893.
JANUARY 1968 – W. Bro. A. Plumstead received a new tracing board on be half of the Lodge.
NOVEMBER 20, 1969 – W. Bro. Charles Sedore presented Bro. Gordon Barker with his 50 year membership button.
APRIL 1970 – W. Bro. James F. Fraser our Secretary Suddenly passed away to the Grand Lodge above.
OCTOBER 7, 1971 – V.W. Bro. Alfred H. Thorn, Grand Steward, was presented with his Grand Lodge regalia by V.W. Bro E.J. Carruthers.
FEBRUARY 17, 1972 – W. Bro. Joseph L. Hamer presented with his 50 year lapel pin. He gave a short talk reminiscing some of his experiences over the past 50 years. He was W.M. in 1931.
MARCH 1972 – Letter received by the Lodge from W. Bro. Foster Rowntree and Bro. H.C. Roos thanking the members for their receipt of 50 year jewels.
APRIL 20, 1973 – Bro Charles Harper received his 50 year jewel.
JANUARY 17, 1974 – The 994th regular communication of Humber Lodge as we celebrate our centennial Birthday.
THE JOHN ROSS ROBERTSON CHAIR
By W.Bro. Roy Gomes——August 2011
My name is Roy Gomes and I am a Past Master of Doric Lodge No. 316 in the Toronto Don Valley District where I have two very dear friends, V.W.Bro. Doug Morton and V.W.Bro. Gordon Boutlier who belong to Riverdale John Ross Robertson Lodge No 494, Doug has been the WM a few times and Gord who is in his 90s is the Historian, they are both great Masonic story tellers.
I first met Doug at Black Creek Pioneer village where we work as interpreters at the Masonic display lodge at the village, this was when I was an EA, and he was present at all my ceremonies of progression to the Masters Chair and continues to be one of my trusted and sure backstops. Gord who always accompanies Doug or visa versa has become my dear friend and adviser as well.
These two brethren invited me to their lodge for one of the times that Doug went into the East. I being curious about old things including furniture, enquired about a certain old chair that occupied a prominent position in the East of the large lodge room in the Chisholm Avenue Temple where Riverdale John Ross Robertson Lodge meets.
I was then told that this chair was used when a new Grand Master is installed, the chair is transported by a certain courier company to the Royal York Hotel where the Installation Ceremony is conducted during our Annual Convocation which takes place in the Month of July.
This story triggered my curiosity and I decided to find out more about this piece of furniture.
After a Special Communication of Grand Lodge,on the 17th of November, 1917 at the corner of Yonge Street and Davenport Road in Toronto in which the Cornerstone of the new Temple was laid by M.W.Bro. William H. Wardrope, M.W.Bro. John Ross Robertson a Past Grand Master addressed the audience and said:–quote: “The chair in which the Grand Master now sits is made from the oak beam which supported the floor of the room in which the first Grand Lodge was organized in 1717 A.D., in the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in London Yard.” unquote.
Historical documents tell us that the building was demolished in 1895 and that the contractor on the job saved two of the oak floor joists and presented them to M.W.Bro. John Ross Robertson, who had a substantial chair made from that wood. It is also said that quote” all Grand Masters of our Grand Lodge are seated thereon whenever Grand Lodge meets in Toronto” unquote.
On the 19th of April,1938 the chair became the property of John Ross Robertson Lodge No. 545 when the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the John Ross Robertson Estate, Mr. A.T.Chadwick, before the Lodge assembled, the D.D.G.M. of Toronto District A, R.W. Bro. B.E. Elblad and the Grand Master, M.W.Bro. W.J. Dunlop, read a letter from the trustees, conveying the historic chair into the possession of the Lodge where it has since occupied a place in the East in the Large Lodge Room in the Chisholm Avenue Temple.
John Ross Robertson the then Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of Canada sat on this chair when he wrote the fifth chapter of the History Freemasonry, in which the story of the Masonic Grand Lodge of England is told.