HISTORY OF THE GRAND LODGE OF ALBERTA
IN THE BEGINNING
Near the place where the village of Chauvin is now located, in September of 1754, Anthony Henday arrived in Alberta. He was the first Englishman to set foot in what is now this province. Henday was a fur trader and to the delight of the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company, he discovered a lucrative fur producing area. Following Henday fur traders poured into the West and few people considered it to be anything more than a source of valuable furs.
Henday travelled from Hudson's Bay to Rocky Mountain House. In July of 1789 Alexander McKenzie arrived at Fort Chippewayen and travelled north to the mouth of the McKenzie River. Three years later he navigated the Peace River and arrived at the Pacific Ocean. David Thompson, in 1798, was a pioneer surveyor. Thus the northern part of the province was well charted and the routes to be followed were well known. It was on October 5, 1795, that William Tomison set his men to work to build Edmonton House at the mouth of the Sturgeon River. The purpose, of course, was to establish a trading post for furs with the Hudson's Bay Company. James Hughes was commissioned by the North West Company in 1798 to build another fort, which he called the New Fort Augustus and it was likely built on the site of the present City of Edmonton.
Fort Edmonton was strategically located. It became the stopping place of fur traders, adventurers, missionaries and fortune hunters. The Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company carried on rival businesses until their amalgamation in 1821. The huge expanse of Rupert's Land was left to be exploited until it was purchased by the Canadian Government in 1870. The North West Territories Act of 1875 established a government for the district with a Lieutenant Governor and five appointed counsellors. The population was approximately 1,000.
Meanwhile Fort Edmonton prospered and on December 6, 1880 the first issue of the Edmonton Bulletin appeared. It was to be published every Monday morning from December 1st to May 1st with a subscription price of $2.00 for the season. The issue is fascinating. The telegraph line had been extended to Edmonton but a break in the line at Hays Lake prevented up-to-date news in time for publication. However they expected a man to leave the next day and service should be restored in a week. Hay was worth $3.00 to $4.00 a load. Mr. James Price of Fort Saskatchewan received a legacy of $1,500.00 in the last mail. There was only three inches of snow on the ground but the temperature was 47 degrees below zero (F).
Buried in the middle of a huge variety of interesting information is the paragraph, "A Petition has been forwarded to the Grand Lodge A.F. and A.M. of Canada asking a Charter for a Lodge in Edmonton." Freemasonry was about to arrive in Alberta.
It was the Grand Lodge of Manitoba that granted a dispensation on January 13, 1882 for the establishment of the first Freemasons' Lodge outside the boundaries of Manitoba. Saskatchewan Lodge No. 17 G.R.M. was instituted on February 13, 1882 and consecrated on April 21, 1883. The Charter members numbered 13 among whom was one James Lauder, a baker.
Fort Edmonton had not changed its life style noticeably over the hundred years of its early history. Travellers passed through the settlement, some stayed for a little while and then moved on and an increasing number became permanent residents. The shifting of the population was not conducive to the growth of a Masonic Lodge. Some activities were held. There is a record of a Masonic Ball in December 1881, held in McDougall Hall. Fifteen Masons were present for the event. Despite some devoted efforts Saskatchewan Lodge No. 17 found it increasingly difficult to operate. It fell behind in the payment of its Grand Lodge Dues but later paid them. For the Installation of Officers in March 1886 there were not enough Past Masters available to conduct the ceremony and the Grand Lodge of Manitoba issued a dispensation "empowering Brother Donald Ross, pending installation, to confer degrees and transact general business of this Lodge until he can secure the required number of Past Masters to perform the Installation Ceremony."
In 1888 the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba reported that Brother Francis D. Wilson, Secretary of Saskatchewan Lodge No. 17, had written a letter dated January 11, 1888 saying "The Worshipful Master and Officers of Saskatchewan Lodge No. 17 have decided to return the Charter of this Lodge as they find it impossible to keep it up any longer."
The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba of 1889 report that Saskatchewan Lodge No. 17 had voluntarily surrendered its Charter and had returned to the Grand Lodge Office its records. The furniture of the Lodge had been stored subject to the direction of the Grand Lodge. Thus on February 13, 1889 after seven uncertain years the first Freemasons Lodge in what was to be the Province of Alberta ceased to exit. Very unfortunately the records and papers that were returned to Manitoba were destroyed by a disastrous fire in the Masonic Hall in Winnipeg on November 14, 1894. The Library of the Grand Lodge was completely demolished. Many valuable books and records were permanently lost.
The prairies, to the south, meanwhile, were merely a part of the huge unknown territory known as Rupert's Land. Rupert's Land was a vast area stretching West from Labrador to include the Watershed of the McKenzie River and practically all of what is now known as the Province of British Columbia. It went as far south as the present states of Idaho, Washington Oregon and California. The Treaty of Oregon gave to the United States of America all land south of the 49th parallel and the Hudson's Bay Company owned all of Canada west of Ontario. The Canadian Government was not particularly concerned with the Prairies but the British Government was. It did not wish the territory to fall by default into the hands of the land-hungry American settlers who were pushing rapidly to the west. The War of Independence and the War of 1812–14 had left numerous men ready for adventure and the west called. Indeed it was not beyond the realm of possibility that the United States might use its army to take from Britain the territory west and north of Winnipeg. Thus it was that the British rather than the Canadian Government took decisive action about the Western Prairies.
In March of 1856 Captain John Palliser was commissioned to undertake a study of the Prairies to determine what resources lay in them. A little more than one hundred years had passed since Henday had viewed Alberta through the eyes of a fur trader. Now Palliser and his associates were to determine if the Prairies might be fit for agriculture. Dr. Hames Hector, one of the Palliser associates, wrote "The arid district, though there are many fertile spots throughout its extent, can never be of much advantage to us as a possession" and also that Alberta forests yielded "a very inferior quality of firewood". The Palliser Triangle, as the area was to be called, could, the report said, be reasonably well suited for settlement. It called attention to the greatest of Alberta's resources, an almost unlimited number of square miles of arable land. Few paid attention to the Palliser report. Those who trickled into the land were in search of furs or of gold. In the fall of 1860 some American prospectors found what they thought to be a rich deposit of gold near Rocky Mountain House. The outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 provided Canadians with a final opportunity to keep the American Government out of the Western Prairies. In 1865 when the Civil War ended the question was again raised as to what the Americans would do with its idle but huge armies.
On July 1, 1867 Confederation became a reality in Canada and John A. Macdonald rose to the zenith of his career as Canada's Prime Minister. As he said Canada "quietly annexed" its western flank as far as the Rocky Mountains by purchasing the land from the Hudson's Bay Company but leaving the company with some seven million acres. On May 12, 1870 the Province of Manitoba was created and west from Manitoba to the Rockies lay what was called the North West Territories.
Traders from Montana penetrated into Canadian territory in 1869 from Fort Benton and built the first Fort Whoop-Up near the present location of the city of Lethbridge. Later there followed the Spitzie Post on the Highwood River. The few settlers on the Prairies looked to the south. Even Father Lacombe and the Methodist McDougalls went to Fort Benton, Montana for supplies. From south to north and north to south the gold miners, the whisky pedlars, the traders and the evangelists came and went. North of the 49th Parallel there was no law. A dozen whisky posts grew up and the fur bearing animals, including the buffalo, faced extinction.
In 1872, Colonel P. Robertson-Ross wrote, "Americans from Fort Benton made their way to Edmonton where they openly sold whisky. There was no force to stop them. They could do as they pleased". The public was aroused and Prime Minister Macdonald announced on April 28, 1873 that he proposed to create a Police Force to bring the North West Territories under control. On July 8, 1874 under the command of Lt. Col. G. A. French and Major J. F. Macleod, two hundred and seventy-five men in scarlet uniforms forming a column two miles long, set out from Dufferin, Ontario to bring law and order to a near wilderness comprising some three hundred thousand square miles. One column of what was to be the North West Mounted Police was destined for Edmonton House. The other column headed south, picked up the pioneer settler Jerry Potts and on October 13, 1874 passed the now vacant Fort Whoop-Up and proceeded farther west to build Fort Macleod. By December of 1874 the police barracks in Fort Macleod were habitable and two years later the raw little village had become a bustling centre. Fort Macleod received supplies via the Missouri River and the Fort Macleod to Fort Edmonton trail had become the main axis in the district of Alberta. In 1882 the Macleod Gazette, published by C. E. D. Wood, became Alberta's second newspaper.
The Fort Edmonton-Fort Macleod axis had practically eliminated Rocky Mountain House as a necessary point of communication on that trail. Attention was now centred on the junction of the Bow and Elbow river. On April 10, 1875 the North West Mounted Police had instructions to establish a base there. Inspector Brisebois with a contingent of fifty men arrived in September to start the construction of a Fort to be named Calgary. The only inhabitants of the spot were a Roman Catholic Priest, Father Doucet and an Indian Boy. The detachment found severe devastation that had been wrought by the erstwhile traders and their Whisky Fort. It was not long before the McDougalls, who had arrived in Morley in 1873, built a log church near the new fort. The Hudson's Bay Company moved its building from Ghost River to the new settlement. In the year 1881 the population of Calgary numbered seventy-five.
This was just the beginning. Prime Minister Macdonald had promised that within ten years of Confederation there would be a transcontinental railroad binding British Columbia to the Canadian East. Surveying for the route had already begun. The first plan was to take the railroad from Winnipeg north to Edmonton and over the Yellowhead Pass to British Columbia. The members of the Palliser Commission convinced the government that a much less expensive route to follow was across the flat and unproductive prairies and through the much less treacherous Kicking Horse Pass. The route was changed in September 1881 to pass through Fort Calgary. Of equal importance in the decision was a desire to bring settlers into the Prairies to offset the influx of Americans into the area. In fact, as an enticement, one hundred and sixty acres of land was offered by the Dominion Land Act of 1872, to each settler who paid a filing fee of $10.00 and who resided on the land for three years. The settler, during that time, was required to build a domicile and to break at least fifteen acres of his land.
In July of 1881 the first Canadian Pacific Railway train rolled into Winnipeg and two years later the ribbon of steel had reached a town composed entirely of tents called Medicine Hat. On August 11, 1883 the first train pulled into Calgary. On hand to greet the train was George Murdoch, Calgary's first Mayor; James Lougheed, a lawyer; Major James Walker, Dr. Henderson, the first physician; T. B. Brandon, the first newspaper publisher and George Jacques, a businessman.
The C.P.R. had opened up the West. The age of railroad building had commenced. A narrow gauge railroad was built from Medicine Hat to Lethbridge by 1885. On August 1, 1891 the first train pulled into South Edmonton. In 1885 the population of the District of Alberta, N.W.T. was 6,800 white men and Metis. The southern part of the province had 60% of the population.
In May 1883, a few months before the arrival of the first C.P.R. train in Fort Calgary, a notice was posted requesting all Freemasons to meet in Bro. George Murdoch's store which was located on the East Bank of the Elbow River. Five Masons, Bros. George Murdoch, E. Nelson Brown, A. McNeil, George Monilaws and D. C. Robison responded to the call. Bros. James Walker and John A. Walker had indicated interest but were otherwise engaged. After a discussion it became obvious that there were not enough Masons to form a Lodge and that prospects for candidates were not bright. A few months later not only had the first C.P.R. train arrived but it was followed by a freight train carrying a printing press for the Calgary Herald. The first issue of the Calgary Herald published a notice requesting all Masons interested in forming a Freemason's Lodge to meet in George Murdoch's shack. This second attempt brought a large assembly including R.W. Bro. N. J. Lindsay who was at that time District Deputy Grand Master for District No. 1 in the Grand Lodge of Canada. This brother was elected Chairman of the meeting and R.W. Bro. George Murdoch the secretary. The Masons held regular meetings on Friday nights but were unable to do any Masonic Work because a dispensation had not yet been granted. In due course a petition for a dispensation was forwarded to the Grand Lodge of British Columbia but no reply was received. The Brethren then decided to write to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. Practically at the same time favourable replies were received from both the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. The Calgary Brethren chose to continue correspondence with the Grand Lodge of Manitoba and on January 1, 1884 a dispensation was received to erect Bow River Lodge No. 28, G.R.M. with R.W. Bro. Dr. N. J. Lindsay as the first Worshipful Master. The first meeting of the new Lodge was held on January 6, 1884. Bro. Lindsay travelled to Winnipeg in February to attend the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. At that meeting a Charter was granted to Bow River Lodge No. 28 G.R.M. and Bro. Lindsay was elected Junior Grand Warden. The Grand Lodge of Manitoba now claimed jurisdiction over the North West Territories. Bow River Lodge No. 28, G.R.M. continued to function and became the first Masonic Lodge in the district of Alberta. It was very active and sponsored many of the new Lodges that were organized not only in the North West Territories but also in the Province of Alberta following its organization in 1905.
The tent city of Medicine Hat, after the arrival of the C.P.R., soon turned into a thriving little town. The Masonic Order had its representatives there very early. After a number of preliminary meetings the Brethren petitioned the Grand Lodge of Manitoba for a dispensation to organize a Masonic Lodge. The dispensation was granted on September 1, 1885 and was chartered on February 12, 1887. The Lodge was to be known as Medicine Hat No. 31 G.R.M. Being an important divisional point on the Canadian Pacific Railway the town of Medicine Hat grew and prospered. So did the Masonic Lodge which has maintained a prominent place in Masonic history through all the years.
Further to the west, the N.W.M.P. post of Fort Macleod was growing in importance. It was the crossroads of the American traffic from the south and the Edmonton travellers from the north. The actual history of Freemasonry goes back to the year 1884 when a blacksmith by the name of Rufus Payne arrived wearing a pocket watch and a huge golden chain. The inscription on the watch declared that it had been given to him by the Masonic Lodge in Fort Benton, Montana. The news spread around the small settlement and Freemasons began to make themselves known to each other. They arranged a meeting and Duncan J. Campbell was directed to take the necessary steps to form a Lodge. He corresponded with the Grand Lodge of Canada and was referred to the United Grand Lodge of England who in turn suggested that he contact the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. Manitoba decided that Fort Macleod was much nearer to the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and suggested Bro. Campbell correspond with that body. British Columbia was not about to enter the field as a missionary with the unknowns across the mountains so sent the Macleod request back to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. This time Manitoba agreed to grant a dispensation to form a Lodge.
Meanwhile the Dominion of Canada was experiencing some rough times. The Riel Rebellion broke out in 1885 and threw the N.W.M.P. into a state of frenzied activity. Officers and men were transferred without much notice to the troubled areas. Since many of them were Freemasons and were to be the real foundation of the lodge all activity was suspended.
When conditions settled down a little bit and the N.W.M.P. barracks again had a semi-permanent group, Bro. Duncan J. Campbell requested Bow River Lodge No. 28 G.R.M. to sponsor a Lodge in Fort Macleod. The result was that Alberta Lodge No. 37 G.R.M. was granted a dispensation on May 7, 1886. One of the Charter members was Robert Paterson, who was to have a long and distinguished career in Freemasonry and was to be a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
Although R.W. Bro. A. M. Morden of Pincher Creek, a Past District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, was requested to institute the Lodge there is no record of this being done. Alberta No. 3 not noted, throughout its long history, as being a Lodge that allowed authority to stand in its way, apparently installed officers and proceeded to work. D. W. Davis was the first treasurer and the name Davis was to become inscribed not only on the Masonic Lodge but in the historical annals of the town. Bro. Davis was not a Charter member, there is no record of him affiliating with the Lodge nor of paying any dues until December 1888. His attendance at Lodge meetings was regular and his interest great. The first application for Initiation was presented by Captain John Cotton of the N.W.M.P. on August 3, 1886. He was initiated on August 30 at an Emergent Meeting because he was being transferred and received his other degrees in Battle Lodge. William Denny Antrobus was the first Worshipful Master and presided over the first meeting on August 3, 1886 but then was transferred to North Battleford. He was in the Master's chair just once. John Breadon was the first Senior Warden but in September he too was transferred. That left Duncan John Campbell, as Junior Warden, the senior officer. This condition existed for sixteen months and brought on much conflict and confusion in the Lodge. Peace and harmony did not prevail under Bro. Campbell.
The proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba in 1888 records a report from R.W. Bro. N. J. Lindsay, who was supposed to constitute Alberta No. 37, which says he did not go to Fort Macleod because he had not received his regalia. He says further - "I consider the action of Alberta Lodge No. 37 in obstinately proceeding with the ceremonies in so hasty a manner unwarranted from the circumstances of the case. " The Charter, nevertheless, was granted in May 1887.
Alberta Lodge No. 37 never in its history has lacked ability to voice its feelings, replied:
We note that R.W. Bro. Lindsay grossly violated the Constitution by taking upon himself the issuing of a dispensation, and for a questionable purpose of allowing Brethren of Bow River Lodge No. 28 to wear regalia at their Annual Ball. Such a gross display of ignorance of the requirements of the Constitution prompts us to recommend that the Grand Lodge take action. We regret very much that the D.D.G.M. did not carry out the arrangements made with the Brethren of Fort Macleod to constitute Alberta Lodge and install its officers on December 13. We voice the opinion of the Brethren of Alberta Lodge when we say that they would not have shown any less respect of R.W. Bro. Lindsay's high office, had he appeared with them in apparel not quite so gorgeous as that of King Solomon, in all his glory.
In 1889, Duncan J. Campbell, the first Junior Warden of Alberta No. 37, was elected Worshipful Master. When it became evident that W. Bro. Campbell would be appointed District Deputy Grand Master in 1890, Alberta Lodge objected strenuously and declared that an official visit by R.W. Bro. Campbell would result in the dissolution of Alberta Lodge No. 37. The Lodge wrote to the Grand Master asking him to direct R.W. Bro. Campbell not to visit the Lodge as "the Brethren of Alberta Lodge No. 37 cannot conscientiously receive W. Bro. Campbell as D.D.G.M." Finally it appears that cooler heads prevailed and on November fourth he was received in Alberta No. 37 with Grand Honours. Regrettably the peace was uncomfortable. Bro. Campbell, although he lived in Fort Macleod until his death in 1920, took a demit in 1897 and was never at a Lodge meeting again.
The independence of Alberta No. 37 surfaced again in October 1889 when the formation of the Grand Lodge of Alberta was proposed. This motion appears in the records - "This Lodge is of the opinion that the formation of a Grand Lodge of Alberta is premature and that this Lodge, Alberta No. 37, would still continue its affiliation to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to North Star Lodge in Lethbridge." North Star agreed with the attitude of Alberta No. 37 but when the Province of Alberta was formed in 1905 both Lodges cooperated.
The enthusiasm of the Brethren in Fort Macleod for the basic fundamentals of Freemasonry undoubtedly motivated many of its difficulties, for the early Freemasons protected zealously what they considered right and proper. During the years that followed, Masonry in Alberta was to be enriched by the determination of Alberta No. 37 to maintain inviolate our ancient customs and usages. It also contributed to the Grand Lodge of Alberta some most devout and dedicated Masons.
The old Whisky Post of Fort Whoop-Up which was vacant when the first detachment of N.W.M.P. passed through on the way to establish Fort Macleod assumed importance and a connecting link between Medicine Hat and Fort Macleod. For several years a paddle boat had been sailing between Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. As traffic increased a narrow gauge railroad was built between the two towns.
The engineer on the paddle steamer and the engineer on the first train to arrive in Lethbridge from Medicine Hat over the narrow gauge railway was a Freemason by the name of Thomas McPherson. In fact McPherson has a real place in Canadian History for during the Riel Rebellion of 1885 he was the engineer on the steamboat "Northcote" that was transporting troops and supplies from Swift Current to Prince Albert. The "Northcote" was shelled by the Riel Rebels causing what our late brother the Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker once called "the last naval battle to be fought in Canada". Bro. McPherson survived all the dangers of naval warfare, the paddle steamer and the narrow gauge railroad and became the first Worshipful Master of North Star Lodge No. 41. Indeed when he was 79 years of age he travelled from Tacoma, Washington to Lethbridge to preside over the Fortieth Anniversary meeting of North Star Lodge. He passed away on September 8, 1940. North Star Lodge No. 41, G.R.M. was granted a dispensation by the Grand Lodge of Manitoba on April 16, 1888 and its Charter under that Grand Lodge is dated February 14, 1889.
The hamlet of Banff now enters the historical picture. Its natural and awesome beauty made the area important to the Canadian Pacific Railway not only as an important divisional point but also as an early tourist attraction. The natural flow of hot sulphur water added to the impetus for exploitation. Wherever there was activity it was inevitable that Freemasons would discover some of their Brethren. Thus as soon as Lord Strathcona had driven the last spike in the C.P.R. binding the East to the West there was a movement in the town of Banff to establish a Lodge there. In due course, with the approval of Bow River No. 28 G.R.M., the Grand Lodge of Manitoba granted a dispensation to Cascade Lodge No. 42 dated May 25, 1888. On February 14, 1889 the Charter was granted. Cascade Lodge became, and continues to be, the host of many Masonic meetings. In 1894 the Grand Lodge of Manitoba decided that it should hold its Annual Communication in Banff.
One of the early Whisky Forts in Southern Alberta was called "Spitzie" an old Indian term for "high bluff". This name was to be continued with a much more respectable connotation when the Brethren in the town of Pincher Creek decided to call their Masonic Lodge by that name. In January 1890 three Masons, Inspector White-Fraser, R.N.W.M.P.; John Herron, a rancher and Ab McCullogh, a rancher, met together and decided that there were enough Freemasons in the area to form a Lodge. The dispensation was granted by the Grand Lodge of Manitoba on May 1, 1890. In the meantime Bro. McCullogh had died. W. Bro. John Herron was the first Worshipful Master. The Charter was granted to Spitzie Lodge No. 45 G.R.M. on June 12, 1891. The first meeting of Spitzie Lodge on May 2, 1890 was late in starting because the Brethren had been summoned to assist in extinguishing a prairie fire. One of the first petitions received was from John H. W. Kemmis who later became Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta and Grand Secretary from 1928 to 1942. The Lodge, at its beginning was without a secretary and Mr. H. E. Hyde agreed to act in that capacity. To facilitate this an emergent meeting was called for May 10, his petition accepted and through a series of emergent meetings he received his three degrees and was elected to the office of Secretary in June. Spitzie Lodge held its regular meetings on the Friday on or before the full moon.
Spitzie Lodge grew with the town of Pincher Creek and could always be depended upon to assist in community enterprises. Before there was a hospital in the town it made an annual contribution to the hospital in Fort Macleod and later, through its support, a hospital opened in Pincher Creek. In the early years it permitted the primary classes of the Public School to be held in the Lodge Banquet Hall.
The Canadian Pacific Railway had decided that it was essential to connect Calgary and Edmonton by rail. Thus on July 25, 1890, the Lt. Governor of the North West Territories filled a wheelbarrow with dirt and it was emptied at the point where the Calgary to Edmonton railroad was to begin. It was a time of celebration and people gathered from miles around including a pioneer missionary from Red Deer, Rev. Leonard Gaetz, who gave an address. A 1,400-pound steer was roasted and consumed together with a carload of beer in kegs. The line was completed the next year and ended in South Edmonton across the river from Edmonton. Towns were were laid out along the new railroad and in due course Mason Lodges erected along the Calgary to Edmonton railroad.
At the same time and three years following the demise of Saskatchewan Lodge No. 17, on the evening of July 22, 1892, Ibbetson's Hall in Edmonton was the setting for a meeting where the Freemasons in Edmonton would consider, again, the possibility of having a Lodge in their town. Seven members of the defunct Saskatchewan Lodge, plus eleven more, brought the total to eighteen. The suggestion that the name "Saskatchewan" be revived did not meet with favour and the name "Edmonton" was selected. Bow River Lodge No. 28 G.R.M. was called on to sponsor yet another Masonic Lodge in the district of Alberta and the Grand Lodge of Manitoba granted a dispensation to Edmonton Lodge No. 53 on October 20, 1892 with W.Bro. C.W. Sutter, formerly of Saskatchewan Lodge No. 17, as the first Worshipful Master. The Lodge decided to work in the Ancient York Rite following the tradition set by Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Banff. The Charter was granted on June 16, 1893 with a membership of thirty-four. The fee for a Charter Member was $5.00, the initiation fee $35.00, the yearly dues were $3.00 and an affiliation fee was $5.00.
On April 21, 1893, Dr. E.A. Braithwaite, a pioneer physician, who come west with the N.W.M.P., presented a petition for Initiation. He had taken his discharge from the N.W.M.P. on May 6. 1892 and was now established in Edmonton as a physician and surgeon. He was raised to the sublime degree on September 1, 1893 and then began a long and distinguished Masonic career. In 1898 he became the Worshipful Master of Edmonton Lodge No. 53 and then was appointed a Grand Stewart of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. Continuing on in the Grand Lodge of Manitoba he was elevated to the rank of Grand Master in 1903.
Another prominent name in Alberta Freemasonry is that of J. B. Little, an Edmonton business man, who presented his petition for affiliation on April 30, 1894. His family has continued in the Masonic Tradition until the present time bringing great distinction to the Order.
The small town of Innisfail was to be the next location of a Masonic Lodge. Settlers were coming into the area very rapidly, attracted by some of the best farming land in the opening west. It was just about one hundred years since Anthony Henday had arrived at the high point of land between Innisfail and Red Deer that a few Masons gathered together in the little town to consider the possibilities of establishing a Lodge there. During this period the importance of the fur trade had receded and the richness of agriculture had taken over. Again the procedure followed by other Lodges took place and the Grand Lodge of Manitoba granted a dispensation. Innisfail Lodge No. 58 G.R.M. was instituted on June 21, 1894 and its Charter was granted one year later on July 14, 1895. The Lodge, from its very beginning, had a solid foundation and its history has been one of progress and dedicated work.
The scene of activity moved immediately back to Calgary where Perfection Lodge No. 60 G.R.M. had received a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Manitoba on June 26, 1894, just a few days after Innisfail. The Lodge was constituted on August 7, 1895 and was composed of members preferring to work in the Ancient York Rite as distinct from the Canadian Rite used by Bow River Lodge. The first meetings were held in the same building on Eighth Avenue and Second Street East that Bow River Lodge was occupying. The Lodge had seventeen Charter members and its first Worshipful Master was R.W. Bro. I. S. G. VanWart. The first affiliate in Perfection Lodge was W. Bro. T. F. English, who later became the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. Both Bow River and Perfection moved from their small building to larger quarters in the Victoria Block on Eighth Avenue in 1899 and that year the Secretary of Perfection Lodge was paid $25.00 for his work. That $25.00 became the basis of Perfection's Benevolent Fund for the Secretary, Bro. J. T. Macdonald donated it for that cause. Bro. Macdonald was another of several members of Perfection who progressed to occupy the Grand Master's Chair. At the end of 1895 Perfection faced a deficit in financing with only 31 members but at the end of 1901 it showed a bank balance of $1,511.00 and a membership of 108. Tunnel Mountain in Banff was the scene of a meeting of Perfection Lodge in 1901 when the Worshipful Master, W. Bro. Webster, presided over the conferring of a degree.
Perfection Lodge prospered as indicated by the fact that in 1907 the Lodge leased the two top floors of the Alexander Corner from Sir James Lougheed at a rental of $1,900.00 per year for ten years. By the time the new Lodge rooms were remodelled and furnished the expenditure was $16,143.00. This is an example of the strength of this Lodge that has throughout its history worked to live up to its name Perfection, in the type of ritual work carried on, in its charitable enterprises and in its contribution to Masonry at large.
Back up on the Calgary to Edmonton line the town of Lacombe was beginning to show signs of growth and Freemasonry was stirring. The Grand Lodge of Manitoba granted a dispensation and Eureka Lodge No. 65 G.R.M. was instituted on September 16, 1896 and received its Charter on June 10, 1897. lt was a small but enthusiastic group of Masons that formed this Lodge. They rented a small lodge room in the centre of the village. It was very close quarters for work in the Ancient York Rite but the price was right at 53.00 per month. Later this building became a Chinese Laundry and was demolished only a few years ago to make room for an urban renewal program. At one point in its history Eureka suspended eleven members for non payment of dues. When some of the suspended Brethren applied for reinstatement their applications were refused. At an emergent meeting on February 18. 1897 Bro. W. F. Puffer was initiated and commenced an outstanding record of a family in Freemasonry that has continued down to the present. At this same meeting Candidates were passed and raised. It was Bro. Puffer who commenced the first Historical Register of Eureka Lodge and then ensued a space of thirty-two years in which there was no entry. Bro. Puffer took up the pen again and attempted to fill in the history of the missing years.
South Edmonton was increasing in size. In fact it was to cease to be a part of Edmonton and to become a separate municipality in 1899. It took the name of Strathcona. Previous to this historic event the Masons in South Edmonton had banded together with enough strength to petition the Grand Lodge of Manitoba for a dispensation which was issued on January 28, 1897 and the lodge was Chartered on June 10, 1897. The first Worshipful Master was a lawyer, A. C. Rutherford, who was to become the first Premier of Alberta and later the Chancellor of the new University of Alberta. He was followed by T.F. English, who later became Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
Acadia almost failed to qualify for its Charter because, although the Lodge approved its By-Laws on May 27, 1897 and mailed them to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, the Post Office never did deliver them. A new set of by-laws had to be scribed out hastily but were not approved by Grand Lodge until 1899, some years after the Charter had been granted.
The fact that Acadia had received a Charter was a source of great pride to the members. The minutes record that in 1897 a "Charter Framing Committee" was appointed and for several months it reported progress. The final report of the committee was given in 1898 and the framed Charter was placed in the Lodge room.
The next year Acacia found that it was not located in South Edmonton but in a new village, on the same site, now called Strathcona. The seal of the Lodge had to be returned to Winnipeg so that Grand Lodge could make the appropriate adjustments.
Mail arrived in Strathcona on the second Thursday of each month which also happened to be the meeting night of Acacia Lodge. There were times when the coming of the mail overshadowed the importance of the Lodge meeting and there was no quorum for the meeting. Some discussions were held about changing the night of the meeting in order to avoid the conflict but there is no record of action being taken. We presume another solution was found for the dilemma.
There was a constant concern in Acacia Lodge about its Lodge Room located in Ross Hall and owned by one Brother Ross. Brother Ross put two proposals before Acacia Lodge. The first was that he would rent the hall for $7.00 per month and remain the landlord. The second was that Acacia Lodge would be both landlord and tenant for $11.00 per month. The second proposal was accepted. Acacia then rented the Hall to the Town of Strathcona for $6.00 per month. The I.O.O.F. and the Orangemen also used the premises. The Lodge as Landlord was obliged to pay the Janitor which cost $1.25 per month. The Brethren decided this was an exorbitant wage and reduced the pay to $1.15 per month. Even with the use of the Hall by several organizations the finances of Acacia were precarious and both Bro. Ross and the janitor had a difficult time in collecting their money. January 1901 was very cold and dissatisfaction was expressed both because the heating system was inadequate and also because Bro. Ross wished to raise the rent. However the matter was resolved when blinds were bought for the windows to ensure privacy. Discontent with the hall surfaced again in 1902 and it was proposed that the Lodge purchase a lot for its own building. A committee was formed to meet with the Oddfellows to investigate having the old hall lighted with electricity. It was a source of alarm to the Lodge when their share of the first light bill was forty cents, much more than kerosene lamps had cost.
On December 1, 1902 the Lodge did buy a lot for $150.00, one third down and the balance in two equal payments. The lot was on Whyte Avenue and because the Lodge now owned property it became incorporated in 1903 under the Masonic Act of the North West Territories.
In 1900 the minutes note that a Lodge meeting could not be held because of the lack of a quorum. The Brethren were at the train station bidding farewell to the "Volunteers for South Africa". One other interesting note is that on December 29, 1898, a brother Mason from England died in South Edmonton on his way to the Klondike. The Brethren of Acacia Lodge assembled to "show respect to Brother Allyne" and held a Masonic Funeral Service.
Both Edmonton Lodge No. 53 G.R.M. and Acacia Lodge No. 66 G.R.M. practised the Ancient York Rite. There were a number of Masons in the two bustling and growing towns of Edmonton and Strathcona who had not affiliated with these Lodges because they were not accustomed to this ritual. Such Brethren were invited to meet in the Bellamy and Co. Offices on July 10, 1900 to consider their future in Freemasonry. Ten Brethren assembled and passed a motion - "In the opinion of this meeting it is desirable, in the interests of Freemasonry, that a new Lodge under the Canadian Ritual be formed."
At a meeting of Edmonton Lodge No. 53 G.R.M. on July 19, 1900 it was agreed to recommend that a dispensation be granted to Jasper Lodge, the first Worshipful Master was to be W. Bro. J. J. Dunlop. D.D.G.M. R.W. Bro. John De Sousa of Calgary instituted the Lodge on October 5, 1900 and the officers of Jasper Lodge U.D. conferred a third degree. R.W. Bro. Dr. A. C. Braithwaite, then the Grand Registrar of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, was present. The Lodge rented space in the Dyke Building at a rental of $3.00 per month. The Initiation fee was $35.00 and the yearly dues were $6.00.
It is reported that W. Bro. Thomas Bellamy held the position of Lodge Treasurer for twenty years. He is said to have been one of the best ritualists in the area. The reason for this, according to reports, is that his business required that he travel considerably by horse and buggy. Bro. Bellamy would recite the ritual aloud to the wide open spaces while driving. The horse became so used to the ritual that when Bro. Bellamy made an error the horse would come to a complete stop and refused to budge until the error was corrected. Thus Bellamy became word perfect in his ritual.
By June 1904 the membership of Jasper Lodge had increased to seventy-five. The following year, in February 1905, W. Bro. Thomson of Acacia Lodge was a visitor. He rode horseback from Strathcona to Edmonton to attend. At a later meeting on May 8th among those initiated was H. P. Reid who was later to become the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
Jasper Lodge met first in Hourston's Hall, later over Johnston-Walker's store on Jasper Avenue East. On December 14, 1903 it moved to the Masonic Hall on 102nd Street south of Jasper Avenue. The premises were owned by Edmonton Lodge No. 53 and that Lodge rented space to Jasper Lodge for $15.00 per month for 24 meetings per year. Any additional meetings brought an extra charge of $2.50 for each meeting.
It should be noted that in the Fall of 1902 the Low Level Bridge was completed and now the trains no longer completed their runs in Strathcona. They now travelled over the Low Level Bridge to the depot of the Yukon and Pacific Railway which was located at the foot of McDougall Hill.
Before Jasper Lodge No. 78 G.R.M. was formed the hamlet of Red Deer had been established in the year 1884 on the homestead of a pioneer missionary, Rev. Leonard Gaetz. At that time it was one hundred miles away from any railroad for it was not until 1890 that the C.P.R. passed through the hamlet on its way to Edmonton. The coming of the railroad, as usual, caused a growth in population and the hamlet became a village. Then in 1900 with a population of some 300 citizens it became the Town of Red Deer. Naturally with that number of people it was assumed that there were enough Masons residing there to form a Lodge. The Grand Lodge of Manitoba actually agreed to issue a dispensation and a meeting was held on June 23, 1894 to institute a Lodge. There were seven Masons present plus Elias Code. Since Elias Code refused to take the Tyler's Oath he was excluded from the meeting. This Lodge did initiate a Mr. Philisk Pidgeon. From the scanty records it must be concluded that the Lodge got off to a very shaky start. In fact the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba suggested by letter on April 16, 1896 that there be a change in officers and that Brother C. P. Gee become Worshipful Master. Bro. Gee remained in this position until October 21, 1896 when the Lodge ceased to exist. It had never received a Charter.
History moved on, Red Deer grew, the railroad had arrived and the Masons were not to be vanquished. They met again in late 1898 and early in 1899. Eureka Lodge No. 65 G.R.M. sponsored a petition recommending a dispensation to establish a lodge in Red Deer. On July 27, 1899 a second dispensation was issued naming Bro. S. P. Fream as Worshipful Master with twelve Charter members to support him, among them was Bro. Philisk Pidgeon, M.M., Red Deer U.D.
While the Lodge was under dispensation and coincident with its institution on September 4, 1899 a special communication of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba was held for the purpose of laying the cornerstone of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Red Deer with R.W. Bro. E. N. Brown, D.D.G.M. acting as Grand Master for both that ceremony and the institution of Red Deer Lodge, later to be numbered No. 73 G.R.M.
The cornerstone had deposited in it a scroll recording that it was laid in the "sixty-third year of the reign of our Most Gracious Sovereign, Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and the Colonies". His Excellency the Earl of Minto was Governor General; the Rt. Hon. Wilfred Laurier, Prime Minister; Hon. A. E. Forget, Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories and Hon. F. W. G. Haultain, Premier of the North West Territories. It also contained a copy of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba and current issues of the Edmonton Bulletin, the Calgary Herald, the Calgary Tribune, the Manitoba Free Press and the first issue of the Edmonton Post.
When the year 1899 came to a close the membership of Red Deer Lodge had increased from twelve to twenty-two. A Charter for Red Deer Lodge No. 73 was granted on June 14, 1900 with representation being present from most of the sister lodges in Alberta. Thus Masonry was firmly established in Red Deer. A very interesting note is that in the report of the D.D.G.M. in the year 1900 the early Red Deer Lodge is referred to as No. 59 although this appears to be the only mention of a number and the functioning Red Deer Lodge was numbered 73.
The northern part of the district of Alberta now took over. Fort Saskatchewan, a small town immediately east of Edmonton had assembled enough Masons to petition the Grand Lodge of Manitoba for a dispensation and Victoria Lodge was instituted on October 15, 1900. This was followed by a Charter dated June 20, 1901.
After many attempts to gather enough members to form a Lodge the Masons of Wetaskiwin finally succeeded. The difficulty was a common one on the developing Edmonton to Calgary route. Men moved into the district, stayed for a short while and then moved on. The permanent residents were a few professional men. The others were fur traders, guides and people searching for homesteads. A petition for permission to form a Lodge was submitted to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba and the dispensation was issued. The Lodge was instituted on October 4, 1902 and the Charter of Wetaskiwin Lodge No. 83 G.R.M. was granted on June 12, 1903. From that date on the lodge prospered and became one of the firmly based Lodges in the District of Alberta and continued to exercise its influence in later years. It contributed to the Grand Lodge of Alberta, M.W. Bro. Morley M. Merner, a Grand Master.
Farther south and nearer Calgary the area surrounding the town of Olds was quickly becoming one of the prime farming areas in the district. The Masons gathered together to discuss the possibility of forming a Lodge. One more petition was forwarded to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba and, in due course, the dispensation was granted. Mountain View Lodge was instituted on February 24, 1904 and the charter was subsequently approved on June 19, 1904. Once again a rural Lodge became a strong link in the Masonic chain that was being forged in the district of Alberta. In the year that this history is being written the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta is a member of the Lodge that commenced as Mountain View Lodge No. 86 G.R.M. He is M.W. Bro. W. E. Foster.
The activity in Masonic circles had been mainly on the Calgary to Edmonton line because it was in this stretch of fertile territory that the main stream of settlers was directed. The scene now shifts to the south of Calgary where the ranching interests were making themselves felt. For Masons the development centred on the small town of Nanton which was growing because of the large ranching lands to the west and the expanse of prairies to the east. After a number of the usual preliminary meetings it was recommended to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba that a dispensation be granted to the Brethren in Nanton to form a Lodge. The dispensation was granted and the Lodge was instituted on November 22, 1904. The Charter of Nanton Lodge No. 97 G.R.M. is dated June 15, 1905 and consecration ceremonies, attended by many visitors from sister Lodges in Calgary and Fort Macleod, followed.
The Masons in Ponoka had a difficult time getting their Lodge under way. They needed seven Charter members and were able to muster six, the bank manager, the Lumber merchant, a lawyer and several hunters and traders are included in their list. The problem was that the hunters and traders were itinerant and could not be relied upon to remain in the town for any length of time. It was discovered that one resident of Ponoka was an Entered Apprentice Mason. The Brethren appealed to Eureka Lodge No. 65 G.R.M. to help them pass and raise the valuable Entered Apprentice. It was then that Eureka Lodge was able to sponsor the establishment of a lodge in Ponoka which was to be called Britannia. The dispensation arrived in due course and Britannia Lodge was instituted on December 31, 1904. While the Lodge was under dispensation a disastrous fire destroyed all the possessions of the Lodge. Such was the enthusiasm that it took but four days for the Ponoka Masons to find new quarters and recommence their preparations for consecration. The Charter for Britannia Lodge No. 98 G.R.M. was issued on June 15, 1905 by the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. Despite their need for new members the Brethren did not allow a desire to grow overshadow the quality required for Masonic initiation. An early record states that "the Brethren were very careful with the ballot."
Britannia Lodge occupied several locations in Ponoka until in 1949 it was decided that they needed a Lodge Room of their own. Their desire was assisted by a bequest that was made to the Lodge. They managed the accumulated funds very well and in 1974 were able to build their long desired Masonic Hall for the sum of $20,000.00 which was paid for by the cash they had on hand.
By the summer of 1905 the district of Alberta could boast that there were eighteen Masonic Lodges operating within its boundaries. Twelve of these were operating under the Ancient York Rite and six were using the Canadian Ritual. They covered the south from Medicine Hat on the East to Pincher Creek on the West and from Fort Macleod through Calgary and Banff north to Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan. Certainly a monument to the hard working Masons and to the energy and vision of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba.
The influence of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba on Freemasonry in Alberta cannot be overemphasized. From the very beginning in the early days in Edmonton down to the present time there has been fraternal support. Prior to 1905 the members of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba faithfully visited the district of Alberta despite the difficulties of travel. The various Grand Masters came when at all possible and invariably delegated their powers to the District Deputies when it was possible. M.W.Bro. Dr. A.E. Braithwaite was elected Grand Master when he was a resident of Edmonton. The Grand Lodge of Manitoba met in Banff in 1894, in Calgary in 1902 and in Edmonton in 1904. During the early years the Grand Lodge Officers were keen to see that Masonic practices and rituals were performed well. Annually the Manitoba Record of Proceedings carried reports from District Deputies of the progress of Lodges in the District of Alberta. It would be a sad occasion, even today, if the Grand Lodge of Alberta did not receive at its Annual Communication a delegation from its Mother Grand Lodge.
History rolls on and political changes do come. It now became expedient to divide the huge North West Territories into smaller political sections. Thus the Government of Canada on the first day of September 1905 carved out two new provinces, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Alberta must now separate itself from the Grand Lodge of Manitoba.
There had been a feeling, even before 1905, that the Lodges in Alberta needed a central authority more accessible than the Winnipeg office of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. Some Lodges, as has been noted already, resisted such a move and declared that their loyalty would remain with Manitoba. Yet before the Province of Alberta was formally established Medicine Hat Lodge No. 31 G.R.M. on May 2, 1905 proposed to the senior Lodge, Bow River No. 28 G.R.M., that it call a convention comprised of representatives of all Lodges in the District of Alberta at which the formation of a Grand Lodge within Alberta be considered. Bow River issued the call and set the meeting for Calgary on May 24, 1905. Twenty-six delegates attended representing only nine of the eighteen Lodges. Another meeting was planned for July 6, 1905 and three Past Masters were commissioned to prepare a report on the procedure to be taken to form a Grand Lodge in Alberta. Information was required concerning:-
- The total Lodge membership in the Territory.
- The finances needed to establish and to operate a Grand Lodge.
- The methods by which the required funds could be raised.
As scheduled another convention was held on July 6, 1905 but only eight Lodges were represented and merely informal discussions were held. R.W. Bro. Hogbin, Worshipful Master of Bow River Lodge called another meeting for August 12 and set the date of October 12, 1905 for the founding meeting of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. The meeting was to be held in Calgary and the attendance of all Past Masters, Masters and Wardens from all eighteen Lodges was requested.
The fact that Alberta had been established as a Province of Canada in September 1905 had an influence on those Masons who continued to feel a loyalty to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba because at that meeting seventeen of the eighteen Lodges had representation. M.W. Bro. W. G. Scott, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba came west for the convocation. R.W. Bro. Hogbin presided and R.W. Bro. George Macdonald acted as Secretary. The convention agreed:
- That we do proceed and do hereby constitute a Grand Lodge under the Ancient Charges and Constitution of Freemasonry in and for the Province of Alberta.
- That the title of the Grand Lodge be "The Grand Lodge of Alberta, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons".
- That the Constitution, Rules and Regulations of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba be adopted for the time being with such amendments as the change in jurisdiction might require.
- That R.W. Bro. George Macdonald be the Grand Master; R.W. Bro. H. C. Taylor the Deputy Grand Master; R.W. Bro. T. F. English, the Senior Grand Warden and R.W. Bro. O. W. Kealy the Junior Grand Warden; R.W. Bro. J.J. Dunlop the Grand Secretary and R.W. Bro. J. S. Chivers the Grand Chaplain.
- That the Grand Lodge of Alberta consist of three districts and that three District Deputy Grand Masters be elected.
The Grand Master of Manitoba, M.W. Bro. W. G. Scott, assisted by M.W. Bro. Dr. E. A. Braithwaite, P.G.M. installed the newly elected Grand Officers. After the Installation and after the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, according to ancient usage, the following business was transacted:
- Several sections of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba were amended. A Board of General Purposes was established and directed to hold regular annual meetings the day before the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge. It could be convened at any time by order of the Grand Master or by the President of the Board who was the Deputy Grand Master.
- The section in the Constitution dealing with the Board of General Purposes was to read, "The Board of General Purposes shall consist of the Grand Master, the Past Grand Masters, the Deputy Grand Master, the Grand Treasurer, the Grand Registrar and eight others elected by the Grand Lodge each year who must be either Masters or Past Masters of Private Lodges and members of Grand Lodge. Four elected members shall retire each year and shall not be eligible for re-election until the year following the year in which they retire.
- A seal for the Grand Lodge of Alberta was to be similar to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba except that the Manitoba Buffalo in the lower left hand corner was to be replaced by three crowns.
- A committee was appointed to revise the Constitution.
- M.W. Bro. Dr. Braithwaite and M.W. Bro. Scott were elected Honorary Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
- The first Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alberta was scheduled for the town of Medicine Hat on February 20, 1906.
- The eighteen Lodges now operating within the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Alberta were to be numbered -
|Bow River No. 1||Calgary||Canadian Rite|
|Medicine Hat No. 2||Ancient York Rite|
|Alberta No. 3||Fort Macleod||Canadian Rite|
|North Star No. 4||Lethbridge||Ancient York Rite|
|Cascade No. 5||Banff||Ancient York Rite|
|Spitzie No. 6||Pincher Creek||Canadian Rite|
|Edmonton No. 7||Ancient York Rite|
|Innisfail No. 8||Ancient York Rite|
|Perfection No. 9||Calgary||Ancient York Rite|
|Eureka No, 10||Lacombe||Ancient York Rite|
|Acacia No. 11||Strathcona||Canadian Rite|
|Red Deer No. 12||Ancient York Rite|
|Victoria No. 13||Fort Saskatchewan||Canadian Rite|
|Jasper No. 14||Edmonton||Canadian Rite|
|Wetaskiwin No. 15||Ancient York Rite|
|Mountain View No. 16||Olds||Ancient York Rite|
|Nanton No. 17||Ancient York Rite|
|Britannia No. 18||Ponoka||Ancient York Rite|
Five months following the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Alberta the First Annual Communication was held in Medicine Hat on February 20, 1906. At this meeting R.W. Bro. Oswald Kealy was elected and installed as Grand Master. A number of housekeeping matters were attended to making the Constitution more definite and its form more consistent with local situations. The Board of General Purposes established a number of committees. Constituent Lodges were to consider recommendations and submit them to the committees before they were brought to Grand Lodge. The committees of the Board of General Purposes were:
- Grievances and Appeals
- Condition of Masonry
- Foreign Relations and Correspondence Finance
- Charters and New Lodges
- Credentials and Reception
- Fraternal Dead
The shaping of the Constitution was an exacting and a detailed task worked on for some time by the members of Grand Lodge. It was not until April 10, 1907 that the Constitution was finalized at a Special Communication of Grand Lodge held in Calgary on April 10, 1907 presided over by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. H. C. Taylor. After three full days of exhausting discussion the draft of the Constitution with amendments was adopted unanimously on April 12, 1907. Some changes included - (1) the appointment of the District Deputy Grand Masters to the Board of General Purposes; (2) The provision that the President and Vice-President of the Board be elected by ballot from the members of the Board and that the members of standing committees be elected by open vote and that each committee consist of five members; (3) All vacancies in committees were to be filled by a vote of the Board of General Purposes; (4) The duties of all committees were outlined in detail.
The Annual Communication in Edmonton on May 27, 1908 at which R.W. Bro. G. H. Hogbin was installed as Grand Master had a report from the Grand Librarian, an officer not listed in previous records. The number of districts was increased from three to six. M.W. Bro. Hogbin violated article 99 of the Constitution by appointing eight Grand Stewards whereas the Constitution said in Article 99 that there should be four. At the next Communication in Lethbridge on May 26, 1909, the newly installed Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. T. Macdonald went further and appointed twelve Grand Stewards.
THE FIRST SEVEN YEARS 1906–1913
The first seven years of the existence of the Province of Alberta and of the Grand Lodge of Alberta A.F. and A.M. was a period of great expansion. Settlers were now rapidly moving into the province and a network of railroad lines were being constructed to service the far flung areas. During these years the Grand Lodge issued dispensations to sixty-three Lodges although some of them were not constituted until the year 1914. The number of Lodges grew from the original eighteen to eighty-one.
The town of High River has the distinction of being the first town to have a dispensation granted by the new Grand Lodge of Alberta. Following the granting of the dispensation the ceremony of Institution was conducted by the first Grand Master, M.W.Bro. George Macdonald assisted by a number of his Grand Lodge Officers. The Charter was granted at the First Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alberta and the ceremonies of Constitution and Consecration were held in High River on November 25, 1906. Then followed in rapid succession Carstairs Lodge No. 20 which was constituted on November 30, 1906, King Hiram No. 21 in Didsbury constituted on April 9, 1907 and Corinthian No. 22 in Okotoks constituted on April 12, 1907. Calgary was now large enough to commence a third Lodge which carried the name Calgary No. 23 and the constitution ceremonies were held on April 13, 1907.
Masonic activities soon moved away from the Fort Macleod - Edmonton axis and the movement for a Lodge was begun in the town of Vermilion east of Edmonton. The first recorded meeting was in May 1906 when the Brethren requested Victoria Lodge No. 13 to sponsor a petition for a dispensation. This was granted by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Kealy. For the institution ceremonies on November 3, 1906, R.W. Bro. C. H. Steward-Wade, Grand Registrar was present with R.W. Bro. Baker, the Grand Director of Ceremonies at which W. Bro. J. A. Roseborough was installed as the first Worshipful Master. The Lodge first met above the Post Office in the building owned by the first Senior Warden, Bro. M. A. Brimacombe. The Brethren decided that they would make their own furniture so the pedestals, altar, wands, kneeling benches and Warden's columns were all hand made and first put into use at a meeting on January 29, 1907. The constitution ceremonies of Vermilion Lodge No. 24 were held on July 11, 1907. Eight meetings were held in 1906 and twenty-one in 1907 with degree work being carried out at practically all the meetings. At the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in 1909, W. Bro. M. A. Brimacombe was appointed a Grand Steward. This commenced a long series of Brethren from Vermilion who served Grand Lodge with distinction. Notable was S. C. Heckbert who became Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta in 1955 and was also a long time editor of the Grand Lodge Bulletin.
On the same railroad line as Vermilion but some miles to the west was the thriving town of Vegreville. The first white settlers came to that district in 1881 and a small town was established in 1893. When the Canadian Northern Railway built a line through the area a new site on the railroad was located in 1905 where the modern town now stands. J. B. Holden, a homestead inspector arrived in Frank Morrison's blacksmith shop one day to have his horses shoed and they discovered both men were Masons. This resulted in a meeting in July in the store of Stanley Reid. There were five men present and they determined if they added Sam English and Cyrus Young from Beaver Lake there would be seven to form a Lodge. On Thursday, September 27, 1906, R.W. Bro. A.R. Dickson, D.D.G.M. of Wetaskiwin, assisted by R.W. Bro. C. H.Stewart-Wade, the Grand Registrar, instituted Wheat Sheaf Lodge at a meeting in the Presbyterian Church with W. Bro. A. G. Harlan the first Worshipful Master. The following meetings were held in the Queen's Hotel Sample Room. The Charter was granted on February 20, 1907 and the consecration ceremonies on July 10, 1907 in the Vegreville School room with M.W. Bro. H. C. Taylor, Grand Master, officiating. For some obscure reason the Lodge became St. John's Lodge No. 25. There were sixteen Charter members representing the cosmopolitan nature of St. John's Lodge. They had arrived there from Scotland, many Provinces in Eastern Canada and six States of the United States. The Lodge was very active and in one evening they initiated two candidates and raised two candidates. The Lodge meeting closed at 1:30 a.m. with no record of when the Brethren left for home.
St. John's Lodge remained active and strong. It had as a long time member one of the greatly loved Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Alberta in the person of M.W. Bro. S. H. Hardin.
The Crows Nest Pass, likely named after the Crow Tribe of Indians, was not considered seriously for settlement until the Canadian Pacific Railway built a line through the narrow pass in 1896 and discovered that there were sulphur springs at the place to be called Frank. About the same time the prospectors found rich seams of coal throughout the district. In September 1901 the first coal mining town was established in Frank but this had been preceded in 1896 by a log Hotel which was patronized as a health resort. At 4:10 a.m. on April 23, 1903 the spectacular Frank Slide occurred. In 100 seconds 100 million tons of limestone and shale broke away from the top of Turtle Mountain and hurtled 3,600 feet to the valley floor and some bounced for more than a mile. At least 76 people died. Numerous dwellings, two ranches and a coal plant were buried.
Three years after that tragedy, in the year 1906, there were a number of Masons residing in Frank and decided that they would like to organize a Frank Lodge. A request was presented to Spitzie Lodge No. 6 and that Lodge agreed to forward a petition for a dispensation. The name Frank caused considerable difficulty and the D.D.G.M. suggested another name be chosen because the new Lodge hoped to draw support from the surrounding towns. The name Sentinel was decided upon to indicate that the towns stood as sentinels guarding the entrance to Crows Nest Pass. The institution took place on December 21, 1906 with R.W. Bro. C. E. Smythe, D.D.G.M. of District 2 in charge and W. Bro. J.H. Bricker formerly of Elk River Lodge No. 36 G.R.B.C. was installed as the first Worshipful Master. The consecration, with the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. G. H. Hogbin present, was held on July 23, 1908. Sentinel Lodge No. 26 moved from Frank to Hillcrest holding its first meeting there on April 16, 1913. G. E. Cruickshank, later a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, was raised on September 24, 1911. It was on June 19, 1914 at 9:30 a.m. after 228 men had entered a mine above Hillcrest an enormous blast or series of blasts shattered the mine ruining the two large ventilator fans. The blast killed 189 men, the worst mining disaster in Canadian History. Eleven members of Sentinel Lodge were killed, one body, that of Bro. S. H. Bainbridge was never recovered. Sentinel Lodge held a funeral service near the spot where the body of the brother was thought to be located. The Grand Lodge started a relief fund and various Lodges throughout the province contributed over $2,000.00 for assistance to the families. The Hillcrest disaster was not the only tragedy in that mining district. On April 1, 1908 a wind of cyclonic proportions whipped into flame a smouldering fire near Fernie, B.C. and sent it roaring eastward down the Valley. The city of 6,000 was devastated and eight persons died. Several mines were closed following the disasters and unemployment became a problem. Through all of this Sentinel Lodge struggled on and created for itself a place in history.
Stettler, in the early years of the twentieth century, was a village east of Lacombe and prospered as the centre of a growing agricultural community. It was inevitable that Masons of the district should wish to have a Lodge of their own. A petition was submitted to Grand Lodge and the dispensation was issued. Apollo Lodge was instituted on February 7, 1907 with the consecration ceremonies for Apollo Lodge No. 27 being performed on November 27, 1908. This Lodge had a solid group of devoted Freemasons who were serious about their work in the Masonic tradition. The Lodge prospered and grew to be one of the outstanding Lodges in the eastern part of the Province.
Back in Calgary another Lodge was in the making. It was Ashlar Lodge No. 28 which was instituted on February 22, 1907 and consecrated on June 4, 1908. M.W. Bro. H. E. Howard who was initiated in Quarry Lodge No. 70, later affiliated with Ashlar Lodge No. 28, served as Grand Master 1951–52.
As time passed the town of Red Deer was growing and many Masons who were trained in the Canadian Ritual lived in or near the town. It was not surprising that this group wished to form a Lodge that worked in their own rite. Early in 1906 a group of these Brethren met with representatives of Red Deer Lodge No. 12 and convinced that Lodge that it should sponsor another Lodge in Red Deer. The petition was forwarded to Grand Lodge and a dispensation was granted on February 28, 1907. It was instituted on March 13, 1907 by the D.D.G.M. of District No. 1, R.W. Bro. J. Hinchcliffe. A Charter member and the first Junior Warden of Kenilworth Lodge No. 29 G.R.A. was W. J. Botterill, one of several members of Kenilworth Lodge who later became Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. During the time when the Lodge was under dispensation five candidates were initiated, passed and raised and the membership climbed to seventeen. The D.D.G.M. in his report in 1908 said, "The officers are zealous, the work splendid and the bright prospects which this Lodge had at its inauguration are being realized." The Charter was granted and Kenilworth Lodge No. 29 was constituted on May 29, 1908. The report of the D.D.G.M. was prophetic for Kenilworth Lodge has continued throughout the years to be a leader in the quality of its Masonic Work. The membership rose to 33 at the close of the year 1908.
The meetings of Kenilworth Lodge, in common with a number of Lodges in Alberta, were held on the Wednesday on or before the full moon. At first it shared a hall above a pool room with Red Deer Lodge No. 12 but there were a number of objections to this arrangement. In 1912 Red Deer Lodge No. 12 proposed that a Masonic Temple Association be organized to erect a building at a cost of $35,000.00. Some years were to pass before this dream could become a reality but the Lodges moved to the Michener Building where Kenilworth paid a rent of $25.00 per month with an additional $1.00 a meeting being paid to Mrs. McDougal for caretaking work. The Oddfellows were joint tenants with the Masonic Lodges. At one time it was discovered that the Oddfellows were renting out the banquet hall and collecting a fee. At the same time Kenilworth was paying a share of the electric light bill, a fact that did not create peace and harmony amongst the orders.
After Kenilworth got underway it ran into the financial problems that worried so many of the early Lodges. The reason was, and still continues to be, that the dues required by Grand Lodge were far too high. Indeed a question was raised about the salary paid to the Grand Secretary. It was considered to be excessive for the work he had to do. In July 1915 the inevitable happened and the yearly dues were raised from $6.00 to $8.00 per year.
Back, now, to the Crow's Nest Pass where the coal industry was becoming more and more important with the increasing of rail transportation and the growing number of inhabitants who relied on coal for heating purposes. The coal mines recovered from the disasters that had plagued them and the town of Coleman was a very active place. The Masons gathered together thinking that they would like a Lodge of their own despite the proximity of Sentinel Lodge. Thus it came about that a dispensation was granted and followed by the Institution of Summit Lodge No. 30 on April 3, 1907. The ceremony of constitution was duly solemnized on July 22, 1908.
Farther to the East of Crow's Nest Pass and on the railroad line that ran from Lethbridge to Medicine Hat was the small town of Taber. It was situated in the centre of a good farming area and settlers moved in from various areas, many of them coming from the United States. It was early in 1907 when the Masons began their meetings and ultimately petitioned for a dispensation. They chose to work in the Canadian Rite. The institution ceremonies took place on April 30, 1907 and the constitution on July 10, 1908. The maintenance of the Masonic Lodge in Taber was a continuing problem especially since the area experienced times of poor crops due to a lack of rainfall. Doric Lodge No. 31, as it was named, managed to survive all the vissicitudes. The early Masons were very discreet about discussing their Lodge in public. It is recorded that a number of citizens of the small town were not aware of the existence of a Masonic Lodge. If they were they regarded it as some mysterious gathering about which the less said the better. Nonetheless the Lodge grew slowly and only when a non-Mason approached a Mason with a request for more information. Even then the Investigation Committee was thorough in its work.
Cairo Lodge No. 32, Claresholm, was instituted on June 20, 1907, granted its Charter May 25, 1907 and later constituted on June 24, 1908. The first meeting to discuss forming a Lodge was held in Dr. Dunlop's office on February 1, 1907 with twelve Masons present. The affiliation fee was set at $5.00, initiation fee $50.00 and lodge dues at $5.00. The first meetings were held in the Odd Fellows Hall. Claresholm's history and Cairo Lodge are very closely linked. The first Mayor of the town, Wm. Moffat, Sr., later a member of the Legislature, was a Charter member. Later Bro. C. T. Milnes, a prominent rancher and business man became a Mayor and following that a member of the Alberta Legislature. The Post master, Geo. W. Simpson, was a long time member of the School Board and a stalwart in Cairo Lodge. In later years other Masons became Mayor of the Town and H.O. Haslam an M.L.A. At the time of Church union the Lodge purchased the former Presbyterian Church as a Lodge Hall for $2,100.00 and spent $2,600.00 on renovations. The new hall was dedicated by M.W. Bro. Canon Middleton, the Grand Master.
Indicative of Cairo's association with the town, in the year 1909 a brick school was built in the town and the cornerstone was laid by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, M.W. Bro. J. T. MacDonald. When the school was razed several years ago to make room for a more modern structure it was discovered that the cavity in the stone contained a scroll signed by the Grand Secretary, M.W. Bro. George Macdonald containing a long list of dignitaries who were then governing the Dominion and the Province "in the eighth year of the reign of our Most Gracious Sovereign, Edward VII, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the colonies".
A very few miles north of Claresholm, the town of Stavely was coming to life and with it, the stirrings of the Masonic Order. In fact Stavely Lodge No. 33 was instituted the day following the Cairo ceremony on June 21, 1907 and the constitution ceremonies two days after Cairo on June 26, 1908. For Stavely Lodge their establishment and continuation was somewhat of a problem for the town did not grow as was anticipated. The lodge drew its strength mainly from the farmers and ranchers of the surrounding area. The members of this Lodge were known throughout the surrounding area for their dedication to their work, which is the Ancient York Rite and for their hearty welcome of visitors. Although their Lodge Room was small it was often crowded to capacity with members and visitors and meetings lasted into the small hours of the morning.
Also in the same week further to the north, the town of Leduc saw the institution of Star of the West Lodge No. 34 on June 25, 1907. The constitution meeting for this Lodge was on June 16, 1908.
Again down in the south, in the town of Medicine Hat, a second lodge was in the process of formation. The usual formalities were proceeded with in proper form and the result was that Mizpah Lodge No. 35 was instituted on August 22, 1907 and after being granted a Charter, was constituted on July 8, 1908.
Back up on the main C.P.R. line from Medicine Hat to Calgary was the town of Gleichen, bordering one of the large Indian Reservations. It was a booming community in view of the fact that a N.W.M.P. detachment was centred there. Nine Masons representing N.W.M.P., clergy, hotel men, C.P.R. employees and bankers formed the Charter membership that was granted a dispensation on October 19, 1907 and instituted on October 31 by the Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Bro. G. H. Hogbin with Rev. H. W. Gibbon Stocken as the first Worshipful Master. At the Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alberta in May 1908 the Charter was granted and M.W. Bro. G. H. Hogbin, now the Grand Master, presided over the consecration of Gleichen Lodge No. 36. There were twelve Charter members. Gleichen Lodge moved its location often, first it met in the old Telford Building which proved to be too cold, then in the Larkin Block which room became too expensive and then to a specially constructed room over Beach's Harness Shop. A big fire in Gleichen in 1916 destroyed the hall, all the furnishings and records. Meetings returned again to the Larkin Building but later the Lodge bought its own building for $2,200,00 and used the upstairs as a Lodge room. The first floor was rented to the Federal Government for many years.
The first Worshipful Master of Camrose Lodge No. 37 was W. Bro. J. W. Scanlan who was installed at the institution of that Lodge on December 5, 1907 by the D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. Dickson. The consecration of the Lodge as conducted by the D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. N. E. Carruthers, on June 26, 1908. Camrose Lodge was not only active in the town of Camrose but it also took a great interest in the surrounding district and in the general progress of Freemasonry. It sponsored Lodges in the towns of Killam, Tofield and Bawlf.
On September 6, 1927 the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. G. E. Cruickshank officiated at the laying of a cornerstone for a new Lodge Hall in the town. In 1950 the building was renovated to accommodate the Bank of Montreal. The Masons very carefully removed the cornerstone and placed it in their Lodge room as a reminder of the early days. The contribution of Masons to the life of the town is indicated by the fact that R.W. Bro. R. H. Hume served as Mayor for eighteen consecutive years. When a new Composite High School was built in 1963 the Chairman of the School Board was Bro. J. L. Dodds and the principal was W. Bro. C. A. McCleary.
Located in between Vegreville and Vermilion, the town of Mannville petitioned for a dispensation. They chose the name of Hope for their Lodge which was instituted on January 21, 1908. The consecration followed the granting of a Charter when the Grand Lodge Communication met that year. Hope Lodge No. 38 was constituted on August 10, 1908.
Lethbridge was now in a position to open a Lodge that would work in the Canadian Rite. It was called Lethbridge No. 39 and was instituted on March 19, 1908 and constituted on July 9, 1908. Then followed the town of Grannum, growing prosperous with its wheat growing farms which started a Lodge called Joppa No. 40. The institution ceremonies were on March 18, 1909 and the constitution on June 17, 1909. Just west of Calgary, the town of Cochrane, nestled in the foothills with a growing ranching development, picked King Solomon No. 41 for its title. King Solomon Lodge No. 41 was instituted on December 4, 1908 and constituted on June 18, 1909. The town of Bowden called its Lodge, Bowden No. 42 and instituted a Lodge on March 3, 1909 with its constitution on June 23, 1909. Further north in the town of Killam, a little to the south-east of Camrose, called the new Lodge there Tuscan No. 43. The date of its institution was April 23, 1909 and on July 20, 1910 Tuscan Lodge No. 43 was duly constituted.
North and east of Killam the town of Wainwright located on the Grand Trunk Railway saw a spectacular growth and with it came the petition to erect a Lodge. This Lodge at its inception had some difficulty in deciding what rite it would adopt. Despite the fact that a number of Charter members were schooled in the Ancient York Rite, they chose to work in the Canadian Rite because the first Worshipful Master, W. Bro. N. S. Kenny, preferred it since he was familiar with that ritual. At the time the Lodge was being formed the Dominion Government had acquired a tract of land where a park would be established to preserve the buffalo and other native animals that faced extinction with the advance of civilization. The park was later to be known as Elk Island Park although its first name was Wood Buffalo Park. The Indians had hunted buffalo for food, clothing, tents and utensils. The settlers valued the buffalo for the meat found in the great humps on their backs and their tongues. Many were killed just for sport. The Masons of Wainwright decided to enshrine the North American Bison in the name of their Lodge calling it Buffalo Park Lodge No. 44 which was granted a dispensation on April 7, 1909, instituted on April 27 and constituted on August 18, 1910.
Wainwright was preceded by the town of Denwood, two miles south. When the Grand Trunk Railway established a divisional point at Wainwright, the town of Denwood gradually moved to the new site. The hotel was moved to become the Wainwright Hotel. This same building now stands in Heritage Park, Calgary and is often the place for Masonic gatherings.
When the Lodge Secretary died in 1912 the Lodge found that it was necessary to pay $300.00 funeral expenses. There was an attempt to collect this amount from the deceased brother's estate but the Lodge withdrew its claim, despite the strain on lodge finances, in favour of the mother who lived in England. When the estate was finally settled some eleven years later the Lodge received $102.00. In 1929, July 21, Wainwright was ravaged by a serious fire which destroyed the town's business section. Many records were lost but, fortunately, the Historical Register, which had been faithfully kept was in the possession of a member of the Lodge. In 1916 the Grand Trunk Railway closed its offices in Wainwright and moved a large number of families to Edmonton resulting in serious problems for the Lodge.
East of the town of Lacombe the small community of Alix received a dispensation to erect a Lodge on April 16, 1909. The M.W. the Grand Master, J. J. Dunlop, constituted Ionic Lodge No. 45 on July 7, 1910. The institution ceremonies had been carried out on May 21, 1909. In the town of Tofield a little to the east of Edmonton and on the same railroad line as Wainwright, Palestine Lodge No. 46 was instituted on October 13, 1909 and constituted on August 19, 1910.
The scene now shifts from the area east of Edmonton down to the south west of Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek to the town of Cowley. They chose a very appropriate name for their Lodge to enshrine in history the variable winter weather caused by the famous chinooks. Chinook Lodge No. 47 was instituted on February 21, 1910 and constituted on June 30 of the same year. Following this Crossfield Lodge No. 48 was instituted on April 8, 1910 and its ceremonies of constitution came the next year on December 1, 1911. Carmangay, out on the prairies south of Calgary, decided that it was time when they were founding their Lodge, to honour one of the well known Masons of the world and the great Scottish Bard, Robert Burns. It was on April 26, 1910 that Robert Burns Lodge No. 49 was instituted and the constitution of the Lodge is dated October 9, 1911. Back up to the Camrose district and the town of Hardisty, the Brethren were impressed with the streaking of Halley's Comet across the skies in May of 1910. They decided to make this a part of Masonic History and their Lodge which was instituted on May 2, 1910 and constituted on November 17, 1911, was called Comet Lodge No. 50.
By this time the city of Edmonton was ready for another Lodge and on February 19, 1910 a number of Scottish Masons met in the Kilmuir Hotel on Kinistino (96 Street) Avenue to discuss the formation of a Scottish Masonic Lodge. Alberta was now engaged in the building of the new sandstone Legislative Building to house the fledgling Provincial Government. It required men who were skilled in the stone cutters art and, of course, attracted a number of Free and Accepted Masons. In addition to laying a firm foundation for a beautiful architectural structure at the same time they laid the solid foundation of what was to be one of Alberta's most progressive Masonic Lodges. After much discussion of a name the group decided to place the emphasis on the basic principles of Free Masonry and named the Lodge "Unity" which was later to be known as Unity Lodge No. 51. The presiding officer at the initial meeting was W. Bro. James McMillan of Cathcart Lodge, Cathcart, Scotland. It was at a meeting on March 2, 1910 that it was decided to request a dispensation with the support of Edmonton Lodge No. 7 who offered Unity the use of their Lodge and regalia free of charge until the Lodge was instituted, They decided to use the Canadian Rite. Annual dues were $3.00, the initiation fee $35.00.
Thus it came about that on May 3, 1910 Unity Lodge was instituted by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. T. MacDonald who placed W. Bro. David McIntosh in the chair of King Solomon. At the first regular meeting of this Lodge, while under dispensation, twenty petitions for initiation were read together with five for affiliation. The first Worshipful Master was an outstanding ritualist and insisted that his officers attain perfection in ritual approaching his. He is described as a "most kindly gentleman" but his enthusiasm for the work established in Unity Lodge No. 51 a tradition for excellence in the work that has continued to the present day. In the first eight months of its existence the Lodge received about sixty petitions for initiation although some had to be tabled because they did not meet the resident requirements.
The Masonic Lodge room in Edmonton was so active that at times two Lodges met on the same night. Unity Lodge No. 51 was constituted on September 5, 1911. From the outset Unity was conscious that Charity was the basis of all Masonic Work. On March 15, 1911 the Brethren decided to pay $11.40 for coal for the widow of a deceased brother and the members agreed to assist her in moving into more suitable quarters and to pay her rent for one month. Bro. Andrew Duncan offered his team of horses, free of charge, to move the furniture. Unity did run into some financial difficulties and had to negotiate, with the bank, an overdraft of $300.00. The Lodge grew, prospered and became strong.
In the same month that Unity Lodge No. 51 was instituted the small town of Langdon to the East of Calgary was granted a dispensation and was constituted in September, 1911. Langdon Lodge No. 52 had a brief and difficult history. It finally surrendered its Charter on June 9, 1920 and was the first Lodge to do this after the establishment of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. A neighbouring town a few miles to the east and north, Strathmore, had more success in its Masonic endeavour. It was instituted a little later than Langdon, on May 16, 1910 and constituted on September 4, 1911. Time had come now for another Lodge to be erected in Calgary. The name chosen was Mount Lebanon. After receiving its dispensation it was instituted on September 13, 1910 and constituted on October 25, 1911. Mount Lebanon Lodge No. 54 was followed by Bassano Lodge No. 55 in a town that is on the railroad some miles north of Medicine Hat. It was instituted on November 1, 1910 and constituted on August 2, 1911. Moving north again and east of Stettler the town of Castor next became active in Masonic work. Honouring another Canadian animal this Lodge was called Beaver. The institution was on November 29, 1910 and Beaver Lodge No. 56 was constituted almost a year later on November 24, 1911.
Between Medicine Hat and Lethbridge was the town of Grassy Lake. The Masonic Lodge in this town called Grassy Lake Lodge No. 57 was instituted on November 8, 1910 and constituted on October 12, 1911. Grassy Lake Lodge No. 57 experienced considerable difficulty in its early years and suffered a great shock when on October 2, 1910 the town was engulfed in a devastating fire. Other Lodges rallied to the support of Grassy Lake Lodge No. 57. Grand Lodge helped with the donation of a filing cabinet and Medicine Hat Lodge No. 2 donated an altar and the officers' collars. The Masons in Nemiskam had been struggling to form a Lodge but had failed in their attempts. In the hope of having a Lodge in their town they had begun assembling materials needed in the Lodge Room. Now that Grassy Lake was in sore straits they exercised the works of charity and gave to Grassy Lake Lodge No. 57 the materials that they had collected.
South of Lethbridge, in the town of Cardston, which was destined to become the hub of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, a few Masons gathered in late 1910 to discuss the probability of a Lodge in that town. Chief Mountain Lodge No. 58 was the first Lodge to be instituted by the Grand Lodge of Alberta in 1911 when the ceremony of institution was performed on January 6, 1911. Following the granting of a Charter at the Grand Lodge Communication that year Chief Mountain Lodge No. 58 was constituted on July 26, 1911.
Following immediately after the institution of Chief Mountain Lodge No. 58 came the institution of a Lodge in Calgary that was to exercise a great influence not only in that city but throughout the jurisdiction of Alberta. This was King George Lodge No. 59 named after the reigning Sovereign of the day. King George Lodge No. 59 was instituted on January 13, 1911 and constituted on October 25, 1911. Throughout the years it has met on the north side of the Bow River and has maintained the King George Masonic Temple.
Acme Lodge No. 60 instituted on March 2, 1911 and constituted on November 7, 1911 was the work of a few Masons living in the town and on farms in the rich farming area east of the Edmonton-Calgary railroad. This Lodge was never large but was representative of those who were a part of the early history of the town.
The scene now shifts back up to the north and east which had seen so much Masonic movement in the years immediately following the organization of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. As early as May 1909 the Masons of Provost had been working towards the day when they could form a Lodge. Not only did they lack in numbers but also in a suitable place to meet. Some of the early meetings were held in an unheated warehouse with the Masons seated on boxes and nail kegs. Persistence paid off and although the population of Provost was only 100 the dispensation was granted on March 1, 1911 and instituted on March 29 with W. Bro. John Wilson as the Worshipful Master. During the first year the Lodge initiated eight members, received two affiliations and rejected two candidates. The constitution meeting of Provost Lodge No. 61 was on January 24, 1912. In 1915 the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. S. Y. Taylor, visited Provost for the purpose of laying the cornerstone of the new school. Later when the old school was torn down the Lodge recovered the cornerstone and placed it in their Lodge Room. A record shows that one Installation meeting of this Lodge consisted mainly of a 500 card tournament that lasted well into the hours of the morning.
On April 26, 1911 the Lodge called Coal Lodge No. 62 in the small town of Bawlf was instituted and the constitution took place on November 27, 1912.
Empire Lodge No. 63 in Edmonton is the next Lodge on the list. It came into being because of a desire on the part of a number of Edmonton Brethren to recover an opportunity to get to know other members of their Lodge. The founders of Empire asserted that Lodges were getting too big and, consequently, impersonal. Emphasis was placed on "Refreshment and Harmony" and one of the first purchases was a piano. Empire Lodge actually had some difficulty in getting started. It was over a year after planning first started until Edmonton and Jasper Lodges sponsored the petition and Grand Lodge issued the dispensation. The institution ceremonies were performed on May 27, 1911. This ceremony was marked by a declaration that Empire Lodge would carefully select candidates who would be a credit to the Craft and it was not concerned about building up a large membership. R.W. Bro. R. W. Ibbotson, D.D.G.M., constituted Empire Lodge No. 63 on November 4, 1912 and W. Bro. E. H. Cope was the first Worshipful Master.
In common with the other Lodges meeting in Edmonton accommodation was a growing problem. The Lodge had difficulty in procuring nights for emergent meetings. It complained too, that the room was not properly heated, a problem that was shared by the other three Lodges that met there. Empire Lodge was honoured to have one of its early Worshipful Masters, W. Bro. John Martland, later elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. He presented to Empire Lodge a "Breeches Bible" which is a very valuable edition of the Bible. The name is derived from the fact that Genesis 3, verse 7, reads "breeches" instead of the usual translation "aprons". Hence the name of the Bible and also its value.
Bow Island Lodge No. 64 was instituted on July 11, 1911 and constituted on August 2, 1912 thus adding another Lodge along the Medicine Hat, Lethbridge route. Nearer to Lethbridge on its west side the town of Diamond City was prospering because of a booming coal mine there. Diamond City Lodge No. 65 was instituted on March 22, 1912 and constituted on September 27, 1912. Although Diamond City had a few faithful Masons its population was subject to the uncertain whims of the coal industry and did not grow to any great strength. When the mine closed down the Lodge found itself in deep trouble.
St. Andrew's Lodge No. 66 is located in Trochu, a town east of Didsbury. Trochu grew quickly as settlers moved in from all parts of the world to take up the many square miles of farm land that was available. In December 1911 a few Masons met to consider establishing a Lodge because it was difficult, with the methods of travel available in those early days, to get to Lodges already established. Fourteen Masons attended the first informal gathering. They first tackled the problem of finding a hall in which to meet, which they did at a cost of $25.00 per month and the charges of fitting the hall for Lodge use was to be charged against the rent. Acme Lodge No. 60 sponsored a petition signed by eleven Masons and in due course the Grand Master, on March 18, 1912, granted a dispensation to Hiram Lodge U.D. The ceremony of institution took place on April 18, 1912. It was now found that the name Hiram conflicted with King Hiram Lodge No. 21 already operating in Didsbury. It was decided to change the name to St. Andrew's Lodge No. 66 and it was duly constituted on November 11, 1912.
Lethbridge had now grown to a population of eleven thousand with two Lodges meeting in the southern part of the city. It now seemed essential to establish a Lodge in the northern part of Lethbridge to make Masonry more accessible to the Brethren living there. A meeting was called on March 1, 1912 to discuss the possibility and eleven Masons attended. The dispensation was granted on April 23, 1912 and Charity Lodge No. 67 started its history. The Grand Master and members of North Star Lodge No. 4 instituted the Lodge on May 17, 1912 and constituted by M.W. Bro. S. J. Blair, Grand Master, on June 20, 1913. The Lodge first met in Burgman's Hall in North Lethbridge but as transportation methods improved it moved in with the other Lethbridge Lodges. M.W. Bro. A. O. Aspeslet was initiated in Charity Lodge and later became Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
West of Edmonton and, again, in a prospering mining area, the town of Edson began to make movements towards the formation of a Lodge for the Masons of that district. The result was Edson Lodge No. 68 which was instituted on June 14, 1912 and constituted on July 3, 1913. The Lodge was well located and the Charter members worked to lay a firm foundation on which the Lodge has continued to build. Across the province and to the east of Edmonton the village of Viking was experiencing rapid growth. The Masons chose the name Connaught for their Lodge which was instituted on October 1, 1912 and constituted on June 28, 1913.
Back down the length of the Province to the town of Redcliff only a very few miles north of Medicine Hat where valuable deposits of clay for bricks and materials for glass had been discovered producing another thriving and optimistic town. In the Fall of 1912 the Masons of the town of Redcliff met in the C.P.R. station to consider forming a Lodge with nine Brethren present. A petition sponsored by Medicine Hat Lodge No. 2 was forwarded to the Grand Lodge and a dispensation issued. At the time there were over 100 tents scattered over the town occupied by carpenters, bricklayers, real estate and business men. Already water lines had been laid, the Redcliff Hotel had been built, a department store had opened, a flour mill was in operation and a Glass Factory was under construction. The Lodge was instituted on September 13, 1912 and suitably named both because of its location and because of Masonic tradition, Quarry Lodge No. 70. There were nine Charter members. Quarry Lodge first met in an old C.P.R. box car supported by a number of railroad ties. M.W. Bro. S. J. Blair, Grand Master, constituted the Lodge on April 13, 1913. During its first year membership increased to twenty-one. Early in its history the Lodge was asked by St. Ambrose Anglican Church to lay the cornerstone for its new building, an act which was duly carried out on July 30, 1914 by M.W. Bro. O. W. Kealy, P.G.M. The membership of the Lodge had increased to 33. Late in 1915 a fire broke out in Crowes Hall, where Quarry Lodge was now meeting. All records of the Lodge were destroyed. Some time later the Presbyterian Church requested that the Lodge lay a cornerstone for its church. The minister was the pioneer Rev. W. Shearer and the church was called Gordon Memorial Church. M.W. Bro. J. H. W. S. Kemmis, the Grand Master, conducted the ceremony on September 29, 1920.
Medicine Hat Lodge No. 2 held an Annual Ball to which it invited neighbouring Lodges. The Morning Times of January 29, 1914 reports as follows, "The Masonic Ball given last night in the Odd Fellows' Hall by the Masonic Order of the city, was classed by all as one of the best and most brilliant of its kind held in the city during the present season. About 125 couples were present and many beautiful gowns were noticeable among the ladies attending. The music was excellent and the floor in perfect condition to good dancing and the lovers of the terpsichorean art who enjoyed the hospitality of the Masons had a delightful evening's enjoyment." W. Bro. A. J. Nicholson and "lady" of Quarry Lodge received a printed invitation which is still preserved in a scrap book.
On December 12, 1912 Tawatinaw Lodge No. 71 was instituted and the constitution followed on July 1, 1913. This event is noteworthy for Tawatinaw Lodge is in the town of Athabasca which is over two hundred miles north of the city of Edmonton. East of Edmonton the town of Coronation was the first locality to have a dispensation granted in the year 1913. January 19, 1913 was the date for Coronation Lodge No. 72 to be instituted. The constitution followed on July 29, 1913. The town and the Lodge derives its name from the excitement of the coronation of His Majesty, King George V. Following closely was the town of Brooks in the southern part of the province. The institution of Brooks Lodge No. 73 preceded that of Coronation for it was held on January 2, 1913 with the constitution being held on June 24, 1913. South of Brooks and to the west the town of Vulcan now came into the picture. Vulcan was a prospering town, another of many, located in a district that was attracting settlers from many parts of the world. The prospects of the wide open prairies with great stretches of land yet to be broken together with an ever increasing demand for grain made an attractive prospect. It was natural, again, that the many that moved into the rich district wanted to build more than prairie farms, they wished to create a community in which they would have pride and joy. Among the builders of community living inevitably came those that had other visions of building. These builders were the Masons who believed in firm and sound foundations. It was thus that as early as 1912 a few Masons identified themselves to each other and knew that from their meetings would come a Masonic Lodge that would make its mark on the growing settlement. Thus Vulcan Lodge No. 74 came into being with an institution on January 10, 1913 and a constitution on June 17, of the same year. Vulcan Lodge No. 74 produced many community leaders and a number of Brethren known widely in the Masonic life of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. Outstanding was the long time secretary of the School District, the prime mover in the establishment of the County System in Alberta and the enduring secretary of the Vulcan Lodge, who became one of Alberta's best loved Grand Masters in the person of M.W. Bro. Delbert D. McQueen. The Lodge early decided that social intercourse was the basis of any progressive Masonic Lodge and decreed that a social evening would be held once a month. Its Wild Game Dinner became known widely and each year attracted a large number of visitors. Not for one minute should it be assumed that the Brethren devoted themselves entirely to social affairs. It practised the Ancient York Rite and its work is known even now for its impressiveness and perfection.
The final constitution of a Lodge in the year 1913 occurred on June 27, when Harmony Lodge No. 75 was erected in the small town of Sedgewick some miles east of Camrose. This Lodge had been instituted on January 20 of that year.
A glance at the map will show that the Grand Lodge of Alberta now had seventy-five Lodges under its jurisdiction. Thirty-nine of these were practising the Ancient York Rite and thirty-six of them the Canadian Rite. The concentration of the tremendous growth since the creation of the Province of Alberta was east of the Calgary-Edmonton-Fort Macleod railroad line indicative of the rapidly expanding agricultural industry. Edson to the west of Edmonton and Athabasca to the north were prophetic of things that were yet to come. The amazing feature of the development is that the various Grand Masters and D.D.G.M.s, despite the inconveniences of travel, were able to supervise the organization of Lodges and to participate in numerous ceremonies such as the laying of cornerstones. Later years were to reveal that to allow the growth of the number of Lodges was not especially wise but who, at that time, could envisage the improvement of transportation facilities making it possible for Masons to travel longer distances to get to Lodge meetings? Another outstanding feature of these years were the number of lodges of Instruction that were held and the amazing attendance of Brethren eager to learn more of the accepted Lodge procedures.
During the first few years the Grand Lodge of Alberta met in Communication usually around the end of May. Fort Macleod, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Calgary and Banff were the chosen places for meeting. At the Fourth Annual Communication the Jurisprudence Committee decreed that the Grand Lodge did not have the power to confer the title of Past Master, as an honour, on any brother. The Board of General Purposes was concerned that visitors to Lodges were not being examined correctly and issued a circular in this regard. The Fifth Annual Communication asked the Grand Master to appoint a committee to revise the boundaries of districts. It also revised the Constitution regarding the Board of General Purposes. The Board was to elect members to all committees from the membership of the Board and the Committees were to report to the Board which would report to the Annual Communication. At the Sixth Annual Communication the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. J. Dunlop, issued a timely warning, "Brethren, be not deceived by figures; the strength of our fraternity is not in numbers but in the upright, moral character and integrity of its members."
The Sixth Annual Communication referred the report of the Committee on the Funeral Service to a special committee to be appointed by the Grand Master with power to act. Nine Masonic Districts were created and Lodges, to the dismay of some, were assigned to new districts.
The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Thomas McNabb, who presided over the Seventh Annual Communication took a number of Lodges to task for making what he called many decisions that were "entirely uncalled for; were the Lodge officers and members to post themselves on Grand Lodge Constitution." District No. 3 was divided into two districts now making a total of ten. For the first time the Jurisprudence Committee was composed of seven members, all of them Past Grand Masters. The Committee on Foreign Correspondence gave its first annual review and it was very extensive being some one hundred and fourteen pages in length.
In 1913 the Eighth Annual Communication, after a lengthy and heated discussion, raised the salary of the Grand Secretary to $2,000.00 per year. A notice of motion was presented which would provide for the meeting of the Board of General Purposes, at the call of the Grand Master, between the communications of the Grand Lodge.
In December of the year 1927, Ionic Lodge No. 45 was prepared for the Installation Ceremonies of its Worshipful Master. Before the Lodge could get underway the Worshipful Master elect was taken seriously ill and it was essential that he be taken to hospital in Camrose. Arrangements were made to hold the C.N.R. train at Mirror. The Brethren equipped with shovels decided to open the snow drifted road between Alix and Mirror in order to get the Worshipful Master elect to the train. It was a long and difficult trek through the snow and when the cavalcade arrived at Mirror the train had left. There was a Brother in Mirror who was the Section Foreman of the C.N.R. He located a locomotive and a caboose which was driven to Camrose with the patient aboard. The Worshipful Master elect received the emergency treatment that was necessary. Installation Ceremonies finally took place in February, 1928 and the now fully recovered Worshipful Master was duly installed.
THE FIRST WORLD WAR YEARS
In an unknown town of Serajivo, on June 28, 1914, the Archduke of Austria, Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated by a rifle shot that historians later wrote was "heard around the world". It brought to a crisis the disturbed state of the small Balkan countries in Central Europe caused by threats of Russian and German aggression. The assassination upset plans of Great Britain to observe a hundred years of peace and resulted in Britain issuing an ultimatum to Germany to cease threats of invasion. The ultimatum was unanswered and war was declared by Britain on Germany on August 14, 1914. British Colonies, including Canada, were immediately involved in what was to become a world wide war. This reign of terror, called a "War to end Wars" and a "War to save Democracy" saw hundreds of thousands of Canadians rally to the defence of the Motherland. Western Canada sent thousands of her young men into the trenches of France and Alberta was involved. The newly developed farm lands were practically stripped of men of war age. Numbered with the men that went overseas were a large number of Masons and prospective candidates for initiation into the Order. The influence on the growth of Freemasonry was inevitable. Of course agriculture was a basic industry for the support of the war effort and the Masons who remained at home struggled to keep Lodges alive and to provide comforts for their members who were serving King and Country.
Before the war broke out there continued to be the business of instituting and constituting Lodges. The town of Bashaw, south of Camrose, saw Fidelity Lodge instituted on March 4, 1913, constituted on July 18, 1914. In Strathcona a lodge that would practice the Ancient York Rite, Strathcona Lodge No. 77 was instituted on April 14, 1913 and constituted on September 14, 1914. It was to be a companion Lodge to Acacia which was working under the Canadian Rite. Many miles to the east of Calgary almost coincident with the organizing of that town on August 7, 1912 and interwoven with the history of it, Masons met in the Merchant's Bank on October 10, 1912 to discuss the formation of Hanna Lodge No. 78. The D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. Mitchell instituted the Lodge on May 8, 1913 with W. Bro. J. A. McClure as the first Worshipful Master. Five candidates were initiated in February 1914 followed by the first constitution after the outbreak of hostilities on October 26, 1914. After meeting in various halls in the town the Lodge in 1955, mainly by volunteer work, erected its own Masonic Hall. This Lodge later was to be honoured by the elevation of M.W. Bro. A. G. Bond to the position of Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. Another well known Mason, Bro. O. C. Smith, the first Senior Warden and a Charter member, was present at the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration. The community of Lougheed on the railroad line to the east of Camrose saw Morning Star Lodge No. 79 instituted on July 31, 1913 and constituted on July 7, 1914. The neighbouring town of Daysland a few miles west followed with Excelsior Lodge No. 80 whose institution was on November 14, 1913 followed by the constitution on July 9, 1914.
In Edmonton it was discovered that there were many Masons who were commercial travellers. They travelled all week representing their companies in the small towns and were in Edmonton only on the weekend. They agreed that they wanted a Masonic Lodge that met on Saturday evenings. Since the Edmonton Journal of November 13, 1913 stated that "Edmonton is admitted the commercial metropolis of the West" it was only proper that these commercial salesmen should name their lodge "Commercial" Lodge No. 81. With 25 Charter Members the ceremony of institution with the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. A. Jackson officiating, was held on November 22, 1913 followed by the constitution on July 11, 1914. The Lodge was in a good position financially with some fifteen Charter members. Following the outbreak of war Commercial Lodge raised $325.00 to buy a machine gun for the 49 Battalion D Company. Its Director of Ceremonies, Bro. Wm. B. King, was killed in action and the Lodge held a suitable Memorial Service for him. Although the Lodge showed strength from the start it was a matter of concern that so many of its members, because of their occupation, were frequently transferred. The social aspect of Commercial Lodge was always strong because the travelling Brethren appreciated deeply the opportunities for fellowship after coming home from a gruelling week of work.
On the railroad line east of Hanna the village of Youngstown was the scene of a gathering of Masons from a variety of Lodges who thought that the time had come to talk about a Lodge in their small community. There were enough Masons to present a petition to form Acadia Lodge No. 82 which was instituted on January 14, 1914 and constituted on October 30, 1914.
In 1913 a number of young Masons, recognizing that there were a large number of Masons in Calgary not affiliated with the six Lodges working in the city, decided that there was room for another Lodge. On October 13, 1913, in the Board Room of the Trusts and Guarantee Company, thirty Masons attended a meeting to discuss the prospects. They decided to proceed with a Lodge which would be called Zetland after the excellent Zetland Lodge No. 326, G.R.C. in Toronto. They determined to emulate the record of that Lodge.
Zetland Lodge No. 83 was instituted in the King George Masonic Hall on December 18, 1913 by R.W. Bro. J. M. Empey, D.D.G.M. and installed R.W. Bro. A. W. R. Markley as the first Worshipful Master. On July 4, 1914 Zetland Lodge No. 83 was consecrated with M.W. Bro. Judge J. A. Jackson, Grand Master officiating. One hundred and two Charter Members came from sixteen Grand Lodges, their average age was thirty-six years. Permission had been granted by the Second Marquis of Zetland for that family's Coat of Arms to be used as the seal of the Lodge. He was elected an honourary member of the Lodge.
Over the years of its distinguished history Zetland Lodge No. 83 has had five Grand Masters elected from its membership, M.W. Bro. G. W. Kerby, M.W. Bro. V. A. Bowes, M.W. Bro. H. B. MacDonald, M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett and M.W. Bro. James S. Woods. The list of members that held offices in Grand Lodge is long.
On February 18, 1918 Benjamin A. Creak was initiated into Zetland Lodge No. 83 and at the installation of officers in that year he was elected Tyler, an office which he held for forty-three years. At the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in 1955, the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. David Little, presented Bro. Creak with an Honourary Life Membership in Zetland Lodge. He was known for his cheerful, kindly and sincere reception of initiates and his faithfulness in performing the duties of a Tyler. Bro. Creak held the office of Tyler until 1961 when failing health forced him to retire. He passed to his reward on August 27, 1961.
The Champion district south of Calgary saw the first assembly of Freemasons in June 1911. There were obstacles to overcome before a Lodge could be formed, the first was to locate a meeting place and the second to find a capable Worshipful Master. The first village was called Cleaverville but when the C.P.R. established the village of Champion on the railroad Cleaverville was forced to move a few miles to the west and the process of moving took some time, hence the lack of a hall. By 1912, John A. Miller, who was to be the first Senior Warden, had built a two storey general store and offered the second storey to the Masons. W. B. Blackly moved into the new village and proved to be the Mason who would guide Masonic destinies for a while and became the competent first Worshipful Master. After several attempts Grand Lodge accepted a petition from Robert Burns Lodge No. 49 in August 1912 and Champion Lodge No. 84 was instituted by R.W. Bro. Hudson, P.D.D.G.M. on April 8, 1913. There were eight early members - 2 farmers, 3 merchants, a banker, a grain buyer and a hotel porter but when the Charter was granted the number had risen to ten. The Charter was granted in May 1915 following the commencement of the war and the constitution was on June 24, 1915 with the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. S. Y. Taylor officiating. The membership grew the following year from the original ten to twenty-five. Champion had a shifting population as did many of the early settlements and it found difficulty in having stability in its Worshipful Masters and, at times, the Lodge work had to be carried on by the junior officers. Despite this the Lodge maintained a high standard for membership and in the year 1918 it rejected three applications for initiation.
The Crows Nest Pass, still in the forefront as a coal mining area, had the town of Blairmore growing rapidly. The first meeting of Masons in that town was on January 14, 1914 which resulted in the institution of Rocky Mountain Lodge No. 86 on April 2, 1914 and the constitution of it on June 14, 1915. It had its difficulties in maintaining officers and members and on January 10, 1916 it had to request a dispensation from Grand Lodge to elect and install officers out of time. The weather in the pass was so severe in the winter of 1949–50 that a member who died on December 26, 1949 could not be buried with Masonic Honours until February 19, 1950.
In Calgary the North Hill was showing development and Masons wanted a Lodge in their district because of the number of unaffiliated Masons that were living there. Late in October in the year 1914 a few prospective Members gathered and this was followed by a meeting in the Presbyterian Church located on 4th Street N.W. on November 14, 1914. After locating a meeting place on the corner of Centre Street and 16th Avenue N.W., near to the place where the Crescent Lodge Hall now stands, a petition for the formation of a Lodge was formulated. The original name proposed was Regal but the title Crescent was chosen. The first Worshipful Master was a man well known in the history of Alberta, Bro. the Rev. Robert Pearson. The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Judge J. A. Jackson, instituted Crescent Lodge No. 87 on December 8, 1914 and constituted by the next Grand Master, M.W. Bro. S. Y. Taylor on June 8, 1915. Crescent Lodge No. 87 throughout its history, has maintained a tradition of being a family Lodge. Twenty-three sons of members have been initiated, three of these have become Worshipful Masters, two of whom were installed by their fathers.
The war years caused a rapid expansion of settlers into the part of the province lying to the north of Edmonton. The towns of High Prairie and Peace River were established and the population grew. The result was the establishment of Wahpun Lodge No. 88 in High Prairie which was constituted on July 21, 1916 and of Peace River Lodge No. 89 which was constituted a few days later on July 26, 1916. The creation of both these Lodges was a tribute to the determination of the early settlers not only to open up land that had hitherto been regarded as not fit for agriculture but also to carry into the new settlements the traditions and principles that mark the work of a Masonic Lodge in any community.
The city of Edmonton was expanding towards the east and, as was the case with Crescent Lodge, the new subdivisions contained a number of unaffiliated Masons. Again these Brethren were determined to have a Lodge accessible to their own homes. The result was that Norwood Lodge No. 90 was instituted on August 20, 1915 and constituted on June 26, 1916. This was followed almost immediately by Patricia Lodge No. 91 whose preliminary meetings were held near the site of the King Edward Hotel on 101 Street with ten members present. That Lodge, however, actually located itself further to the west and met in Robertson Presbyterian Church on 116th Street in order to attract the unaffiliated Masons living there. The Brethren wished to call their Lodge "Crescent" but this name had already been claimed by Calgary and they later chose "Patricia" the name of a famous regiment in the war. It was on October 30, 1915 that Patricia Lodge was instituted by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. S. Y. Taylor with W. Bro. J. L. Tipp being installed as Worshipful Master. At the regular meeting following the institution thirty-seven petitions for Initiation were received.
One of the petitioners on that night was a young carpenter by the name of D. D. Penman who was later to become known affectionately as the "Grand Gavel Maker" in the jurisdiction of Alberta. Bro. Penman, who later became a D.D.G.M. made a hobby of collecting historic woods and making them into gavels which he presented to many Lodges and to Grand Lodge. In all he presented about two hundred sets of gavels before his death on July 14, 1971.
R.W. Bro. Penman will be remembered especially for his remarkable contribution to the Honour Roll of Patricia Lodge No. 91. Cambrai is an ancient city located in Northern France on the banks of the Scheldt River. From it came some fine linens known as Cambric. The city actually was in the continual throes of war dating as far back as the time when Caesar invaded Gaul and lists as its conquerors names such as Charlemagne, Wellington, Napoleon and others. In modern times it features in the First World War. At that point Cambrai was the proud possessor of very ancient and valuable wood work and carvings together with an outstanding museum. Its population was approximately 26,000. Almost immediately at the outbreak of the war German artillery bombarded the town and it fell into the hands of the Germans and became the base of the famous Siegfried Line. Towards the close of the war in November 1917 Sir Douglas Haig led a Canadian Army using tanks to attack Cambrai and pierce the Siegfried Line. In the ensuing battle many Canadians were killed. The Canadians under General D. C. Draper entered Cambrai on October 9, 1918 to find a fiery ruin. Bro. Lionel C. Gibbs preserved a parchment recording the members of Jasper Lodge No. 14 who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. In 1923 it was decided that the names be inscribed on a bronze tablet. The frame was to be some wood of historic interest. R.W. Bro. Col. J. Obed Smith wrote on July 11, 1923, "I am hoping to be able to send you, in the course of the next week, some pieces of oak taken from the museum in Cambrai, France. The marks on the wood are the results of bombardment in the late war. The wood is, therefore, historically authentic and accompanying the wood, or in a subsequent letter, will be the signature of the Mayor of the town of Cambrai, certifying to this effect. The town has much pleasure in making this gift. To secure anything of this nature has called forth supreme effort on the part of friends as well as myself." Immediately on receipt of the wood the services of R.W. Bro. D. D. Penman of Patricia Lodge No. 91 was obtained and in cooperation with R.W. Bro. Sandilands, a skilled metal worker, the tablet was made and framed. The remarkable tablet was unveiled at the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of Jasper Lodge No. 14 by M.W. Bro. Col. W. J. Botterill assisted by Bro. General W. A. Griesbach, a Senator, both of whom had served with distinction in the war. The shrapnel holes and scars are still visible in the Honour Roll that first hung in the Old Edmonton Masonic Temple south of Jasper Avenue on 101st Street. From the remaining wood R.W. Bro. Penman made Warden's columns for Jasper Lodge and panels for the chairs in Edmonton's Masonic Temple which bear the scars from shrapnel. He also made a set of gavels for the Grand Lodge of Alberta enclosed in a beautiful inlaid case. These were used for the first time by M.W. Bro. G. E. Cruickshank when he laid the cornerstone of the Calgary Masonic Temple in June 1927. Enclosed in the case with the gavels were the letters from R.W. Bro. J. O. Smith and from the Mayor of Cambrai.
Another Edmonton Lodge, Saskatchewan No. 92 quickly followed Patricia Lodge. It was instituted on December 9, 1915 and constituted on June 26, 1916.
The town of Drumheller now enters Alberta and Masonic History. It was the town situated in the badlands of Alberta where the ancient dinosaurs once roamed. The interest in the town at this time was not its geological importance but was the fact that valued coal was readily available. The miners who came to the town had among them a number of Masons who wanted to establish a Lodge. Symbol Lodge No. 93 came into existence with an institution on July 31, 1916 and a constitution on July 11, 1917.
Next came Lamont Lodge No. 94 located in the town of Lamont to the north and east of Edmonton on the Vermilion and Vegreville line. It was instituted on December 22, 1916 and constituted on June 4, 1917.
In 1916 Lord Kitchener the hero of Kartum in the Boer War at the beginning of the century lost his life when the British Cruiser he was on struck a mine and sank. It was fitting that the town of Rimbey should enshrine his name when it decided to establish Kitchener Lodge No. 95. The dispensation was granted on December 19, ]916 soon after Lord Kitchener's death. The institution followed on January 19, 1917 and the constitution on July 1, 1918. At the original meeting eight members were present. The Lodge ran into difficulties, as did the majority of Lodges in Alberta, when the influenza epidemic caused the authorities to ban all public meetings from November 2, 1918 to January 3, 1919. When the ban was lifted six Brethren travelled across country to Ponoka where on January 10, 1919, Britannia Lodge No. 18 held installation ceremonies. After the meeting they left Ponoka about midnight and arrived back in Rimbey at 9:30 a.m. The Lodge room was destroyed by fire on December 8, 1922. It was replaced by a cottage donated by a member that had to be hauled into Rimbey by a team of horses and set on a six foot wooden foundation. The Historical Register of Kitchener Lodge No. 95 says that the only notable thing that happened in 1924 was that on December 15th the temperature fell to a record of 64 degrees below zero F.
Dynamic Lodge No. 96 in the village of Holden, south east of Edmonton on the railroad line to Wainwright organized Dynamic Lodge No. 96 and was instituted on July 2, 1917 with the constitution on June 26, 1918. This was followed by Masonic activity in the small town of Chauvin east of Wainwright and near the Saskatchewan border which had Albion Lodge No. 97 instituted on June 30, 1917 with the constitution over a year later on August 5, 1918. Another town Delia almost directly east of Olds named its Lodge, Hand Hill Lodge No. 98, and had its institution on August 22, 1917 and its constitution on July 25, 1918. Mount Moriah Lodge No. 99 at Sibbald struggled to get a start and actually was instituted and constituted but never was able to assemble enough members to make a Lodge viable. After the institution of Oyen Lodge No. 104 on June 12, 1929 Mount Moriah decided to amalgamate with that Lodge in order to have a stronger Masonic representation in that area.
South of Lethbridge and almost to the border of the United States the town of Warner saw Masonic beginnings with a Lodge that was first named Warner Lodge No. 100 instituted on September 27, 1917 and constituted on June 27, 1918. It had difficulty deciding on a name and changed it to Verdigris. Later it decided to recognize that it was a landmark in Masonic history, being the one hundredth lodge constituted in Alberta since the beginning of Masonry in the district of Alberta, now a Province. The name was finally changed to Century Lodge No. 100 and has continued under that title. Even though it never had a large membership it did contribute to the work of Masonry at large. One of its early and most faithful members is the well known P.D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. Walter R. Ford.
The subdivisions of Calder and Elm Park in Edmonton were growing mainly because the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was operating lines out of Edmonton, to the East and had established shops in their subdivisions. There were a number of Masons connected with the Grand Trunk Railway who were living near to their place of employment. The Master Masons amongst these residents met several times in 1917 to discuss the viability of a Lodge near to the place where they lived. West Edmonton Lodge No. 101 held its institution meeting in the I.O.O.F. Hall called Advance Hall located on 122nd Street north of 129th Avenue, three miles from the centre of the city, on October 3, 1917. The D.D.G.M. R.W. Bro. D. McIntosh presided, assisted by the Grand Senior Warden, R.W. Bro. D. Darling. W. Bro. C. E. Long was installed as the first Worshipful Master with twenty-three Charter members. The annual dues were $6.00 and the initiation fee $40.00. M.W. Bro. D. Darling, now Grand Master, returned on June 10, 1918 to constitute West Edmonton Lodge No. 101. The Lodge experienced financial difficulties almost immediately and borrowed $300.00 from a nearby branch of the Merchant's Bank of Canada. Even before the Constitution of the Lodge, the Brethren elected R.W. Bro. D. McIntosh as an Honourary Member for outstanding service rendered to the Lodge, the constitutionality of which might be questioned. Although West Edmonton Lodge chose to work in the Canadian Rite there were a number of members who had been raised in the Ancient York Rite and some confusion of ritual existed for several years.
On the railroad line to Wainwright and east almost to the Saskatchewan border was the hamlet of Edgerton which was the focal point of a prairie farming district. As with many other localities in the eastern part of Alberta Masons mingled with the new settlers and soon began to think in terms of a Lodge. The population to draw from was limited and the Lodge would never grow to a large membership. Dedication to Masonry was the stimulus that brought into being Edgerton Lodge No. 102, instituted on October 27, 1917 and constituted on August 5, 1918. Next, moving in line almost directly south with only prairie between it and the border of the United States reached only by long railroad journeys or by horse was the struggling village of Foremost. By the mysterious ties that draw the Masons together it was discovered that in the immediate area were thirteen Master Masons in good standing. Isolation and long distances did not deter these Brethren from aspiring to create a Lodge. On November 6, 1917, the D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. Hatcher convened the institution meeting of what was to be Foremost Lodge No. 103 and installed W. Bro. J. G. Robertson as the first Worshipful Master. During the first year three new Masons were initiated. The town doctor, Bro. Astrof, was raised to the third degree in the Canadian Rite although Foremost Lodge worked in the Ancient York Rite. To perform this ceremony the Brethren of Warner Lodge travelled many miles across the country. The constitution of Foremost Lodge No. 103 occurred on June 28, 1918. It had difficult times financially but the unflagging determination won out. The historical register records, "Fortunately we had the money and some assistance from other Lodges to meet these calls upon our funds."
North again and near the Saskatchewan Border on a line east from Didsbury the town of Oyen gathered Masons together in the Oyen Opera House on February 5, 1918 to institute Oyen Lodge No. 104 with the D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. J. G. Odell of Hanna in charge. He installed W. Bro. O. F. Kirkpatrick as the Worshipful Master. The Brethren immediately decided that the Opera House was no place to hold a Lodge meeting and with supreme optimism borrowed $6,000.00 from the bank, security was individual notes signed by the members. The Lodge was constituted by M.W. Bro. H. Darling on July 24, 1918. The Charter members numbered twenty and during the first few years of its history grew and prospered. The initiation fee was $75.00 and annual dues were $10.00. To get to a District Meeting was always a problem. When one was scheduled for Hanna on October 10, 1924 a special coach was attached to a freight train to transport lodge members from Sibbald, Oyen, Cereal, Chinook and Youngstown. Mount Moriah Lodge No. 99 amalgamated with Oyen Lodge No. 104 in 1929. The Brethren of Oyen Lodge were not disposed to give up ancient traditions easily. When electricity came to the town a long debate took place about the replacing of the tapers of the three lesser lights with electric lights. This was deemed to be highly improper and the tapers continued in use for many years.
On April 14, 1913 Bro. D. W. Pratt, living in Grande Prairie far to the north and West of Edmonton wrote a letter to Bro. Kenny of Buffalo Park Lodge in Wainwright with the request for information about the formation of a Lodge in that almost unheard of hinterland of the province. Attempts were made to get Masons together but the country was so new and the travel so rugged that these efforts amounted to little. The Masonic spirit did not know the word impossible and after four years of effort, on February 17, 1917 about fourteen Masons were assembled and the organization started. Alpheus Patterson and Son who owned the Post Office Building, offered the second storey as a meeting place free of charge for one year. The Lodge, Grande Prairie No. 105 was instituted on January 30, 1918 and constituted on June 15, 1918. The D.D.G.M. was the outstanding Mason for many years in the north country, later a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta and long time editor of the Grand Lodge Bulletin, known then as R.W. Bro. Samuel J. Harris. Incidentally the railroad did not reach Grande Prairie until about seven years later.
In ancient times the Romans built a wall on the border of England and Scotland to hold back invasions from the Scots. It crosses the two English counties of Northumberland and Cumberland and remains to this day a tourist attraction. The wall was 73.5 miles in length, 16 to 18 feet high and of a thickness varying from 6 to 9.5 feet. There is a town on the east of this wall called Wallsend-on-Tyne, the home of Wallsend Lodge No. 2703. The Grande Prairie Lodge decided that it would like a stone from that wall for its Lodge room and wrote this request to Wallsend Lodge. It so happened that on September 24, 1924 on the land of Alderman J. F. Wiedman a new excavation was being made and the remains of a rebuilt portion of the wall dating about 200 A.D. were discovered. The Brethren of Wallsend Lodge were able to secure one of the valued stones and after having it suitably inscribed, forwarded it without charge to Grande Prairie Lodge in far off Western Canada. The Brethren of Grande Prairie Lodge wrote a grateful letter to Wallsend Lodge and treasure this remarkable relic from antiquity.
Grande Prairie had a neighbour some twenty miles to the west, the town of Wembley. The Masons there, too, desired to have a Lodge which after much determined effort they succeeded in instituting on February 1, 1918 with the constitution on the same day as the Grande Prairie Lodge, June 15, 1918. This was to be called Lake Saskatoon Lodge No. 106.
Carbon Lodge No. 107 near the town of Drumheller was instituted on October 11, 1918 and constituted on July 8, 1919. This was followed by Pyramid Lodge No. 108 located in the town of Lomond a small town to the east of Vulcan which on November 2, 1953 found that it must surrender its Charter. The town of Mirror followed with Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 109. Mirror is a small town east of Lacombe that did not develop according to the optimistic hopes of the early Masons. Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 109 surrendered its Charter on May 16, 1940 but revived again and was reinstituted under the same name Ancient Landmark in 1953 but this time received the number of 163. Taking the ancient name from Scotland, Kilwinning Lodge No. 110 was the final Lodge to receive a Charter in 1918 but it had difficulties in maintaining a membership. Kilwinning Lodge No. 110 amalgamated with Hope Lodge No. 38 at Mannville on March 12, 1951.
When the Great War of 1914–1918 concluded the Grand Lodge of Alberta had 110 Lodges under its jurisdiction. A similar trend seen in the early years had continued and the eastern territory from the American border, through Fort Macleod and north to Calgary and Edmonton had witnessed a multiplication of Lodges. Some of them were to be strong and a number waged a fight for existence. During the war years a remarkable number of thirty-five Lodges had received charters.
The Grand Lodge during this time had been active not only in granting Charters and supervising Lodges but in many other ways. Very familiar was the concern that District Deputy Grand Masters were being selected, not for their ability, but because of seniority. Districts were under constant revision as the number of Lodges grew. Then came the start of fraternal visits to other Grand Lodge Communications and in 1914 representatives were sent to Saskatchewan and British Columbia. As the work of Grand Lodge increased it was impossible for all members of Committees to be appointed from the Board of General Purposes and other members of Grand Lodge were included. In 1914, too, came the first suggestion that a Conference of the Grand Masters of the Four Western Provinces might be favourably considered. The ceremonials of Grand Lodge were due for revision and a suggestion made that travelling expenses of one delegate from each Lodge to the Grand Lodge Communication be considered. The eleventh meeting of the Grand Lodge of Alberta held in Banff heard an address by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. S. Y. Taylor who ruled that a Lodge does not have the power to withhold a Master Mason's certificate from a newly raised brother until he has proved proficiency in the third degree. Another ruling said that the title of Honourary Past Master cannot be conferred by any Lodge, nor does the Grand Master have that power. The twelfth Annual Communication on May 30, 1917 set up a committee to revise the Constitution and also agreed that the date of the Annual Communication be changed to the second Wednesday in the month of June. The problem of dual membership had arisen several times but Grand Lodge refused to allow a brother to belong to two Lodges in the Jurisdiction. The Grand Lodge also agreed to send a telegram to the Prime Minister stating that it supported the proposal of compulsory service in the Armed Forces.
The thirteenth Annual Communication on May 29, 1918 resolved to establish a fund to help the distress caused by an explosion in Halifax. It sent to the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia $1,000.00 to be administered by that Grand Lodge for general relief. It amended the Constitution to provide for the Annual Communication to be held on the second Wednesday in June. The Grand Master reported that he had suspended the Charter of Saskatchewan Lodge No. 92 because of a lack of harmony amongst the members. The Grand Secretary, with the assistance of three Calgary members, were instructed to draft the revised Constitution and ceremonials. The draft was to be submitted to the constituent Lodges for study. It was in this year that W. Bro. Wm. Ireland was appointed as Auditor, a position he held for many years.
On February 24, 1919 a Special Communication of Grand Lodge was held to consider the new Constitution. It was agreed that the Ancient Charges of a Freemason be included in the Constitution. The regulations regarding Trials for Masonic Offenses were ordered to be printed in a separate pamphlet and supplied to Lodges on request. It took two days to consider the new Constitution. Largely it was a rewording of the one adopted in 1907 with improvements in wording and shortening certain sections. No great changes were made. It was at this meeting that the Grand Master appointed a committee to draft regulations relating to the Benevolent Fund.
The war had concluded with the shouts and songs of victory. The Masonic Lodges throughout the jurisdiction had been constantly concerned about their Brethren who were offering their lives and attempted to keep in communication with them. The Lodges mourned when a brother was killed in action. Despite the depletion in the membership of Lodges due to service overseas those that remained home carried on. When the Brethren returned they were welcomed in a number of ways and optimism abounded for the years of rebuilding that were ahead. At the end of 1918 there were 51 Lodges practising the Ancient York Rite and 59 lodges using the Canadian Rite.
THE YEARS OF REBUILDING
During the next five years 1920–1925 twenty-six new Lodges were formed and one, Langdon Lodge No. 52, surrendered its Charter on June 9, 1920. The period was a very difficult one because not only had the country to absorb those who were discharged from the army but also the dry cycle of 1920–21 was a severe strain on the farmers of Southern Alberta. Many crops were ruined because of a lack of moisture with the resultant economic stress. In addition the Soldiers Settlement Board sought to locate many returning servicemen on farms which they were not properly trained to operate. The tragedies that took place in the lives of men and women could not be unnoticed by the Masonic Lodges' pledge to charity and benevolence. The work of expansion continued despite the obstacles that history placed in its way. As in the earlier years the main growth came in the eastern section of the Province in the ever growing, but sometimes desperate, agricultural areas.
Nobleford, the town that is surrounded by a huge wheat growing area north of Lethbridge, was the first locality to have a Lodge instituted in the year 1919. The ceremony took place on August 6, and the constitution on July 6, 1920.
The Lodge in Jarrow, a small town west of Wainwright received its dispensation on November 29, 1919 just following the signing of the Armistice. It was predictable that its Lodge would be called Victory Lodge No. 112. The Lodge was instituted on January 28, 1920 and consecrated by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. H. W. S. Kemmis on July 1, 1920 with W. Bro. N. B. Lindholm as the first Worshipful Master. After twenty-one years of existence the Lodge surrendered its Charter on February 13, 1941.
Next came a Lodge in the town of Three Hills which lies in the centre of a prime agricultural area west of Olds. Here Cyprus Lodge No. 113 had its institution ceremonies on December 17, 1919 followed by the constitution on August 4, 1921. North of Edmonton the town of Westlock saw gatherings of Masons, who were starting to open up the north country, planning to keep the Masonic Order in the forefront of the town's growth. It was on April 2, 1920 that the institution of Westlock Lodge No. 114 took place and the constitution on June 27, 1921. Returning again to the active area east of the town of Hanna and less than a hundred miles from the Saskatchewan border the Masons in the community of Chinook decided that their Lodge should be named after the beautiful spring flower that carpets the Prairies. It was Crocus No. 115 that was instituted on May 12, 1920 and constituted on June 30, 1921.
Masonry had not heard the final word from the new pioneers in the far north. Spirit River is seventy miles directly north of Grande Prairie and in April 1917 the hardy Masons met regularly to talk about the future of the Craft in that locality. By April 1919 they had actually purchased a lot for $125.00 and sold it again a year later for $200.00. Arrangements were then made with the local dramatic club for a Lodge room and a five year lease. They were now ready to ask for a dispensation which was granted and Spirit River Lodge No. 116 was instituted on August 5, 1920 with W. Bro. R. R. MacLeod being installed as the first Worshipful Master. On August 1, 1921 the Masons of Spirit River received with pride their Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. W. Young, the Grand Secretary, M.W. Bro. S. Y. Taylor P.G.M. and the D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. M. E. Grimshaw who had come to constitute Spirit River Lodge No. 116. The financial sharpness of this Lodge, evident from the beginning, appeared once more when it took over the mortgage of the Dramatic Club Hall in 1925 with a payment of $325.00 and established for themselves a home. Membership had grown to 48 in 1926 with three applications pending. In six years their Lodge Hall was cleared of debt.
By this time there appeared to be room for another Lodge in Edmonton. After several meetings of Masons unaffiliated with other Edmonton Lodges and interested in the Canadian Work it was decided to petition for a new Lodge. The name chosen was Dominion Lodge No. 117. It was instituted on October 6, 1920 and constituted on June 28, 1921.
Calgary was not far behind. The south hill in that city was growing in population and on June 2, 1920 a meeting was called in St. Mark's Anglican Church. Of the twenty-two Masons that were present seventeen signified that they were prepared to join a new Lodge. St. Mark's Church Hall was available for meetings. In order to finance the changes that were necessary to create a Lodge Hall all the charter members agreed to pay two years dues in advance. Most of the work was done by volunteer labour. The name was something of a problem, South Calgary, Sarcee and St. Mark's being proposed. The latter name St. Mark's was chosen. The annual dues were $6.00 and the initiation fee $50.00. The church, grateful for the renovations to their Parish Hall, agreed to a five year lease. On November 22, 1920 the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. H. W. S. Kemmis, assisted by several Grand Lodge Officers instituted St. Mark's Lodge No. 118 and installed R.W. Bro. H. D. R. Stewart, who initiated the first meeting, as the first Worshipful Master. The rector of St. Mark's Church, Bro. the Rev. H. H. Wilford was the first Senior Warden. The constitution ceremony was conducted by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. W. Younge on July 1, 1921. The spirit of St. Mark's Lodge No. 118, which has continued through the years, was shown when one of their Brethren fell ill and had to be sent back to England with his family for which St. Mark's bore the cost. The brother's assets were taken over by the Lodge. They formed work bees and repaired and renovated the brother's home and then sold it. From the proceeds of the sale they were able to pay back a loan from Grand Lodge. There was money left over and it was sent to the brother in England who acknowledged, with gratitude, the enterprise and generosity of his Brethren.
Uppermost in the minds of the members of St. Mark's Lodge was a desire to have a Temple of their own. On March 8, 1926 the Lodge decided to issue three per cent bonds in denominations of $25.00 to be repaid in fifteen years so that $3,000.00 could be raised for a building fund. A tender of $3,550.00 was accepted and a cornerstone of polished Finland Granite was donated by Bro. James McDonald, a master stone cutter. The cornerstone was laid in a ceremony conducted by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. G. E. Cruickshank on June 2, 1928 and the new Temple was dedicated by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. M. Mitchell on February 25, 1929. Recently when the building was torn down to accommodate a Senior Citizen's Apartment building in which a Lodge Hall was to be incorporated the original cornerstone was salvaged and relaid by M.W. Bro. R. L. Costigan, then Grand Master.
Towards the end of 1920 the city of Lethbridge felt that it was able to accommodate a fourth Masonic Lodge and a dispensation was granted for this on November 13, 1920. The name chosen was York Lodge No. 119 and was instituted by the D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. A. Hays on December 2, 1920. The constitution ceremonies followed on August 9, 1921. The first Worshipful Master of York Lodge No. 119 was W. Bro. Harry Pilling. There were thirty-four Charter members. The cornerstone of the Lethbridge Collegiate Institute was laid by the members of the various Lodges in Lethbridge in the year 1928.
Monitor Lodge No. 120, in the town of Monitor east of Stettler and near the Saskatchewan border, came into being by institution ceremonies on December 17, 1920. It was constituted on June 29, 1921. In the Stettler area the town of Clive saw Clive Lodge No. 121 instituted on February 9, 1921. The consecration ceremonies were conducted by M.W. Bro. F. S. Selwood on June 24, 1922. After a number of years with changing membership Clive Lodge No. 121 surrendered its Charter on March 9, 1935. Rising Sun Lodge No. 122 at Gadsby, near Stettler, was instituted on February 15, 1921 and consecrated by M.W. Bro. F. S. Selwood, Grand Master, on June 21, 1922 with W. Bro. R. W. Stowell as the first Worshipful Master. The town of Gadsby did not thrive and the Lodge surrendered its Charter on November 1, 1945.
The Masons of Rockyford found strength enough to petition for a Lodge in their town. Rockyford Lodge No. 123 was instituted on April 20, 1921 and constituted on June 26, 1922.
Even as Commercial Lodge in Edmonton filled the need for travelling salesmen to have a lodge that met on Saturday evenings when the salesmen had arrived back in the city for the weekend, so Calgary was finding it necessary to make a move in a similar direction. After a number of meetings discussing and evaluating the need it was agreed that a petition should be presented to Grand Lodge to form yet another Lodge in the city of Calgary. The result was that Concord Lodge No. 124 was instituted on July 2, 1921 and constituted on June 24, 1922. From the outset Concord Lodge prided itself on the excellence of its work and its ability to contribute of its members' talents to the Grand Lodge of Alberta. In addition its membership roster contains the names of many who played a significant part in the growth of the city of Calgary.
Delburne, a small town east of Red Deer, after the usual preliminaries to forming a Masonic Lodge, decided to name their Lodge after the famous and heroic nurse, Cavell Lodge No. 125 was instituted on July 1, 1921 and constituted on June 22, 1922. The town remained small and the Lodge membership was limited but their contribution to the general philosophy of Masonry has been significant. North and east of Edmonton on the way to Grande Prairie and Peace River the town of Sangudo called its Lodge Pembina, after the river that flows north to join the mighty Mackenzie. On October 31, 1921 the Lodge was instituted and on July 3, 1922 Pembina Lodge No. 126 was constituted. Again this Lodge has had a limited membership but has made a valued contribution to the Grand Lodge of Alberta. The scene now moves south to the town of Blackie, east of High River where Granite Lodge No. 127 was instituted on November 5, 1921 and constituted on July 28, 1922, The district around Blackie had had its difficult times because its economy depended entirely on the fortunes of the farming community. The dry years and years when crops were hailed out took their toll on the progress of the Lodge. Despite these obstacles Granite Lodge No. 127 kept working, never having a large membership, but became widely known for its spirit of brotherhood and through the years made many visitors feel welcome.
Before the townsite of Forestburg was staked out some miles east of Ponoka there was a general store and Post Office in a hamlet called Duxbury. The Duxbury district was isolated and permanent settlement did not develop until the Province of Alberta was formed. When the Canadian Northern Railway commenced building a branch railroad in 1912 the settlers began to arrive in larger numbers. Even before that a Master Mason, Bro. S. M. Playford located two miles west of the Duxbury Post Office. On August 14, 1921 eight Masons gathered to consider their future in what by this time had become the town of Forestburg. Some of them were travelling over prairie trails to attend Excelsior Lodge No. 80 at Strome, some even walked that distance about 18 miles. Finally the dream was realized and on December 23, 1921 Forestburg Lodge No. 128 was instituted with the constitution on July 7, 1922, a tribute to persistent dedication. There were twelve charter members, six of whom had endured the difficulties of travel and had affiliated previously with Excelsior Lodge No. 80. The growth of the town coincided with the establishment of the Lodge and leaders in the community were also members of the Masonic Lodge. The well known family name of Farvolden continued in the Lodge and community for many years. The school house in which the Lodge met burned in 1927 and for some months the Lodge met in Galahad, the nearest town. The need for a Lodge hall was evident and a citizen, who had just presented a petition for initiation, A. V. Pickett offered to loan the Lodge $1,250.00 to make construction possible. The same Bro. Pickett was the first candidate to be initiated in the new building in the year 1927.
Just west of Edmonton was the settlement of Stony Plain. In 1917 the grain company for whom he worked transferred a Mason by the name of Pryce Jones to the town, This was a name to become widely known in the Jurisdiction of Alberta. Bro. Pryce Jones was a member of Meridian Lodge No. 83 G.R.S. in Macklin, Saskatchewan. When he located in Stony Plain he joined Strathcona Lodge No. 77 and travelled eighteen miles to get to Lodge meetings. It was not long before Bro, Pryce Jones realized that there were a number of unaffiliated Masons living in the Stony Plain community and called meetings to discuss the prospects for a Lodge. Meridian Lodge No. 129, a natural name, was the result. With ten Charter members it was instituted on July 15, 1921 in the club rooms of the Methodist Church. The name had a further significance for the new Lodge was located on the Fifth Meridian. M.W. Bro. George Murray presided over the constitution of Meridian Lodge No. 129 on July 18, 1923. W. Bro. Pryce Jones was the first Worshipful Master but never did complete his term in office for he was transferred by his company, the United Grain Growers, to Irma, Alberta in May 1922. More was to be heard from him later. W. Bro. G. E. Clarke became Worshipful Master at the constitution, he had previously served as Senior Warden.
The town of Hussar directly east of Calgary by some one hundred miles was an isolated spot in the midst of wide stretches of often dry prairie. This did not deter the Brethren from wanting a Lodge near their homes. It was another case of history being repeated. Hussar Lodge No. 130 was instituted, after much effort, on June 9, 1922 and constituted on July 16, 1923. The Lodge did not increase in membership nor did the town grow as was anticipated. The Lodge struggled through many years with varying fortunes. Another isolated community, Kitscoty, east of Vermilion and near the border of Saskatchewan, repeated the heroic efforts of so many settlements in the eastern part of Alberta. It was dedication and a desire to have the Masonic Lodge visible in their community that brought the institution of Kitscoty Lodge No. 131 to a reality on November 11, 1922 with the constitution date being July 20, 1923.
Now attention moves to the town of Craigmyle, again in eastern Alberta but a few miles east of Hanna. The Masons there first started meeting in 1916 but could not find sufficient support until December 1922 when a dispensation was granted. R.W. Bro. Lamb, D.D.G.M. instituted the Lodge to be called Craigmyle Lodge No. 132 on January 19, 1923. By this time they had fifteen Charter members, the first Worshipful Master being W. Bro. A. White. By the time of the constitution on June 14, 1924 they had added fourteen members by initiation and five by affiliation. Craigmyle was one of the localities in Alberta that suffered greatly from the dry years and, accordingly, the number of members of the Lodge fell considerably. Again it was by sheer determination and great dedication that this Lodge which never had the security of a stable membership kept the Lodge doors open and were proud of the work they did. A similar story may be told of the Masons in the little town of Manyberries south and east of Lethbridge, isolated in the Cypress Hills area near both the Saskatchewan and United States Borders. After some struggle the Lodge, Manyberries Lodge No. 133 was instituted on May 11, 1923 and constituted on June 12, 1924. Its membership was never large and its existence was always borderline. Yet through good times and difficult times there can be no possible criticism of the devotion of the members and their insatiable desire to have a Lodge of their own near to their homes.
Edward, Prince of Wales, purchased a ranch in the foothills and loved to visit the picturesque area for relaxation from royal duties. When he came, he travelled under the name of the Duke of Renfrew, one of his lesser titles, to avoid the formalities that are associated with a visit of the Prince of Wales, heir to the British Throne. The title Duke or Baron of Renfrew is an ancient honour coming from the time when, for loyalty to the House of Stuart, a Charter in 1396 established the Royal Bay of Renfrew near the river Clyde. In 1404 the King of England conferred on his son James, Prince of Wales, the title Baron of Renfrew. This title has been conferred on each Prince of Wales since that date. James, Baron of Renfrew, later became King James I of England. There was located also Lodge, Prince of Wales, No. 426. The reversal of the Lodge name was for the purpose of avoiding confusion if a Lodge were called Prince of Wales Lodge connoting a Lodge of the Prince.
When a number of unaffiliated Masons in Calgary gathered to consider the establishment of a new Lodge in that city to accommodate a growing number of unaffiliated Masons there, the group which met first on October 3, 1923 and again on October 17 and 29 and numbering some thirty-two Brethren agreed that it would like to honour the popular Prince of Wales by giving the new Lodge his name. A committee wrote to His Royal Highness and to Lodge Prince of Wales No. 426 to request permission. Prince Edward, himself a Mason, readily gave permission and wished the Lodge well. Lodge Prince of Wales No. 426 was equally in agreement and, moreover, granted permission for the new Lodge to use the coat of arms of the Royal Burgh of Renfrew. To facilitate this it enclosed, in the letter, two cuts of the coat of arms for the use of the Lodge. The Brethren decided to follow the precedent established by Lodge Prince of Wales and to call their new Lodge, Lodge Renfrew.
It was a gala day when fifty-five of the sixty Charter members of Lodge Renfrew No. 134 gathered with some 166 visitors to witness R.W. Bro. A. J. Davis, D.D.G.M. institute the Lodge on December 12, 1923 and to install R.W. Bro. J. E. Johnson as the first Worshipful Master. Facilities did not permit serving refreshments but a good time of fellowship was enjoyed.
Later, on June 13, 1924, the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. H. P. Reid, constituted Lodge Renfrew No. 134 in the presence of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan, M.W. Bro. J. W. McNeil who addressed the large gathering representing nineteen Alberta Lodges.
With such a solid basis of experienced Charter members it was inevitable that Lodge Renfrew No. 134 would have an excellent beginning both in the excellence of its work and in its dedication to Free Masonry. The Lodge has been careful to preserve this tradition through the years and is known as one of Alberta's outstanding Lodges. It has contributed significantly to the work of the Grand Lodge of Alberta and from its membership has come several of Alberta's Grand Masters. The present Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, M.W. Bro. William N. Love, is a member of Lodge Renfrew No. 134.
At the conclusion of the year 1925 the Grand Lodge of Alberta had increased the number of Lodges by twenty-seven, one, Langdon No. 52, had surrendered its Charter leaving a net gain of twenty-six. Fifty-five were practising the Ancient York Rite and eighty were using the Canadian Work for a total of 135.
The Grand Lodge Communication on June 11, 1919 gave Edmonton permission to form a Masonic Bureau to which all applications for membership would be referred. A Burial Service, recommended by a committee, was adopted. At the Communication the Masonic Benevolent Fund was formed to consolidate all Benevolent Funds which included (1) The Masonic Home and School Fund, (2) the Hillcrest Disaster Fund and (3) the Masonic Great War Fund. The Committee on Benevolence was to be elected by Grand Lodge as a Standing Committee. For administration purposes there were to be two funds controlled by the Committee on Benevolence (a) the Capital Fund, and (b) the Relief Fund. The Committee was to report annually to Grand Lodge and thus became an entity apart from the Board of General Purposes. The first Committee on Benevolence had a membership of nine with the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. W. J. Botterill as chairman. Rules governing the Committee were to be presented at the next Communication. This was done at the 1920 Communication when the Committee on Benevolence reported a total of $58,000.00 in the Capital Fund. It was agreed that this amount should be increased to $75,000.00 if ways of doing so could be proposed. At the Sixteenth Annual Communication in 1921 the constitution was amended so that the per capita tax be increased to $1.50 per annum, "one-third of which shall be set aside for relief purposes and one-third for increasing the Capital Benevolent Fund."
At the Sixteenth Annual Communication fifteen Masonic Districts were set up reflecting the growth of the number of Lodges in the Jurisdiction. It was proposed that District Meetings be held at other times than at the Annual Communication and presided over by the D.D.G.M. It had been the custom for the districts to meet at the same time as the Annual Communication before this date.
In 1922 the Annual Communication met in Edmonton and in the proceedings is a copy of an address delivered at the Grand Lodge Banquet by Bro. Judge Morrison. The presumption is that this was the first of such addresses and practice has been continued to the present day.
One notice of motion is interesting. It asserts that no Mason may attend any non-Masonic function or quasi-Masonic Meeting at which the subject of Masonry is introduced nor may a Mason participate in any quasiMasonic ceremony. Further no Secretary may reveal any information concerning a Lodge or its members. Nor is information to be given to any Mason unless a very good reason is given. There was a question about abolishing the requirement to obtain a dispensation before a disabled person, especially a service-man or ex-serviceman could be accepted for initiation. It was ruled that this would be an infringement on the inherent right of the Grand Master and that neither Grand Lodge nor any body of Masons could alter or abrogate the inherent power of the Grand Master. What about a brother who was deceased and who had been suspended? Could he be reinstated so that he would appear as in good standing at the time of his death? The answer was negative.
The speaker at the banquet during the Eighteenth Annual Communication was a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, M.W. Bro. Stockwell. Another address was delivered by a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, M.W. Bro. Dr. R. S. Thornton whose subject was "The Great Symbols of the Craft."
The notice of motion regarding the attendance of the Masons at nonMasonic or Quasi-Masonic functions, quoted above, was withdrawn.
In Medicine Hat on June 11, 1924, at its Nineteenth Annual Communication, the address was given by M.W. Bro. J. W. MacNeil, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan. There were a number of constitutional changes, one of which was to replace the Committee on Benevolence as a committee of the Board of General Purposes, now an independent body, with a committee on "Masonic Research and Education". It was also ordered that the Custodian of the Work, or his representative, be present at every District Meeting.
The first Committee on Research and Education was appointed at the Twentieth Annual Communication held in Edmonton on June 10, 1925. All Past Grand Masters were named to that committee. Apparently the press sought releases from the meetings of Grand Lodge. This was refused and it was declared that "it has been the practice of the Craft in this jurisdiction and generally throughout the world to refrain from publicity from any other channel than through defined mediums under the direct supervision of its own officials." For the first time it was agreed that D.D.G.M.s be invited to attend meetings of the Board of General Purposes so that they might learn the workings of the Grand Lodge. Addresses were delivered to the Grand Lodge by M.W. Bro. R. S. Thornton, P.G.M. of Manitoba and by Bro. Judge F. A. Morrison.
THE YEARS OF DEPRESSION
The next period of history spans the very difficult years from 1926 to 1932 when the world was plunged into economic chaos and stock markets around the world saw companies crash into bankruptcy. With the falling of the prices of agricultural commodities the huge farming areas in the Province of Alberta were very adversely affected. Since Masonry had always been very closely connected with community development it can be easily seen that the Masonic Lodges would face a series of crises. In tribute to the dedicated Masons, who had struggled heroically to get Lodges near to their own homes, it must be recorded that while the depression forced a recession in activities the devotion to the Craft and the deep sense of brotherhood that had grown up enabled the majority of the Lodges to maintain their existence and to give what was possible in assistance to their Lodge Brethren. Nonetheless suspensions for non payment of dues became a necessary practice.
The Historical Register of Ivanhoe Lodge No. 142 says that "too many Masons, had for some reason become lethargic. Particular stress was laid on the fact that far too many were apparently content to pay dues yearly to Lodges without the Jurisdiction in which they were not and in many cases had been resident without any active participation in the Masonic life of their community." With a determination to correct this situation discussions were started in 1923 which resulted in a petition to form a new Lodge in Edmonton. The name Ivanhoe was chosen and Patricia Lodge agreed that the new Lodge could use its Lodge room on 116 Street near 101 Avenue. The early meeting also agreed that formal dress would be desirable not only for officers but for all members. There were thirty-eight Charter members, thirty-one of whom were members of Lodges outside the City of Edmonton. Ivanhoe Lodge No. 142 was instituted on April 2, 1925 and constituted on July 8, 1926. An early initiate of this Lodge was extremely deaf and it was the days before hearing aids. The register records that the ceremonies "required the immediate proximity of the Worshipful Master at all times and all work was given in great volume". In 1933 the Lodge received a set of gavels made from the roof beams of the 600 year old church of St. Botolphs in Borton, Lincolnshire, England. According to a story of Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe, a Saxon Knight, recovered from wounds in the Priory of St. Botolphs. The gavels were presented by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. John Martland, who had designed them. They were the work of Bro. J. Francis of Edmonton Lodge No. 7 and of W. Bro. Plowman of Jasper Lodge No. 14.
These early incidents indicate the enthusiasm and strength of Ivanhoe Lodge No. 142 which has continued in its early tradition of dedication and originality. An example of this originality was when Ivanhoe Lodge erected a cairn to mark the first Masonic Lodge meeting ever convened north of the Arctic Circle in Canada. It was held on August 30, 1938. To commemorate this historic event Ivanhoe Lodge decided to place a pillar of granite on the site. It was a dedicated at a special ceremony in 1940. The monument was carved in Edmonton and decorated with a bronze plaque. It was transported to Waterways by the Northern Alberta Railroad, taken by a diesel powered boat by the North West Transportation Company across Great Bear Lake to Port Radium and flown by Canadian Airways Ltd. to Coppermine and erected near the Anglican Church Mission. Coppermine was a trading post consisting of the R.C.M.P. Barracks, a Department of Transport Wireless Station, a Hudson Bay Trading Post, the Post Manager's house and mission buildings of the Roman Catholic Church and of the Anglican Church. A brass tube was placed in the cavity of the block containing an account of the ceremony, the front page of the Edmonton Journal, a copy of the Ivanhoe Lodge meeting notice, signatures of the members attending and a copy of the minutes of the meeting. An eight passenger Norseman monoplane flew to Coppermine from Edmonton carrying members of the Lodge. W. Bro. Chas E. Garnett was the Worshipful Master being a Past Master of Ivanhoe Lodge and President of Gormans Ltd., Emil John Wali, the Manager of Eldorado Gold Mines Ltd., Port Radium, Great Bear Lake was initiated. The following acted as officers:
- Senior Warden: Bro. A. K. Muir, Manager of Camlaren Gold Mines Ltd., Gordon Lake, a member of Burford Lodge No. 206 G.R.C. Burford, Ontario.
- Junior Warden: Bro. Squadron Commander C. R. F. Harrison, D.S.A., M.C., D.F.C., Crois de Gurere, an accountant at Camlaren Mines and a member of Tichfield Lodge No. 3350, Nottingham, England.
- Chaplain: Bro. J. B. Tyrrell, M.A., L.L.D., President of Kirkland Lake Gold Mines and a member of University Lodge No. 496, G.R.C., Toronto.
- Senior Deacon: Bro. Sgt. Henry Larsen, Commanding R.C.M.P. Supply Ship, St. Rock, member of Mount Newton Lodge No. 89, G.R.B.C., Saanich, B.C.
- Junior Deacon: Bro. Captain Wilfred Reid (Wop) May D.F.C. Superintendent of Canadian Airways Ltd. and a member of Unity Lodge No. 51, G.R.A. Edmonton.
- Secretary: Bro. John W. Nichols, Manager, Hudson Bay Post, Coppermine and a member of Avalon Lodge No. 776, Newfoundland.
- Junior Steward: Bro. Alfred Copeland, District Manager, Western Arctic District and a member of St. James Lodge No. 256, Peterhead, Scotland.
- Inner Guard: Bro. John D. Nicholson, R.C.M.P.
Jasper National Park was beginning to assume a place of importance because of its natural beauty and the Superintendent of the Park, Col. S. M. Robers who was a Past Master of Dalhousie Lodge No. 52 G.R.C. in Ontario called together Masons living in that area on December 27, 1924. At this and subsequent meetings the basic arrangements were made including the renting of a hall owned by the Otto Brothers. R.W. Bro. D. D. MacKenzie conducted the ceremonies of institution on April 23, 1925 with the support of Edson Lodge No. 68. Jasper Park Lodge No. 143 was constituted on June 24, 1926 with W. Bro. Col. S. M. Rogers as the first Worshipful Master. Jasper Park Lodge lost no time in securing its own Lodge room and acquired the lease of a lot on July 2, 1928 with the Lodge Room being opened on September 13. W. Bro. Col. Rogers travelled from Ottawa to be present at the dedication of the Lodge Room.
Bro. P. H. Goodair, was killed by a grizzly bear on or about September 12, 1929 in Tonquin Valley where he was a park warden. He had requested a Masonic Funeral and also that he be buried in Tonquin Valley. Jasper Park Lodge No. 143 met at 5:00 a.m. on September 28 and at 6:00 a.m. Bro. Alex Wylie met the Brethren at Portal Creek to drive them in with horses for a horse back ride to Tonquin Valley. They arrived at the Park Warden's cabin about noon and in the afternoon, W. Bro. E. A. Shaw conducted the Masonic Funeral Service and Bro. Goodair was laid to rest. The return journey, mostly downhill, brought the Brethren back to the town of Jasper late that day with many of them saddle sore because of their unaccustomed long day in the saddle.
The Twenty-fifth Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Alberta was held in the C.N.R.'s Jasper Lodge. The Grand Lodge Officers and members of Grand Lodge were fittingly welcomed by the Superintendent of Jasper National Park, Bro. R. K. Knight.
The Imperial Oil Company drilled down as far as the gas formations in the year 1914 in Gratton coulee that is south of the town of Irma just west of Wainwright. The coulee runs eastward toward the Battle River. The gas from that well was used for power to drill Imperial Oil No. 1 well at Tabyan. The old Gratton well caught fire in 1914 and the blaze was a spectacular one destroying the old derrick and several buildings. The Masons of Irma met many years later to discuss the formation of a Lodge and quite naturally chose Gratton for the name of their proposed Lodge. Each member agreed to donate $10.00 to defray the expenses of forming the Lodge. After many set backs the Lodge was instituted on May 5, 1925 and duly constituted as Gratton Lodge No. 144 on July 9, 1926. W. Bro. O. L. Chase was the first Worshipful Master. He was tragically killed in a railroad crossing accident on July 26, 1929. The Lodge struggled against this and other set backs. Their Lodge building was destroyed when a fire levelled eight business buildings on April 13, 1931. Undaunted they constructed another building of concrete blocks and moved into it in November of the same year. Prominent in the work of Irma Lodge was the prime mover of Meridian Lodge No. 129, R.W. Bro. W. Pryce Jones who had been transferred to Irma by his employers, the United Grain Growers.
Further north in the Town of St. Paul, which was largely Roman Catholic and French, the few Masons living there felt that it was essential to have a Lodge visible in the town. The problem was that the Masonic population was also the Protestant Group made up largely of bankers, railroad men and R.C.M.P. who were frequently subject to transfer. Not only that but there was a real difficulty in that the non-Roman Catholic population had little influence. The only Protestant Church in town was small and built on low lying land which was all that was made available to it. The stalwart of the proposed Lodge was a lawyer who was later to be appointed a Grand Steward, Bro. W. G. Fuller. After much ground work was laid St. Alban's Lodge No. 145 was instituted on July 9, 1925 and constituted on July 29, 1926. St. Alban's Lodge No. 145 struggled along with its many difficulties and, although small in numbers, became an influence in the north eastern part of the province.
Despite difficult years in the coal mining industry the town of Drumheller was showing such growth that it appeared possible that a second Lodge could be organized there which would attract Masons who wished to practice the Canadian Work. Symbol Lodge No. 93 practised the ancient York Rite. Thus it came about that Drumheller Lodge No. 146 was instituted on December 2, 1925 and constituted on June 29, 1926.
Fairview in the northern part of Alberta between Grande Prairie and Peace River was the next place to see a Lodge organized. This Lodge was called Northland No. 147, instituted on July 30, 1926 and constituted on June 29, 1927. A little later in the same year Mayerthorpe Lodge No. 148, situated northwest of Edmonton, was instituted on November 27, 1926 with its constitution on June 27, 1927.
The historic town of Rocky Mountain House now made an appearance on the Masonic scene. This spot had been the focal point of attention in the early days when the fur traders travelled to Rocky Mountain House by way of Fort Edmonton. At one time the mail directed to Calgary would go to Edmonton, to Rocky Mountain House and then to Calgary. The advent of the railroads had caused the importance of this centre to diminish until it was rediscovered because of its rich agricultural and lumber resources. By 1925 the town had grown enough for the Masons located there to talk of the need of a Lodge. Their work came to fruition when Lochearn Lodge No. 151 was instituted on December 14, 1927 and constituted on July 4, 1928.
East of Calgary, set in the middle of a thriving wheat growing area the town of Standard set about the same practice as had many of the neighbouring towns. Standard Lodge No. 152 became a reality with the institution ceremonies on January 6, 1928 followed by its constitution on June 29, 1928. The town of Whitecourt, northwest of Edmonton and a neighbour of Mayerthorpe was the next in line when Whitecourt Lodge No. 153 was instituted on November 29, 1927 and constituted on September 13, 1929. Then came Waskatenau Lodge No. 154, in a town lying northeast of Edmonton towards St. Paul. This Lodge had its institution on September 12, 1928 and the constitution on July 29, 1929. Evidence that the north country was really in a period of significant growth is the fact that Hythe which is west of Grande Prairie approaching the British Columbia boundary was successful in its attempts to bring Hythe Lodge No. 156 into existence by an institution on October 31, 1929 and a constitution on August 5, 1930.
Back to the south the Picture Butte Masons, living in that town which was to become the centre of a large sugar beet industry, were able to gather enough Brethren together to form Sharon Lodge No. 157. It was instituted on May 5, 1928 and constituted on July 15, 1931. Pollockville, southeast of Drumheller, came next when Berry Creek Lodge No. 158 was instituted on February 26, 1930 and constituted on June 27, 1931. Vauxhall lies between Taber and Brooks. The name of its Lodge was Lucerne Lodge No. 159 which was instituted on November 28, 1930 and constituted on July 22, 1931.
The final Lodge of this era was located in the far north in the town of Sexsmith north of Grande Prairie. The Lodge was called Sexsmith No. 160 and it was instituted on March 12, 1931 and constituted on july 12, 1932.
To the great credit of the Masonic Fraternity the majority of the 160 Lodges Chartered by the Grand Lodge of Alberta survived the critical years of the depression. There were two that did not. Suffield Lodge No. 85, after some fifteen years of uncertain existence, surrendered its Charter on October 1, 1930. The Lodge in the town of Sibbald which was called Mount Moriah Lodge No. 99 decided to amalgamate with nearby Oyen Lodge No. 104 on June 12, 1929. At the conclusion of the year 1932 there were 157 Lodges operating in the Grand Jurisdiction of Alberta. Of these 61 were practising the Ancient York Rite and 96 were operating with the Canadian Work.
The Grand Lodge Communication met in Banff for its twenty-first session in 1926 and at the meeting the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. N. E. Carruthers, suggested that the District Meetings should spend some time studying the Constitution. The Committee on Jurisprudence ruled that a Lodge had no alternative but to lay a charge and proceed with a trial if a brother had defaulted in a trust and had left the country. This evidently was a result of the confusion surrounding some of the disastrous financial happenings occurring at that time.
Calgary was the host of the Twenty-second Annual Communication with M.W. Bro. T. F. English presiding as Grand Master. A committee was appointed to revise the districts and to report at the next Annual Communication. The Board of General Purposes was directed, for the first time in history, to consider a grant for expenses to the D.D.G.M.s, a reflection no doubt, of increasing financial difficulties of individuals in this time of money crisis. The Constitution was to be amended to charter a "Temple Administration Lodge" to manage property held by several Lodges in Calgary.
For a second time in succession Calgary was host to a Grand Lodge Communication when the Twenty-third Annual Communication met there. On March 28, 1928, M.W. Bro. S. Y. Taylor, P.G.M., who had been Grand Secretary since 1917 died in Office. A future Grand Master, then Grand Registrar, M.W. Bro. Wm. Ireland was appointed to fill in as Acting Grand Secretary. For the second time the warrant of Saskatchewan Lodge No. 92 was suspended, the previous date being July 1917. The matter was referred to the Committee on Jurisprudence. The Board of General Purposes declined to make a recommendation regarding the expenses of D.D.G.M.s referred to it from the previous communication.
It was at this meeting that the cornerstone was laid for the new Masonic Temple on Twelfth Avenue S.W., Calgary. The ceremony was largely attended. Bro. F. E. Osborne, then the Mayor of Calgary, was in attendance. During the ceremony the platform holding the dignitaries collapsed and some of them fell to the basement. Very fortunately there were no injuries. Bro. Rev. J. G. Goddard was the Grand Chaplain at the time.
The office of Grand Secretary was filled by the election to that office of a Past Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. H. W. S. Kemmis who held the office until 1942. Saskatchewan Lodge No. 92 remained in difficulty and the Jurisprudence Committee recommended further investigation of its problems.
The Twenty-fourth Annual Communication moved to Lethbridge. Saskatchewan Lodge No. 92 was again the subject of discussion. M.W. Bro. A. M. Mitchell, Grand Master, summoned a special meeting of the Lodge, required the attendance of representatives from all Edmonton Lodges, and reprimanded the Worshipful Master for neglect of duty. He admonished the Lodge for a lack of dignity and decorum and ordered that his findings be spread on the minutes of the Lodge. The warrant was then restored to the Lodge.
This communication declined an invitation by the Order of the Eastern Star to the Grand Master for him to be present, in his official capacity, at the Grand Communication of that Order.
The appointment of a "Custodian of the Work" was recommended and two committees were appointed, one for each rite being practised in the Jurisdiction, to prepare "short forms" for the work. It was recommended that Lodges be permitted to limit its membership by by-law and that dual membership be allowed. The clause in the Constitution permitting Church Parades came under question.
It was recommended that a Grand Lodge Bulletin, published quarterly, be considered. The Committee on Jurisprudence ruled that the conviction of a brother of a criminal offence is prima facie evidence and that a Masonic Trial was mandatory. The number of Masonic Districts was increased to seventeen and the expenses of the D.D.G.M.s was again referred to the Board of General Purposes. The Communication enlarged the Board of General Purposes to include sixteen elected delegates thus doubling the number in that category.
The Silver Jubilee meeting of the Grand Lodge of Alberta was held in Jasper, Alberta on June 11, 1930 with the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Canon S. H. Middleton presiding. His message to the twenty-fifth gathering was "it is better, far better, to fail in striving for a high ideal than to succeed in planting something low and ignoble."
The meeting ruled that a collective ballot on candidates for initiation was invalid. A report was received and adopted reporting that a Grand Lodge Bulletin was not necessary nor was it financially practical. Bro. Col. the Rev. George A. Wells, C.M.G., V.D., M.A., Warden of St. John's College delivered the address at the Anniversary Banquet. Ten rules regarding the standards of recognition for Foreign Grand Lodges was adopted. It also ruled that no application for initiation or affiliation could be withdrawn after the Investigation committee had been appointed without the specific approval of the Grand Master. The Grand Master was requested to appoint a committee to study the proposal that the Grand Lodge Communication meet alternately in Calgary and Edmonton.
A Special Communication was held in Calgary on October 11, 1930 to observe the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. M.W. Bro. S. M. Sneddon, the Grand Master, presided at this meeting.
Edmonton was the location of the Twenty-sixth Annual Communication held on June 10, 1931. By this time the Edmonton Masonic Temple had been completed. M.W. Bro. Sneddon, the Grand Master said, "nothing can bring peace and happiness but the triumph of principles tried and proved in the crucible of time". M.W. Bro. Sneddon refused to allow any information to be given regarding a Lodge, Grand Lodge or its members to any publication not under the direct supervision of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. He also ruled that the Senior Warden of a Lodge may not confer degrees.
The Board of General Purposes, recognizing that the Constitution had been amended a number of times with resulting confusion, requested that a Committee be appointed to revise completely the Constitution. The per capita tax for Grand Lodge finances was increased from $1.50 to $1.70 of this fifty cents was for relief and fifty cents to the Grand Lodge Benevolent Capital Fund. M.W. Bro. Connacher, P.G.M. was appointed custodian of the Ancient York Rite and M.W. Bro. Kemmis, the custodian of the Canadian Work. After several years of discussion it was finally ruled that it was correct for Lodges to attend Church Services wearing regalia.
M.W. Bro. Dr. George W. Kerby, Principal of Calgary's Mount Royal College, presided as Grand Master at the Twenty-seventh Annual Communication held in Calgary. He asserted that, "Our Masonic ceremonies are of such a nature that they should be guarded carefully, at all times, from the slightest suggestion of ridicule or mocking." He ruled also that a Lodge may not conduct a lottery or act as an agent for lottery tickets. "There is no room," he said, "in Masonry for low humour or the questionable story. Masonry is an organized brotherhood and this means, if it means anything, that we can do together what we could never do alone."
The Jurisprudence Committee considered a case where a Worshipful Master of a Lodge had granted an extension of time for the payment of dues to a brother. The by-laws of the Lodge provided for such an extension to be granted but only by resolution of the Lodge. It ruled that the Worshipful Master had erred and, since by-laws of a Lodge should be strictly followed, and recommended that proceedings for suspension of the member be commenced. The Grand Lodge voted to accept the ruling of the Jurisprudence Committee. The meeting also tabled a resolution that would have allowed one year renewable demits.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR
As the world was recovering from the great depression, international politics took over the centre of the stage. Adolph Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on January 31, 1933 and commenced to build the Third Reich. It took him only five years to build up the German War Machine to such an extent that on March 12, 1938 he forced the Austrian Government to resign and three days later marched his armies in triumph into Austria. The nations of the world were thrown into confusion for none of them were prepared to face the threat of Nazi power. Neville Chamberlain, who was the Prime Minister of Great Britain travelled to Munich and on September 29, 1938 signed the Munich Pact, He returned to England declaring that he had brought about "peace in our time". It was only a year later, after a prolonged war of nerves, that a state of war was declared on September 3, 1939. The war raged and Britain seemed doomed to defeat. Canada contributed some 200,000 soldiers and 19,000 R.C.A.F. The industries in Canada were geared to the war effort and the Royal Canadian Navy threw its power into keeping the supply lines open across the Atlantic, On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour and the conflict spread to the eastern world. Finally the tide of battle turned and on May 7, 1945 the German Armies surrendered to the Allied Powers. The President of the United States, Harry Truman, authorized the dropping of an Atomic Bomb on the town of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 which was followed by the surrender of Japan on August 29, 1945.
Meanwhile Great Britain had gone through a constitutional crisis. Edward, the popular Prince of Wales, who had given the name to Lodge Renfrew, ascended to the British Throne on January 20, 1936 on the death of his father King George VI. Later that year he was to abdicate in favour of Albert, Duke of York, so that he might be free to marry the "woman he loved". Albert, became King George VI on December 11, 1936 and was to steer the British Royal Family through a period of turmoil. Not only that but he became the much loved sovereign who led his nation through the critical years of the war.
World events, quite naturally, had their effect on Masonry when existing Lodges were called upon again to support their Brethren who joined the armed forces. From the time of the constitution of Sexsmith Lodge No. 160 on July 12, 1932 to the institution of Empress Lodge No. 161 on October 19, 1944 there were no new Lodges formed in the jurisdiction of Alberta. This was in contrast to Lodge activity during the period of the First World War. Other factors, of course, were present. Alberta was well served with Lodges and the necessity for new ones did not arise.
Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 109 surrendered its Charter on May 16, 1940 because it was unable to muster enough members to carry on the work. Victory Lodge No. 112 suspended operations on February 13, 1941 and returned its Charter. Clive Lodge No. 121 surrendered its Charter in January 1935 and Rising Sun Lodge No. 122 took similar action on November 1, 1945. On April 12, 1941 Coal Lodge No. 62 amalgamated with Melrose Lodge No. 139. The new Lodge was to be known as Melrose Lodge No. 62. Rosebud Lodge No. 149 surrendered its Charter on November 13, 1940. Another amalgamation took place on December 6, 1937 when Donalda Lodge No. 150 joined the Apollo Lodge No. 27 which was located in Stettler. Another Lodge which surrendered it's Charter was Earl Haig Lodge No. 155 located at Barrhead. It ceased to operate in 1943 after a very short period of existence.
Thus during the period from 1933 to 1944 the number of Lodges operating in Alberta was reduced by eight. Six Lodges surrendered their Charters and two amalgamated with nearby Lodges. At the close of 1944 there were 149 Lodges operating under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. Sixty of them were practising the Ancient York Rite and eighty-nine the Canadian Work.
The reduction of the number of Lodges cannot be attributed alone to the upheaval caused by World War II. The intervening years had witnessed a tremendous revolution in transportation and the automobile had become a rapid method of transporting people. Some of the smaller towns suffered under this phenomenon and the shift in population reduced them numerically. A situation was thus created where Lodge membership decreased and the Masons remaining in the towns were able, quite easily, to travel to nearby towns whose Lodges were strong and where they were made warmly welcome. Unfortunately this did not occur in all cases and some Masons ceased to attend Lodge.
At the Grand Lodge Communication held in Calgary on June 14, 1933, the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. G. M. Blackstock felt called upon to make a veiled reference to the involvement of Masons in the Klu Klux Klan. He had suspended two members for un-Masonic conduct during a visit to Havre, Montana and ordered the suspension stand until the said members offered unqualified apologies to the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge. The Twenty-ninth Communication upheld the decision not to reinstate one of the members who did not comply with M.W. Bro. Blackstock's requirements.
At the Twenty-eighth Communication, after seventeen years of service, R.W. Bro. Thomas Sharpe, resigned as Treasurer. The problem of the remission of dues was again before the Grand Lodge and the Jurisprudence Committee ruled that notice must be given in the summons of the meeting and dues may be remitted only by motion of the entire Lodge and not by committee.
This communication also agreed to suspend the levy of fifty cents per capita for the Grand Lodge's Benevolent Capital Fund at the conclusion of the year 1933. The Capital Fund had grown to such an extent that the interest from the investments was sufficient to meet Benevolent needs. The committee on the revised Constitution reported progress as it had done for several years.
At the Twenty-ninth Communication held in Edmonton on June 13, 1934 the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. J. Martland reported that he had found it essential to suspend the Warrant of Bowden Lodge No. 42 because of a violation of the Constitution and that it had been reinstated when the abuse was corrected. The Board of Genera] Purposes resolved following the 28th Communication to request the Grand Master to appoint the members of the various committees and to direct the committees to elect their own chairmen. This had been done from the beginning as far as the Jurisprudence Committee was concerned. Invariably that committee had been composed of all Past Grand Masters with the Immediate Past Grand Master as Chairman. The Jurisprudence Committee recommended that a committee be appointed to draft a ritual for the opening and closing of District Meetings. The levy of the fifty cents per capita tax for Benevolence was suspended for the year ending December 31, 1934.
It was proposed that Lodges working in the Canadian Rite may transact business in any one of the Three Degrees at the option of the Worshipful Master except when a ceremony required the Lodge to be opened in a definite degree. This motion was tabled to the next Communication.
At Calgary, on June 12, 1935, the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. V. A. Bowles announced that he had invited the Grand Masters, the Deputy Grand Masters and the Grand Secretaries of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia to a Conference which had been held in Calgary on May 9 and 10, 1935. R.W. Bro. William Ireland had been the Secretary of this Conference. This was a historic meeting because it was the beginning of what was to become known as the Banff Conference. Primarily it was a meeting of the Grand Officers of the Four Western Jurisdictions. The conference grew in stature and in program and was of such quality that it gained an International reputation attracting visitors from a large number of American Jurisdictions. The papers that were presented represented some of the best thinking in Canadian Masonry. It has continued to meet on a yearly basis.
It was at this meeting, too, that the Grand Lodge of Alberta claimed jurisdiction over the far flung North West Territories west of the Fourth Meridian. This action had significant meaning in the future growth of the Grand Lodge.
The need of a Grand Lodge Bulletin was another issue before this Grand Lodge. It was decided that an experiment would be tried whereby a bulletin would be issued monthly for ten months. The Grand Lodge Bulletin was first published in mimeograph form, four pages in length with M.W. Bro. A. M. Mitchell, P.G.M., Editor, in December 1935. The first printed Grand Lodge Bulletin appeared in September 1938. M.W. Bro. Mitchell continued as editor until June 1944 when ill health forced him to hand over the task to M.W. Bro. S. J. Harris, P.G.M. who was appointed Editor Pro tem. When M.W. Bro. Harris retired from his long term as Editor in June 1957 the work of the Bulletin was given to M.W. Bro. Carl Heckbert, P.G.M. who retained the post from 1957 to 1967. M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett, P.G.M. took over the Editorship in September 1967 and has continued in that office until the present time.
The Benevolent Capital Fund continued to increase with the Relief Fund receiving sufficient funds to do the work of Benevolence. It was resolved that the Committee on Benevolence should pay, from its funds, a share of the administrative expenses incurred on its behalf by the office of the Grand Lodge. The Committee on Benevolence pointed out that it was its policy to grant funds only if the constituent Lodges, who desired assistance, paid a part of the costs involved in the Masonic aid to the distressed.
At this Communication the Ceremonies for the Opening and Closing of District Meetings was brought to the Grand Lodge for approval. These ceremonies had been prepared by M.W. Bro, A. M. Mitchell, P.G.M., and they were approved.
In a Special Report the Committee on Benevolence reviewed the policies of the Committee and recommended that the status of the Committee be changed to that of the Board of Benevolence which would consist of the Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master, the Grand Treasurer, the Grand Secretary and six members to be elected by the Grand Lodge. Three of the elected members would serve for two years. The Grand Master would appoint each year two additional members. The Board thus constituted, would appoint its own President and Vice President. R.W. Bro. William Ireland signed the report and became the President of the new Board. He continued in this office until the Grand Lodge Communication of 1972 when W. Bro. E. W. Dunlop took over the post. M.W. Bro. Ireland directed the Board of Benevolence with efficiency, concern and dedication over those many years. The Communication again suspended the payment of fifty cents per capita to the Benevolent Capital Fund.
The work of the Canadian Rite was causing much discussion. The Grand Lodge again refused to act on the proposal that business may be done in any degree at the pleasure of the Worshipful Master and defeated a motion requiring all business to be done in the Third Degree. It did agree that the Chaplain of a Lodge working the in the Canadian Rite should be stationed in the East.
A Special Communication, with M.W. Bro. M. M. Downey, Grand Master presiding, met in Edmonton on June 9, 1936, to consider the draft of the new Constitution. After several years of work the Special Committee had circulated the draft Constitution to all constituent Lodges, and was now prepared to submit their work to Grand Lodge. M.W. Bro. G. M. Blackstock, P.G.M., moved "that the constitution of the Grand Lodge adopted at the Special Communication of Grand Lodge held on February 25 and 26, 1919, and all amendments passed subsequent thereto be repealed and that a new Constitution, a draft of which is attached hereto and forms a part of this resolution, be adopted in place thereof." It was resolved that the Grand Chaplain need not be an ordained clergyman but that he be an elected official of the Grand Lodge carrying the title of Right Worshipful. The Grand Pursuivant was given precedence over the Grand Stewards. In the absence of the Master and Wardens of a Lodge, a Past Master of that Lodge could be considered a representative of it. There was an attempt to delegate to the Grand Master the duty of selecting the D.D.G.M. from one or more nominations sent to him from the District Meetings but it did not receive support and the election of the D.D.G.M. at the District Meeting as outlined in the 1919 Constitution was restored. Finally the Grand Lodge ruled that all business, except degree work and certain ceremonies, must be conducted in the third degree. The meeting rejected a proposal to give the Worshipful Master a second vote in case of a tie. The Special Report of the Committee on Benevolence adopted at the 1935 Annual Communication was incorporated into the Constitution.
The motion of M.W. Bro. Blackstock, together with the amendments, was approved and the new constitution was to become effective on December 31, 1936. There were some changes of significance in the new constitution.
- The Board of General Purposes was now empowered to appoint chairmen of Standing Committees and the Committees no longer elected their own chairman. In addition the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary were allowed to appoint four members to the Board for one year terms.
- The Board of Benevolence would now report directly to the Grand Lodge and not to the Board of General Purposes.
- The Committee on Research and Education was to be appointed by the Grand Master and would be no longer a standing Committee of the Board of General Purposes.
- The Grand Secretary was to be appointed by the Board of General Purposes and no longer elected by the Grand Lodge.
The Thirty-first Annual Communication met in the city of Edmonton on June 10, 1936. M.W. Bro. M. M. Downey, Grand Master; noted with regret, that the Installed Master's Association of Alberta which was formed in 1928 and centred in Edmonton, had disbanded. He noted that this association had been very effective in Research and Education. The Grand Secretary reminded the Communication that correspondence with Lodges in other jurisdictions must be channelled through the Grand Lodge Office.
The increasing concern about the Masonic Burial Service was quite evident. The Committee on Jurisprudence ruled that lodge did not have the right to refuse to conduct a Masonic Burial Service for a Master Mason who was in good standing at the time of his death and who had requested that the ceremony be conducted. The Grand Lodge did adopt a report of the Committee on the revision of the Burial Service.
M.W. Bro. V. H. Macaulay, Grand Master, presided at the Thirty- Second Annual Communication held in Calgary on June 9, 1937. He ruled that a Lodge did not have the power to appoint a brother as a "temporary honourary member" who was demitted and unaffiliated. A demitted Mason has only one right and that is to apply for affiliation. He expressed a growing concern that, in many small Lodges, the officers were Past Masters thus indicating the difficulties being experienced in many of these Lodges in maintaining membership and attracting applications for initiation. At the same time he asserted that Masonry was not for the mass of mankind. Despite the difficult times there was a great necessity for punctuality and for an efficient dispatch of the business of a Lodge. Another indication of the problems Lodges were encountering was in the fact that the decrease in membership was quite marked, more than eight hundred in one year.
The Committee on Jurisprudence, also reflected the growing problems, ruled than an honourary member of a constituent Lodge in Alberta who belonged to another Jurisdiction had no claim on the Benevolent Funds of Grand Lodge. It also ruled that neither a member nor a Lodge is entitled to copies of correspondence between the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge Office. No such correspondence may be released except on the express order of the Grand Master.
Evidently the new constitution was working quite satisfactorily since, for the first time in many years, there were no motions or notices of motion to amend the constitution.
M.W. Bro. C. C. Hartman, Grand Master, at the Thirty-third Annual Communication held in Edmonton on June 8, 1938 requested that Lodges collect vegetables, cash and clothing to be distributed by Lodges in areas that found themselves in a time of distress. He also noted, for the first time in Alberta's history, that it was essential that the Grand Master should have adequate financial assistance from Grand Lodge to help meet the expenses of that office. Masonic Funerals were a continuing problem and the Grand Master had refused to grant dispensation to conduct funerals for a demitted brother and for a member suspended for non-payment of dues.
The Grand Master's address reads in part:
Freemasonry must set its house in order, not so much by planning new organizations, or by turning to the weary occupation of how we can beat up a new enthusiasm, but by asking ourselves, in searching fashion, what is the application of Masonic Faith and Philosophy in the present day. The purpose of Freemasonry is to carry humanity onward and upward . . . The philosophy of Masonry must stir the conscience, sensitize the spirit of the individual and clarify the goal . . . It is the responsibility of the Institution to guide the individual into good, clear, sane, sound thinking according to knowledge and Masonic fundamentals. It is the individual's duty to regulate his daily conduct by his convictions and, as far as these allow, to cooperate with his fellows in the pursuit of a common goal, . . . Masonry has taught you her lessons and expects fulfilment in your lives.
The speaker at the Grand Lodge Banquet this year was the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, the Hon. Bro. J. C. Bowen.
History was moving on and for the first time there appears a discussion regarding a Fifty Year Jewel. A special committee had been appointed to consider this matter and recommended further study. The Board of General Purposes recommended a design for the jewel and also rules for eligibility for it to be awarded.
At this communication there is mention of a Flag Ceremony. Likely this was the first time such a ceremony had been performed at Grand Lodge.
The Thirty-fourth Annual Communication was held in Calgary on June 14, 1939. The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Archibald West had granted a dispensation to Ivanhoe Lodge No. 142 to move their Charter to Coppermine in the North West Territories to confer an Entered Apprentice Degree. The ceremony has been referred to earlier. The Chaplain was an eighty year old most eminent geologist Bro. Dr. J. B. Tyrnell. It was ruled by the Grand Master that when a member has been reinstated after a suspension, it is improper to erase the record of suspension from the brother's record. It was further ruled that a Lodge meeting from which all principal officers are absent is irregular and that all business transacted at such an illegal meeting must be reintroduced at the next regular meeting. Another ruling was that no Lodge in this Jurisdiction could become a member of a Masonic Association in another Jurisdiction over which the Grand Lodge of Alberta has no authority. M.W. Bro. West reported that he had attended an Anniversary Celebration in Halifax commemorating the arrival of Masonry in Canada in 1738. He also gave verbatim a statement from the United Grand Lodge of England setting forth the aims of Freemasonry.
The previous communication had appointed a special committee to study a revision of the Ancient York Rite. It was recommended that there be extensive cuts in some sections of the lectures which destroyed the beauty of whole sections of the work. In some cases, the report said, there had been abbreviations which ruined parts of the work. The recommendation was that a number of paragraphs be retained to be used at the discretion of the Worshipful Master. The old ritual was said to be too lengthy but revision should be left to a scholar with literary ability. The discussion was long and sometimes bitter. In the end the report was adopted.
A report was adopted to discontinue permanently the fifty cent per capita contribution to the Benevolent Capital Fund. The amount had not been collected for several years by action of each Communication and, now, the practice was made definite. The per capita tax for Grand Lodge was reduced to $1.30 from $1.70 with eighty cents allocated to General Revenue and fifty cents to the Relief Fund, The membership in Alberta revealed a net decrease of 158 which was the lowest since the year 1931. It was recommended that the Grand Master appoint three members to the Board of Benevolence rather than two and that one appointee be a Physician.
The Committee on the Fifty Year Jewel presented its report regarding the design and rules regarding qualifications to be awarded the distinction. The report was adopted.
It was noted at the Communication that the 1939 Constitution had provided that the Grand Secretary should be elected. This reverted to the earlier practice. In 1936 it had been agreed that the Grand Secretary be appointed by the Board of General Purposes.
M.W. Bro. George Moore, the Grand Master, reported to the Thirty- fifth Annual Communication that he had found it necessary to suspend a brother who had written in a contemptuous and insulting manner about the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge and had refused to apologize. The Board of General Purposes had considered the suspension and upheld it.
There had been a problem in the Jurisdiction with two unauthorized circulars. The Grand Master had ordered that these be retrieved and surrendered to Grand Lodge. The Committee on Jurisprudence upheld this action and recommended that a clause be added to the constitution specifically prohibiting circulars.
A special committee had been appointed at the previous Communication to study Grand Lodge Elections. It now recommended the elimination of proxies and the nominations of Grand Lodge Officers to be received prior to the Grand Lodge Communication. After a detailed clause by clause discussion the report was finally adopted.
The Special Committee on the Work recommended that a permanent Committee on the Work be appointed which would have control of all ritual and ceremonial practices. It would have power to rule on all ritual, ceremonial appliances, technicalities and observances. Furthermore it would control all matters of Masonic Etiquette within the Jurisdiction. A file of all rulings and decisions were to be kept in the Office of the Grand Secretary. If necessary a member of the Committee on the Work would attend District Meetings. The acts of the Committee on the Work would not be debatable. The report passed Grand Lodge.
The Communication agreed that when a Lodge moved to remit dues of a brother on active service, Grand Lodge would remit the per capita tax for that member to the subordinate Lodge.
"A Masonic Lodge can and should be a factor in the life of its community, not through any concerted action on the part of the Lodge itself, but rather through the exemplary conduct of its members." Thus spoke the Grand Master at the Thirty-seventh Annual Communication, M.W. Bro. Samuel Harris.
M.W. Bro. Harris reported that a meeting of representatives of the Grand Lodges of Alberta and British Columbia was held in Banff in the fall of 1940. They had hoped to hold another meeting in April 1941 but circumstances made the meeting impossible. The Grand Secretary stated that the year had seen the smallest decrease in membership since 1931, the net decrease being seventy-five.
A question arose as to whether a duly elected and installed Worshipful Master, properly proclaimed in open Lodge, could claim the title of Past Master even though he was unable to attend the meetings of his Lodge. The Jurisprudence Committee found itself in conflict with a ruling of the Grand Master. It ruled that the brother is entitled to the rank of Past Master, if he has served one year when his successor is installed in his stead. It noted, however, that no Lodge should elect a brother to the Master's Chair if it had previous knowledge that he would not be able to serve the constitutional term. The Grand Lodge accepted the report.
A Grand Master's War Defense Fund had been established and by June 10, 1940 the Craft in Alberta had contributed $22,759.00. The sum of $5,000.00 had been sent to the United Grand Lodge of England for relief work. It was now agreed that the remainder of that fund be sent to the United Grand Lodge of England to be used as that Grand Lodge saw fit.
Once again R.W. Bro. Percy Feilding was elected Grand Tyler. He had already served in that office for twenty-four years. At this meeting Bro. H. E. Howard was appointed Auditor since R. W. Bro. William Ireland had been elected Junior Grand Warden.
On June 10, 1942, the Thirty-seventh Annual Communication met in Edmonton with M.W. Bro. George F. Ellis as the Grand Master. The meeting of delegates from the four Western Jurisdictions had met in the Mount Royal Hotel in Banff on September 26 and 27, 1941 with the Junior Grand Warden, R.W. Bro. William Ireland acting as Secretary. It was now agreed that this meeting become an annual event.
Up to this date the Committee on Foreign Relations had presented yearly long and detailed reports of relations with other Jurisdictions. These reports had been faithfully recorded in the Records of Proceedings. It was now decided that the report of this committee be omitted from the Record of Proceedings for the duration of the war.
M.W. Bro. F. P. Galbraith was the Grand Master at the Thirty-eighth Annual Communication which was held in Calgary on June 9, 1943. He said, "I do not believe that we, as a Fraternity, are facing disaster or that we must adopt, at once, this or that practice if we are to keep going." The report that for the first time in twelve years the membership rolls showed an increase was a reason for optimism. In addition the War Distress Fund was able to contribute $5,000.00 to the Navy League of Canada.
The Grand Secretary, M.W. Bro. J. W. H. S. Kemmis, P.G.M., died in office on October 13, 1942 and V.W. Bro. David Patterson was appointed Acting Grand Secretary. The Communication elected M.W. Bro. George Moore, P.G.M. to be Grand Secretary. The death of M.W. Bro. Kemmis left a vacancy on the Committee on the Work and M.W. Bro. George Ellis, P.G.M. was appointed to fill that spot.
In addition to the other contributions made by the War Distress Fund donations were made to the Masonic Hospital, London, England, the Chinese War Relief, the Greek War Relief and the Canadian Red Cross.
Circulars were again a sore point and the Jurisprudence Committee ruled that a brother be directed to cease from the circularizing of a member or of members in this Jurisdiction.
While the Constitution called for the Grand Master to appoint three members to the Board of Benevolence for a one year period, this year four were appointed.
A special service of Thanksgiving heralding the end of the war marked the opening of the Thirty-ninth Annual Communication held in Edmonton on June 14, 1944. Another increase in membership, this time 128 was reported. The Jurisprudence Committee ruled that a Lodge may confer a degree at the Installation Meeting providing proper notice had been given but recommended against the practice. The Constitution received several changes. One was that when a dual member is suspended or expelled from one of his Lodges he automatically loses his membership in the other Lodge.
THE YEARS OF RECONSTRUCTION
The Second World War ended on May 7, 1945 in Europe and the Japanese surrendered on August 29, 1945. These were days of great rejoicing for the world, though battered and weary, was once more at peace. Men in the armed services would be discharged and would be returning to their homes. Preparations were made to receive those who had served their country well and care was to be taken for their rehabilitation into civilian life. Efforts were made not to repeat the mistakes that came at the conclusion of the First World War. Universities were geared up to absorb those who wanted more education which could be financed by rehabilitation grants. The general mood was one of optimism. What is more the financial strains which ultimately led to the Great Depression were absent. The men returned to a land that faced a healthy economic future. This was particularly so in Alberta which was on the verge of a burgeoning oil industry.
In the Masonic World, activity resumed again. Empress Lodge No. 161 that had been instituted on October 19, 1944 was constituted on June 15, 1945 during the optimistic days. Empress is a small town north of Medicine Hat and near the Saskatchewan Border. The area had known dry and difficult days but the will to establish a Lodge was strong. The Lodge itself was never to be numerically powerful.
The Grand Lodge of Alberta now had within its jurisdiction the North West Territories. On February 13, 1946 the first Lodge in the Territories came into being, Yellowknife Lodge No. 162. Yellowknife was accessible only by aircraft and dog team in winter, by barge for three or four months of the year and by tractor train from January to May. In 1945 it became a thriving gold mining camp situated on the north shore of Great Slave Lake. The name originated from that of a tribe of Indians who were referred to by Alexander Mackenzie as "Copperknives" and later as "Yellowknives". At that time the population of Yellowknife was approximately 3,000 and of a greatly mixed nature. J. G. McNiven, an engineer and the manager of Negus Mines Ltd. was the prime mover in the establishment of the Lodge. He visited the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Crane-Williams in Edmonton to press his claim and finally persuaded him that a Lodge in Yellowknife was practical. Indeed there were twenty-two Charter members ready to support the Lodge. The Grand Master was present for the ceremonies of Institution and W. Bro. H. J. Griffith was installed as the first Worshipful Master. The lodge in its first year conferred eighteen First Degrees, 13 Second Degrees, raised six candidates and accepted 26 affiliations.
On July 10, 1947 the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. D. Cummings travelled to Yellowknife to constitute Yellowknife Lodge No. 162. The Lodge contributed $250.00 to Grand Lodge to help defray the expenses of the Grand Master and his party. The Master's chair was secured from Ottawa through the good efforts of Hon. George Prudham who was then Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys and likely was one of the original chairs in the Parliamentary Library when it opened in 1876. To get this chair and other chairs for the Lodge Room from Edmonton to Yellowknife cost the Lodge $235.10. The fortunes of the Lodge fluctuated with the varying fortunes of the town. There was a constant movement of members as mines closed down. The highest peak of membership was 36 in February 1952 and that declined to 7 in September 1967. While the Grand Lodge at times questioned the wisdom of leaving a Warrant in Yellowknife the Lodge proved itself with its energy and interest. It was too far away from the centre of activity to become part of a district and consequently, annually, the Grand Master appointed a special representative for the North West Territories. This position was held for a number of years by V.W. Bro. K. Philpott. It should be recorded that W. R. (Wop) May, the famed bush pilot, was a Charter member of Yellowknife Lodge No. 162.
Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 109 had surrendered its Charter on May 16, 1940 after some twenty years of existence. The town of Mirror in which the Lodge was established had experienced difficult times in the depression years but following the Second World War grew again to such an extent that the Masons residing in the town decided to revive the Masonic Order there. Consequently a second Ancient Landmark Lodge was instituted on July 3, 1947 and constituted on October 1, 1948. The Lodge has continued to operate although its membership has been limited.
Edmonton was the first city to see a post war Lodge organized. Meetings regarding the formation of a new Lodge commenced on January 7, 1948 with the dispensation being granted on May 1, 1948. R.W. Bro. W. E. Briggs, D.D.G.M. instituted the new Lodge on May 22, 1948. Since Edmonton was then known as the "Gateway to the North" the new Lodge was called Gateway No. 164. W. Bro. H. Hughes was the first Worshipful Master. The Lodge was constituted on October 14, 1949 by M.W. Bro. H. B. Macdonald, Grand Master. The first initiate of Gateway Lodge, W. Bro. George S. Reid became the Worshipful Master of his Mother Lodge in 1958. It met in Acacia Masonic Temple and its membership increased beyond the one hundred mark.
After a lapse of eight years another Lodge was instituted in Calgary on March 11, 1951. It was to be called Canada Lodge No. 165 and met in King George Masonic Temple located on the north side of the Bow River. The commencement of Canada Lodge was another attempt to attract the unaffiliated Masons who were living in that section of the rapidly growing city. M.W. Bro. W. H. Jackson, Grand Master, constituted the lodge on September 24, 1952, the meeting crowding the Lodge room to capacity. The membership included a number of Masons who became well known in Masonic activities throughout the jurisdiction. V.W. Bro. T. B. Donald, P.G.R., R.W. Bro. J. S. McKergow, P.D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. Canon W. H. Morgan, P.G.C., and W. Bro. F. W. Keyte are only a few of the well known names. Annually the Lodge held a "Canada Night" that attracted many well known Masonic speakers and was well patronized by a large number of visitors.
On September 17, 1951 in the town of Jasper Place, later to become a suburb of Edmonton, Evergreen Lodge No. 166 was instituted. The need for this Lodge became evident when it was discovered that there were enough unaffiliated Masons living in Jasper Place to justify a petition to the Grand Master. The new Lodge was named Evergreen Lodge No. 166. M.W. Bro. A. J. G. Lauder who was to become Grand Master in 1965 was a stalwart of Evergreen from its inception. Among its honourary Past Masters names such as M.W. Bro. W. F. Empey, P.G.M. and M.W. Bro. David Little, P.G.M. appear. The Lodge was constituted by M.W. Bro. W. H. Jackson, Grand Master on September 29, 1952. R.W. Bro. Rev. H. A. Cantelon, P.G.C., R.W. Bro. F. C. Cuthbertson, P.G.R., V.W. Bro. J. Johnston, P. G. Tyler, R.W. Bro. P. Jones, P.D.D.G.M., R.W. Bro. C. C. McKechnie and R.W. Bro. J. M. Tair, P.D.D.G.M. were all members of this Lodge which from its beginning was assured a firm foundation. Evergreen Lodge had some times of difficutty but enthusiasm and a strong sense of brotherhood established it as a Lodge which has continued to make it a valued part of the work of Masonry not only in East Edmonton but also throughout the jurisdiction.
Another Lodge that has made its impact on the history of Masonry is Temple Lodge No. 167 which was instituted on May 9, 1952 and constituted on October 9, 1953. It has contributed to the Grand Lodge of Alberta two very well known Grand Masters, M.W. Bro. David Little, P.G.M. and M.W. Bro. Rev. Dr. E. J. Thompson, P.G.M., the latter being a very honoured Principal of St. Stephen's College.
The third Lodge to be formed in Edmonton was Highlands Lodge No. 168 which was located in the northeastern section of the city of Edmonton. It was instituted on May 29, 1952 and constituted on September 22, 1953. Among its Past Masters was an outstanding Mason, R.W. Bro. J. Booth, P.D.D.G.M., who became well known throughout Masonic circles in Alberta. R.W. Bro. A. D. Mansell, P.D.D.G.M. was another of its faithful supporters.
North and east of Edmonton in an isolated spot a few miles west of Frog Lake, of the Riel Rebellion fame, is the town of Elk Point. Its Lodge was named St. George's Lodge No. 169. The institution date was May 30, 1952 and the constitution took place on August 7, 1953. St. George's Lodge No. 169 was almost as pioneer in aspect as were some of its early sister Lodges in the eastern part of Alberta. The population was a shifting one and, at times, there was difficulty in maintaining membership enough to fill the officer's chairs. The Brethren persevered with a small membership and stood as a strong witness for Masonry in that locality.
The fourth Edmonton Lodge to be organized in Edmonton during this period was Avon Glen Lodge No. 170 which located itself on Edmonton's south side and met in Acacia Masonic Hall. It was instituted on June 4, 1952 and constituted on October 7, 1953. Among its Past Masters it numbers one of Alberta's able Grand Masters in the person of M.W. Bro. K. L. Crockett, P.G.M., whose contribution to Masonry and whose sense of history will long be remembered.
In Barrhead, northwest of Edmonton, on the road leading to the oil rich Swan Hills and on to Lesser Slave Lake, back in the year 1929 Earl Haig Lodge No. 155 had been granted a warrant. The Lodge had faced many adversities because of its isolation and shifting population. The Charter was surrendered in 1943 and Earl Haig Lodge No. 155 ceased to operate. In a short ten years the situation had changed. The Second World War was history and Alberta's growing economic strength caused the Masons of Barrhead to make another attempt. A new name was selected, Barrhead Lodge No. 171. It was instituted on April 21, 1953 and constituted on September 29, 1954. This time success met the efforts of the Masons of Barrhead and the Lodge has flourished.
The activity of Masonry in the formation of new Lodges now moves to the southern part of Alberta to the town of Milo directly east of the town of High River. With the enthusiastic Mason, M.W, Bro. D. D. McQueen, P.G.M. of Vulcan, who became an honourary Past Master of this Lodge, who acted as an advisor, Milo Lodge No. 172 built well. Its institution was on May 15, 1953 and the constitution ceremonies on September 16, 1954. The membership of Milo Lodge No. 172 did not increase as had been anticipated.
Calgary now comes into the picture with a new Lodge being formed on the north hill of that city meeting in Crescent Masonic Hall. It was to be called Jubilee Lodge No. 173 for the work of organizing the Lodge came about the time that both Alberta and the Grand Lodge of Alberta were celebrating fifty years of history. The actual institution of Jubilee Lodge No. 173 came on January 17, 1956 and its constitution on September 14, 1956.
Across the Bow River, west on the south hill, later in the same year Foothills Lodge No. 174 came into being. It was to find a home in St. Mark's Masonic Hall. Foothills Lodge No. 174 was instituted on April 13, 1956 and constituted on October 23, 1957. M.W. Bro. W. L. McPhee, P.G.M., another well known Masonic figure in this jurisdiction and, at times, Chairman of the Grand Lodge Finance Committee, was elected as an honourary Past Master of Foothills Lodge.
The growth of Edmonton was not to be denied its place in the Masonic world and in the same year a new Lodge, Exemplar No. 175, meeting in the Central Masonic Temple, received approval for a petition. The institution of the Lodge took place on June 12, 1956 and the constitution on October 7, 1957. Calgary was in a period of growth too, and Masons were active and desired to create Lodges with memberships that would not be so large that the spirit of brotherhood through the fellowship of individual was lost. Thus came another Lodge on Calgary's North Hill, meeting in Crescent Masonic Temple called Mosaic Lodge No. 176. It was instituted on June 24, 1957 and constituted on September 18, 1958. M.W. Bro. William Ireland, P.G.M. whose name has permeated the work of the Grand Lodge of Alberta almost since its inception was a valued advisor to the Brethren who planned Mosaic Lodge No. 176 and that Lodge is proud to have him listed as an Honourary Past Master. Calgary again was to institute the next Lodge which met in the Calgary Masonic Temple and named Jordan Lodge No. 177. This time it was another honoured Past Grand Master, M.W. Bro. W. H. Harper, who acted as an advisor to the new Lodge and became an Honourary Past Master of the Lodge. R.W. Bro. Eric Osborne, P.G.D. of Ceremonies was a great strength at its inception.
Two more lodges were constituted before the year 1959 came to a conclusion. One was west of Edmonton nearly to the border of Jasper National Park in the town of Hinton. The flourishing economy had brought to this town a pulp mill and allied industries for the surrounding area was rich with valuable forests. The other was north and east of Edmonton almost on the border of Saskatchewan and in a locality where the railroad had not reached. It was the town of Cold Lake, beautifully located on the shores of a large lake. One of the northern outposts of the R.C.A.F. is located at nearby Grand Centre where the railroad ends. Both of these Lodges faced similar pioneering conditions as did many of the earlier lodges that were organized north of Edmonton yet they both were able to gather strength enough to establish their Masonic work. Hinton Lodge No. 179 was instituted on January 25, 1958 and constituted on July 29, 1959. Cold Lake called its Lodge, Astra Lodge No. 179 and it was instituted on July 26, 1958 with the constitution ceremonies dated August 1, 1959.
During this period from 1945 to 1959 two Lodges had ceased operation. Pyramid Lodge No. 108 surrendered its Charter on November 2, 1953. There was one amalgamation, Kilwinning Lodge No. 110 joined with Hope Lodge No. 38 on March 12, 1951. Hope Lodge No. 38 met in Mannville.
The net gain in Lodges over the period was seventeen. Of these, eight practised the Ancient York Rite and nine used the Canadian Work. As the Grand Lodge of Alberta entered the 1960's it had 166 Lodges under its jurisdiction with 68 working in the Ancient York Rite and 98 in the Canadian Work.
M.W. Bro. William Ireland, was the Grand Master at the Fortieth Annual Communication held in Calgary on June 13, 1945. He was able to report an increase in membership of 664, the greatest since the beginning of the Depression. From the War Distress and Rehabilitation Fund $500.00 was sent to the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. The Jurisprudence Committee ruled that, providing a man who had been in the armed services returned to his home, the years spent in the service could count for the residence requirement required for initiation into a Lodge. The Committee on the Work received approval for the use of the "Canadian Rite" as prepared by a Special Committee on that Work.
The Forty-first Annual Communication of Grand Lodge was held in Edmonton on June 12, 1946. The records indicate that it had become a practice since 1944 of Grand Lodge to open the communication with a Service of Thanksgiving. The Grand Master now was M.W. Bro. Rev. G. H. Crane-Williams, a canon of the Anglican Church. He arranged for the Service of Thanksgiving to be held in All Saints Cathedral. The membership in the Jurisdiction continued to increase, this year by 702. The Board of General Purposes decided, quite reluctantly, that it could not entertain a claim for damages to a car belonging to a D.D.G.M. sustained while that brother was returning from a meeting. The Grand Master requested and received approval to send $10,000.00 to the United Grand Lodge of England for use in charitable work.
For the first time the problem of a pension for the Grand Secretary arose. A Committee recommended (a) that Grand Secretaries retire at the age of 70, and (b) that the necessary superannuation fund be established. This proposal was discussed at great length and was ultimately referred to the Board of General Purposes for further study. As far as can be determined the Committee on Jurisprudence did not report and this is likely the first time in the history of the Grand Lodge of Alberta that it remained silent. The Jurisprudence Committee had invariably been composed of the Immediate Past Grand Master as Chairman and all other Past Grand Masters.
The death of R.W. Bro. A. E. Ottewell, long time Registrar of the University of Alberta and at his death was Deputy Grand Master, was a great shock to the Forty-second Annual Communication held on June 11, 1947 in Calgary. The Grand Master was M.W. Bro. A. G. R. Bond. Some confusion arose because two Brethren who had been nominated for the office of Junior Warden wished to withdraw. The Board of General Purposes refused the request and the nominations had to stand. Because of the vacancy in the office of Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Bro. A. D. Cumming, the Senior Grand Warden, was elected to be Grand Master.
The Jurisprudence Committee had resumed its duties and ruled that every Mason has an inherent right to be buried by his Brethren and that it is outside the province of this or any other jurisdiction to interfere with this right.
On February 24, 1947 the British North America Masonic Conference met in the Seigniory Club, Montebello, Quebec. There were thirty-two delegates from nine provinces present. This appears to be the first meeting of what is now known as the All Canada Conference.
The members of Grand Lodge did not take kindly to a further proposal for a Superannuation for the Grand Secretary and a motion proposing to set up a fund was withdrawn. The incoming Grand Master was requested to appoint a committee to make a further study,
An amendment to the constitution made it obligatory for the Committee of Investigation to be appointed privately and not in open Lodge. The Communication further amended the Constitution to provide that nominations for offices in Grand Lodge must be in the hands of the Grand Secretary by 12:00 noon on the last day of February.
A proposal for Grand Lodge to approve, sponsor and assist financially a plan called "The Boys Farms" was presented to the Forty-third Annual Communication in Edmonton on June 9, 1948 by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. D. Cumming. The plan was to create a Boys Farm similar to the popular one operating in the United States for the purpose of assisting and rehabilitating adolescent boys, land had been set aside already for the purpose. The motion to support "The Boys Farms" was put forward by the Grand Master and caused a long and serious debate. In the end the motion was tabled.
The Communication got tangled in methods of procedure regarding amendments to the Constitution. The Board of General Purpose recommended that all notices of motion to amend the Constitution be referred to the Jurisprudence Committee before being brought to the floor of Grand Lodge. The Jurisprudence Committee recommended that Grand Lodge automatically refer notices of motion to amend the constitution to that committee for approval or otherwise presumably after the motions had been presented on the floor. There was no attempt made to resolve the conflict and both motions passed.
The Superannuation of the Grand Secretary came again before the Communication. This time the Brethren agreed that the Grand Lodge should make a just and proper provision for the Grand Secretary upon retirement and set aside $5,000.00 in 1948 and $2,000.00 each year thereafter for pension purposes. It deferred, once more, the establishment of a formal plan.
The Grand Secretary, M.W. Bro. Geo. Moore, at the Forty-fourth Annual Communication held in Calgary on June 8, 1949 reported an increase in membership of 609. This was a slight decrease from the peak year of 1946. M.W. Bro. Dr. Wm. A. Henry was the Grand Master and he had been forced to rule, as his predecessors had on several occasions, that a collective ballot on applications for initiation was not proper. The long standing proposal that a Home for Aged Masons be established was once again deferred.
The question of "The Boys Farm" was again before the Grand Lodge and the ramifications of such an undertaking were considered carefully. It was decided that the Grand Lodge would provide from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 to employ social service consultants to give advice on such matters as the extent to which the problem of underprivileged boys existed, the kind of facilities needed, the capital and operating costs. The personnel that would have to be engaged and costs involved were a problem.
The Superannuation of the Grand Secretary appeared once more. It was ordered that, to create such a fund, the Grand Secretary would be required to contribute a half and the other half would come from the General Fund and the Benevolent Fund.
The question of a Travelling Grand Lecturer was raised and referred to the Board of General Purposes.
On June 14, 1950 the Forty-fifth Annual Communication met in Calgary with the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. H. B. Macdonald presiding.
The Grand Master suggested that a panel of Masonic Speakers be appointed with honoraria to be paid; that the per capita tax be increased from $1.30 to $1.50; that the Board of Benevolence grant $7,500.00 to the General Fund; that the D.D.G.M.s be granted an honorarium of $50.00 each and that $5,000.00 be sent to the Grand Lodge of Manitoba for Manitoba Flood Relief. He also suggested that the Grand Secretary be appointed by the Board of General Purposes rather than being elected by Grand Lodge. The Board of General Purposes included these suggestions in a report that was adopted after much confusing discussion. There is no reference to the required amendments being made to the constitution and the outcome is not at all clear.
The Communication also considered a Special report on the use of Grand Lodge Funds to make it possible for the Grand Lodge to enter more fields of activity. This reflected a concern over the growing Benevolent Capital Fund which was not being used by the Board of Benevolence. It was thought that $18,000.00 to $20,000.00 might be available for the next ten years. The Benevolent Capital Fund is a trust fund and can be diverted from its original purpose only by unanimous consent of Grand Lodge. Capital and operating costs caused the committee to recommend against a system of Masonic Homes or a Masonic Home. No action was taken but it was recommended that the incoming Grand Master appoint a committee to study the issue further.
It was agreed that any Lodge could form a Lodge of Instruction under dispensation by the Grand Master.
V.W. Bro. Peter Dawson, Grand Chaplain, at the Annual Communication conducted a service of Rededication to our Masonic Principles and Faith at the Forty-sixth Annual Communication held in Calgary on June 13, 1951 with M.W. Bro. LeRoy Bond, Grand Master, presiding. This was an outstanding service and deserves to be perpetuated in Masonic life.
The Grand Master stated that he felt that the report by M.W. Bro. Blackstock P.G.M. on the possible new enterprises for Grand Lodge was so complete and comprehensive that there seemed to be no reason to investigate further and the matter should be dropped. He indicated that he did favour the establishment of a Building Fund so that the Grand Lodge could have its own building, offices and other amenities.
At this communication, for the first time, representatives of Concordant Bodies were received. This practice caused much comment favourable and unfavourable. It has been continued intermittently according to the convictions of the Grand Master about the practice. The question concerning the recognition of Concordant Bodies continued to be a matter of discussion throughout succeeding years.
The relief of the sufferings caused by the flooding of the Red River in Manitoba was before Grand Lodge. The Board of Benevolence had contributed $5,000.00 to this disaster. The Craft, at large, had sent an additional $10,416.00.
No longer would the Grand Secretary be elected, for the constitution was again changed to make the position an appointed one by the Board of General Purposes. The appointment would be subject to the confirmation of Grand Lodge. In addition the Board was given the power to appoint an Assistant Grand Secretary. The Constitution was also amended to increase the per capita tax from $1.30 to $1.50 per year. Initiation fees were raised from a minimum of $25.00 to a minimum of $40.00. All these amendments became effective on July 1, 1951.
Up until this time the Committee on Jurisprudence had consisted of the Immediate Past Grand Master as Chairman with the members being all the Past Grand Masters. At the Forty-seventh Annual Communication held in Edmonton on June 11, 1952 M.W. Bro. Waldo Empey, Grand Master, recommended that a lawyer be appointed chairman of this committee and the membership be limited to five. No action was taken on this proposal.
The Grand Lodge defeated motions to contribute $30,000.00 to the Canadian Cancer Society and to allow Lodges working in the Canadian Rite to transact business in the First Degree. In accordance with the amendment to the Constitution, M.W. Bro. George Moore, P.G.M. was appointed Grand Secretary by the Board of General Purposes.
A new Masonic District No. 19 and a revision of district boundaries was agreed to at the Forty-eighth Annual Communication held in Calgary on June 11, 1953. M.W. Bro. H. E. Howard was the Grand Master.
The Superannuation of the Grand Secretary was once more brought to the floor of Grand Lodge because the Grand Secretary, M.W. Bro. George Moore, P.G.M. had expressed a desire to retire in the near future. It was agreed that should the Grand Secretary retire, he would be paid full salary until April 30, 1950 and $150.00 per month thereafter for life. A definite move was now made to place the existing Pension Fund for the Grand Secretary into a Grand Lodge Superannuation Fund and the monies to be invested. The Grand Lodge General Fund was to contribute $2,000.00 annually and the-Relief Fund $1,000.00 annually. A new Grand Secretary would be required to contribute to this fund by a payroll deduction. On retirement at the age of 65, he would be paid $150.00 per month after 15 years of service. The secretarial staff would also benefit with the Board of General Purposes to decide on the merits of individual cases.
The Board of General Purposes was confirmed in its appointment of R.W. Bro. E. H. Rivers as Grand Secretary. This was the first time that a Past Grand Master had not held this position. After ten years of service M.W. Bro. George Moore was retired and Grand Lodge paid a glowing tribute to his work and faithful service.
This Grand Communication adopted some important amendments to the constitution. One was that Installation Ceremonies would be permitted either in June or December. Another was the definite instructions about the handling of Grand Lodge Funds. It was now decreed that any two of the Grand Master, the Grand Secretary and the Chairman of the Finance Committee or his alternate on the Finance Committee have access to the safety deposit box. Also ordered was that Grand Lodge cheques must be signed by the Grand Treasurer or his alternate and by the Chairman of the Finance Committee or his alternate.
The Grand Lodge mourned the death of R.W. Bro. A. J. Davis who had been Grand Treasurer for seventeen years, at the Forty-ninth Annual Communication held in Calgary on June 9, 1954. R.W. Bro. L. J. Rosling was elected to replace the late Bro. Davis.
The new Grand Secretary stated his philosophy in his report when he said - "Some may think that sticking to the rules as approved is irksome but it will prove best in the long run to stay close to the rules that have been tried and not found wanting over the centuries."
The Committee on Jurisprudence quoted a legal opinion which said that a suspended member may apply to Grand Lodge for reinstatement if the Lodge that suspended him ceased to exist and further that Grand Lodge has the power to review a sentence of suspension and change the sentence either by lessening the sentence or extending it to order expulsion.
The question of Liability Insurance came before Grand Lodge and it was recommended that Lodges that have not been incorporated should consider doing so and, if a Lodge owned property, it should have proper liability insurance. The Grand Lodge was urged to procure a Master Liability Policy in which all Lodges could participate.
M.W. Bro. Rev. Peter Dawson, was the Grand Master at the Fiftieth Annual Communication which was held in Calgary on June 8, 1955. It was a communication that had a number of inspirational periods. The Grand Master stated that Freemasonry reminds us of the swift passage of time and that any good that we desire to do must be done without delay. Bro. Rev. Dr. Frank S. Morley, Minister of Grace Presbyterian Church in Calgary delivered a stirring address at the Annual Banquet which he called "The Golden Spires of Masonry" - our tradition, our liberty, our law, our personal integrity, our challenge, our faith and our fraternity.
The Constitution had been reprinted including all the varied amendments but nonetheless some amendments were approved. A Lodge member could not hold more than one office. The period of time that must elapse between the election of a candidate and his initiation was defined. In other sections it was necessary to improve the grammar.
At an Especial Communication held in Edmonton on October 14, 1955 the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Grand Lodge of Alberta was celebrated. The distinguished guests included R.W. Bro. Earl Alexander of Tunis, Governor General, the Hon. J. J. Bowlen, Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, The Premier of Alberta, The Hon. Ernest C. Manning and Grand Lodge Officers from Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
M.W. Bro. S. C. Heckbert, Grand Master, presided over the Fifty-first Grand Communication which was held in Edmonton. The Board of General Purposes in a move that appeared to be illegal but was not challenged elected a Chairman of the Finance Committee and left with the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary the task of appointing all other chairmen. It also referred to the Grand Master two Lodge notices that were unacceptable because they appeared to be electioneering.
The problems connected with ritual appeared again at this communication as it had done frequently in the past. A motion was presented to allow the Lodges working in the Canadian Rite to open only in the Third Degree when business only was to be transacted. The argument was that the opening in the Canadian Rite in Three Degrees was too lengthy. The motion was defeated but it did indicate the atmosphere of the 50's and 60's which was to simplify and reduce time consumed in Lodge meetings.
The Finance Committee received approval to transfer from the Relief Account the sum of $67,500.00 to the Capital Benevolent Account. This is another indication of the buoyant economy of these years and a lessening of the demands for benevolence made on the Grand Lodge. The Communication agreed, too, that the need to transfer funds to the Superannuation Trust Fund had become unnecessary and this practice was discontinued.
The Grand Master at the Fifty-second Communication held in Calgary on June 12, 1957 was M.W. Bro. R. S. Sheppard, a well known educator in the Province of Alberta and his great interest was to establish a Bursary Fund to assist needy students attending university. The Grand Lodge discussed, very thoroughly, the proposal and approved unanimously a proposal to establish such a fund. This was the beginning of the Higher Education Bursary Fund which was to become one of the outstanding projects of the Grand Lodge.
Another indication of the change of life style in the general population was the problem of the increase in dispensations that were granted for the withdrawal of petitions for initiation both before and after they had been balloted on. The population was becoming very mobile and petitioners were being transferred by their companies or were moving before initiations could be performed. The action of the Grand Master in granting dispensations was approved by the Jurisprudence Committee and ratified by Grand Lodge.
The Communication refused to make the office of Tyler an appointed position. It also refused to allow the raising of more than five candidates at any one Lodge meeting. Confirmed also was a decision of the Board of Benevolence that an unaffiliated or suspended Mason had no claim on the funds of the Board.
The address at the Grand Lodge Banquet was delivered by Bro. the Rev. A. G. S. Edworthy. He declared "Everything in Freemasonry has reference to God, implies God, speaks of God and points and leads to God. Not a degree, not a symbol, not an obligation, not a lecture, nor a charge but finds its meaning and derives its beauty from God."
Edmonton was the location of the Fifty-third Annual Communication on June 11, 1958 with M.W. Bro. S. G. Bannan presiding as Grand Master.
His address to the meeting was outstanding in which he says "for upwards of two hundred and forty years we have been a purely moral and benevolent association," warning lest the modern materialistic and activist society should divert the ancient principles of Masonry from its historic commitment. The warning was further emphasized by the Grand Secretary when he warned that Lodge notices should take care not to make reference to other groups claiming Masonic affiliation.
A brother who had been expelled for a Masonic offence thirty-five years previously was reinstated on the recommendation of the Board of General Purposes and approved by the Grand Lodge. On the matter of expulsion the Jurisprudence Committee ruled that the Grand Master may expel, summarily, any member who had secured admission to the order by means of fraudulent misrepresentation or by concealment of material facts. The person so expelled had the right to appeal to Grand Lodge and, in addition, Grand Lodge must approve the expulsion. This question arose because of a case wherein the Worshipful Master and the Secretary of a Lodge who had sponsored a candidate and where the Investigating Committee all had been delinquent. A person with two criminal convictions, because of this, had been elected and initiated. The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Bannan referred to this unseemly performance in very blunt terms.
The Communication again affirmed that the mention of organizations claiming connection with Freemasonry must not be mentioned on Lodge Notices. The Compass Club of Calgary was declared to be outside the scope of Grand Lodge and could not receive formal approval.
The office of Secretary and Treasurer now was allowed to be combined by a constitutional amendment. Another amendment permitted a Lodge to move its regular meeting from the prescribed day providing that day was a public holiday. A Canadian Rite Lodge would now be allowed to raise two candidates simultaneously.
The total membership of Lodges within the Jurisdiction was reported to be 18,674 at the Fifty-fourth Annual Communication which met in Lethbridge on June 10, 1959. The Communication met in Lethbridge as a result of a special and temporary amendment to the Constitution made two years previously. It was done as a courtesy to M.W. Bro. D. D. McQueen who was Grand Master and who resided in Vulcan.
The Higher Education Bursary Fund had become active and a long series of regulations regarding its operation was approved. To help with the financing of the bursaries the Grand Lodge directed that the surplus in the General Account from the year's operation be transferred to the Bursary Fund.
A new Masonic District to be numbered 20 was approved. The result was a slight change in the organization of existing districts. The redistribution was greeted with some alarm and much debate since Lodges were reluctant to be taken out of their established districts. Nonetheless the change was approved.
The Masonic Service Bureau in Canada and the United States had become important in obtaining information regarding Brethren who were in need or who had met misfortune. The Board of Benevolence received approval for the Grand Lodge to join this organization and recommended that Bureaus be established in Calgary and Edmonton.
The address at the Grand Lodge Banquet was delivered by R.W. Bro. Rider Davis of Alberta Lodge No. 3 in Fort Macleod. He was a member of one of the great pioneer families in Southern Alberta and a stalwart in the preservation of the early history of the Fort Macleod area.
"The first and highest allegiance of every Mason should be to his Blue Lodge. Each Mason has promised this allegiance before he became acquainted with any other so called Masonic Organization. Masonry, as all good men and true will agree is not designed to amuse its membership and it most certainly is not designed to bore them."
This was the keynote of the sixties and was expressed by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. David Little, when he addressed the Fifty-fifth Annual Communication in Edmonton on June 8, 1960. The battle for a true identity in the Craft Lodges was already underway.
Elbow River Lodge No. 180 in Calgary was the first Lodge to be consecrated in the 1960's. These ceremonies took place on October 31, 1960. The beginnings of Elbow River go back into 1950 when a number of unaffiliated Masons met under the sponsorship of Bow River Lodge No. 1 to discuss a new Lodge. Such stalwarts from Bow River as R.W. Bro. D. S. Bareham and R.W. Bro. Andy Little directed the young Lodge through its early days which led to the institution on March 16, 1959. Elbow River Lodge grew both in stature and in membership and soon took its place among the Lodges in Calgary. The name Elbow River was chosen to indicate its connection with Bow River No. 1. For several years the Lodge met in Calgary's Masonic Temple but more recently has located in the Bowmont Masonic Hall.
The town of Bowness which was later to be annexed to Calgary saw Bowmont Lodge No. 181 instituted on January 6, 1960 and consecrated on October 21, 1961. Bowmont Lodge struggled for a number of years to build up a membership but had little success. The small group of Brethren were determined that Bowness should have its own Masonic Hall. After a number of financial woes and with much dedicated volunteer work they did build the Masonic Hall. It now is the meeting place of several Calgary Lodges.
The discovery of oil made Drayton Valley a rapidly growing town. It was not long before the Masons living in Drayton Valley began talking about having a Lodge there. At first there was some doubt about the viability of a Lodge in a town whose population was transient. The Brethren persisted in their efforts and Drayton Valley Lodge No. 182 was instituted on March 10, 1960 and consecrated on October 7, 1961. The Lodge has suffered somewhat from the vagaries of the oil industry and, at times, has had difficulty in maintaining membership.
Sherwood Park, a suburb of the city of Edmonton, followed with Sherwood Lodge No. 183 which was instituted on September 15, 1960 and consecrated on October 6, 1961. R.W. Bro. O. P. Thomas, P.D.D.G.M., a well known Mason throughout Alberta, was the guiding light for this Lodge.
Indicative of the growth of the cities in Alberta and the burgeoning of suburbs is the fact that Glenbow Lodge No. 184 became the third Lodge to be established in city suburbs in the early 1960's. It was instituted on May 31, 1961 and consecrated on September 26, 1962 and was located in the southern section of Calgary. St. Albert, almost a suburb of Edmonton, but retaining its status as a town, called its new Lodge Balmoral Lodge No. 185. This Lodge was instituted on September 22, 1962 and consecrated on September 12, 1963. Then came Kelvingrove Lodge No. 187, covering almost the same area as Glenbow Lodge No. 184 but working in the Ancient York Rite. Its institution date was April 24, 1963 and the Lodge was consecrated on September 12, 1964 with M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett, Grand Master, presiding. The name Kelvingrove was taken from a district in Glasgow, Scotland where the first Worshipful Master, R.W. Bro. James Frew lived before migrating to Canada. Wm. Thompson, a brilliant physicist, used the waters of the River Kelvin to perform his experiments in refrigeration. He was successful in constructing a refrigerator which was called a Kelvinator. R.W. Bro. Frew lived long enough to see his ambition to found a Lodge meet with success but not to see the results of his labours for he passed away on November 3, 1965.
Remaining in the city suburbs the Lodge in Jasper Place near Edmonton was called Mystic Tie Lodge No. 188 and was instituted on June 28, 1963 and the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett, was present for the consecration on September 19, 1964. Next was Northmount Lodge No. 189 in the northern part of Calgary. The institution date was October 21, 1963 and consecration on October 3, 1964. The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett, conducted the ceremonies. The next suburb to see Masonic activity was in the eastern section of Edmonton which instituted Eastgate Lodge No. 192 on June 8, 1964 with the consecration ceremonies held in the Central Masonic Temple, Edmonton on October 21, 1965. The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. J. G. Lauder presided. Three Past Grand Masters were present, M.W. Bro. David Little, M.W. Bro. H. P. Reid and M.W. Bro. M. G. Merner. Future Grand Masters, M.W. Bro. Dr. E. J. Thompson, M.W. Bro. Bernie Brown, M.W. Bro. K. L. Crockett, M.W. Bro. W. A. Milligan, M.W. Bro. C. E. Pinnell and M.W. Bro. Dr. P. J. Kendal were present.
While the city suburbs were active in obtaining Lodges to operate in their own sections of the cities the last frontier in the North West Territories was showing growth. Fort Smith is located on the north bank of the Slave River at the 60th parallel just north of the Alberta boundary. The location marks the spot where the Cassette Rapids forces navigators of the river to portage for sixteen miles through dense brush. Originally the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post here in 1874 and a shack town grew up around it. The name Smith was in honour of Donald Alexander Smith, later Lord Strathcona, who was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Northwest in 1871.
When the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were formed in 1905, the North West Territories were placed in a district to be governed by a Commissioner and a Council of four members. The first Commissioner was Lt. Col. White who also was in charge of the N.W.M.P. In 1911 the Federal Government placed an Indian Affairs Agent, A. J. Bell, in Fort Smith in 1911 and a Dr. MacDonald became the medical officer for the district.
It was the discovery of oil at Fort Norman in 1921 that centred attention on the area and Fort Smith became the centre of administration and shipping. The population grew as a result of this and by 1915 the Roman Catholic Church established a Mission there. In 1924 the Anglican Church built a Mission. A public school was built in 1939.
Then came the year 1942 when there was a threat that the Japanese would invade North America, the United States built a pipeline from Norman Wells to Alaska and stationed two thousand troops in Fort Smith. A winter road was built to move freight from Edmonton by way of Hay Lakes. In 1944 the importance of Fort Smith was again enhanced with the boom in the Uranium mines. The town was returned to a settlement of about 250 in 1946 when the war was over and the troops withdrawn but the steady growth and development of the north continued.
A small group of Masons in the year 1950 sent a request to the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan to be permitted to form a Lodge. They were advised that the territory was under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Alberta and were told by that Grand Lodge that a Masonic Club would be more practical than a Lodge. The Club met weekly and practised opening and closing ceremonies until the death of one member and the transfer of others forced them to discontinue. By the year 1961 more Masons had moved into Fort Smith and the proposal to start a Lodge was revived. This time the Grand Lodge approved the erection of a Lodge in Fort Smith with some eighteen Masons resident there. V.W. Bro. K. Philpott, the Grand Master's Representative in the North West Territories instituted Polaris Lodge No. 186 on September 22, 1962. It was a gala night for Fort Smith. Visitors came from Yellowknife, Uranium City, Saskatchewan; Kirkland Lake, Ontario; Westlock and Red Deer in Alberta. W. Bro. G. Gordon was installed as Worshipful Master. The personnel of Polaris Lodge No. 186 changed considerably and a number of the Charter members left the district. New members were welcomed as they moved into the town and the Lodge maintained its original strength. On April 21, 1964 the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Dr. W. J. Collett accompanied by forty Brethren from Lodges all over Alberta flew by chartered plane into Fort Smith to conduct the consecration ceremonies of Polaris Lodge No. 186. It was a memorable week end. The ceremonies on Saturday were followed by a banquet. On Sunday morning the small Anglican Church Mission was crowded when the Grand Master conducted a church service and spoke to the Brethren. Typical of the enthusiasm and spirit of the Lodge, just as the Grand Master was leaving the air terminal to return home he was presented with what appeared to be a case of beer unwrapped. Pictures were taken of this United Church Clergyman carrying a case of beer to the aircraft. His reputation was saved for the case was filled with fresh fish that some of the Brethren had caught that morning in appreciation of the interest of Grand Lodge of Alberta in the new Lodge.
Polaris Lodge No. 186 became noted for its works of benevolence. On August 9, 1968 disaster struck the small community. A huge landslide broke away from the high river bank carrying with it two houses and leaving a third hanging over the edge of a two hundred foot bank. After eighty hours of work the body of Mrs. Kay Ferguson was found. W. Bro. George Gordon telephoned the Grand Lodge Office and the Grand Secretary, R.W. Bro. E. H. Rivers agreed that $1,500.00 would be sent from the Grand Lodge Relief Fund providing the Lodge raised benevolent funds as well. Polaris Lodge was able to assist substantially Bro. Herman Pieper and Mr. Fred Jones who had lost their homes and also Mr. Ferguson who had lost both his wife and his home.
The Masons in the city of Red Deer now discovered that a number of Masons were not affiliated with the Lodges working in that growing city. With the cooperation of the Grand Secretary, R.W. Bro. E. H. Rivers, the secretary of Red Deer Lodge No. 12, R.W. Bro. G. S. Cowie, collected sixty-four names and these Brethren were invited to a meeting in the Red Deer Masonic Temple on November 25, 1963. The proposed Lodge obtained support and assistance from M.W. Bro. F. P. Galbraith, P.G.M., R.W. Bro. F. D. Stevenett, D.D.G.M. and R.W. Bro. W. A. Cameron, P.D.D.G.M. It thus came about that on April 1, 1964 Beacon Lodge No. 190 was instituted by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. S. H. Hardin. There were thirty-two charter members, only two of whom, M.W. Bro. F. P. Galbraith and R.W. Bro. G. S. Cowie, were members of Lodges in Red Deer. W. Bro. Hedley Parsons was installed as the first Worshipful Master and held that office until June 30, 1966. The Lodge was consecrated on June 24, 1965 with the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. J. G. Lauder presiding.
Beacon Lodge from the beginning was interested in Masonic Research and Education. Its members prepared papers and visited sister Lodges to deliver the papers. It became known as an efficient Lodge marked by good attendance and a spirit of true brotherhood.
In Edmonton there was an important armed service base kept active because of the necessity of providing protection for the north country where the early warning defense line was being established. The United States had received permission to use a large military air base north of the city. The base was named Griesbach in honour of the famous Second World War General whose home was in Edmonton. The Masons on the base discovered that there were sufficient Masons based there to establish a Lodge. It was called Griesbach Lodge No. 191 and was instituted on April 2, 1964. With the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. J. G. Lauder presiding the Griesbach Lodge No. 191 was duly consecrated in the Central Masonic Temple in Edmonton on September 18, 1965. M.W. Bro. F. P. Galbraith, P.G.M., M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett, P.G.M., M.W. Bro. S. H. Hardin, P.G.M. were present as were future Grand Masters, M.W. Bro. T. G. Towers, M.W. Bro. B. Brown, and M.W. Bro. Dr. P. J. Kendal. W. Bro. T. W. Oldfield, the leading Mason in the Lodge's organization was installed as the first Worshipful Master. At the installation ceremony the final charge was given by a Charter member of the new Lodge, W. Bro. B. Morrison. Griesbach Lodge became known for the efficiency and dignity of its degree work. It continued in strength of membership although the members of the armed services were frequently transferred.
Another Lodge was yet to be formed in Edmonton and the name selected for this was Redwood Lodge No. 193. After several meetings a petition was presented to Grand Lodge and after approval the Lodge was instituted on January 7, 1965. The ceremony of consecration was conducted by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. J. G. Lauder in the Central Masonic Temple in Edmonton on October 21, 1965. M.W. Bro. David Little, P.G.M., M.W. Bro. M. G. Merner, P.G.M., M.W. Bro. H. P. Reid, P.G.M. were present. W. Bro. W. A. Milligan acted as Grand Steward, R.W. Bro. Dr. E. J. Thompson, was the Grand Chaplain, R.W. Bro. C. E. Pinnell was the Junior Grand Warden, R.W. Bro. B. Brown, the Senior Grand Warden, W. Bro. Dr. P. J. Kendal was a bearer of the Ark of the Covenant and W. Bro. K. L. Crockett was present. All of these distinguished Brethren were later to become Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge. W. Bro. D. O. Thomas was installed as the first Worshipful Master. The final charge of installation was given by R.W. Bro. O. P. Thomas. At the consecration five D.D.G. Masters and eight P.D.D.G. Masters were present, the latter group included R.W. Bro. Pryce Jones.
Canada celebrated its One Hundredth Anniversary of Confederation on July 1, 1967. It had been one hundred years of growth that had seen the Dominion pass through its pioneer stages with all parts of the country showing remarkable growth both in population and industry. The years had been turbulent witnessing two world wars and a great depression. The provinces strengthened in their sense of identity and Alberta had taken its place as a power in the Councils of the land. It was fitting that a Lodge, located in Edmonton, should celebrate the one hundred years by calling itself Centennial Lodge No. 194. The usual proceedings of early meetings and institution occurred in the Centennial year. It was on September 30, 1968 that the actual consecration of Centennial Lodge No. 194 took place in the Central Masonic Temple in Edmonton. The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. C. E. Pinnell officiated at the ceremonies. He was assisted by M.W. Bro. David Little, P.G.M. as Immediate Past Grand Master and M.W. Bro. B. Brown, P.G.M. who acted as Grand Chaplain. Three future Grand Masters took part in the ceremony, R.W. Bro. Dr. P. J. Kendal as Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Bro. Dr. E. J. Thompson as Senior Grand Warden and R.W. Bro. W. A. Milligan as Junior Grand Warden. M.W. Bro. Dr. S. H. Hardin, P.G.M. also attended. M.W. Bro. T. G. Towers, P.G.M., acted as the installing officer, since he had issued the dispensation creating the Lodge.
As far back as 1952 the Masons in Fort McMurray, a town at the junction of the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers in the far northern part of Alberta near the Saskatchewan Border had been hoping to establish a Lodge there. A number of meetings had revealed that the town was not numerically strong enough to gather sufficient Masons to create a Lodge. Finally, on June 14, 1968 the objective had been achieved and W. Bro. L. Youngberg was named the first Worshipful Master of Fort McMurray Lodge No. 195. It was on September 20, 1969 that the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Dr. P. J. Kendal accompanied by forty Brethren flew by chartered plane to Fort McMurray to consecrate Fort McMurray Lodge No. 195. The plane originated in Calgary and picked up other Masons in Edmonton. Others drove to Fort McMurray over the rough road. At the consecration thirty Charter members were present and fifty-nine visitors representing thirty-eight Lodges. M.W. Bro. David Little, P.G.M., acted as Immediate Past Grand Master. Future Grand Masters attending were R.W. Bro. J. S. Woods as Senior Grand Warden, R.W. Bro. F. G. Fox as Junior Grand Warden. Following the consecration M.W. Bro. David Little acted as Installing Master and placed W. Bro. L. W. Youngberg in the chair of King Solomon.
During the 1960's the Grand Lodge of Alberta had added sixteen Lodges to its number. Of these three practised the Ancient York Rite and thirteen used the Canadian Work. In total there were 182 Lodges operating in Alberta 72 practising the Ancient York Rite and the remaining 110 worked in the Canadian Rite.
At the Annual Communication in 1960 the Committee on Jurisprudence continued its survey of the constitutional correctness of constituent Lodges. It ruled that it was contrary to good Masonic practice to install junior officers of a Lodge before the installation of the Worshipful Master. The security of information contained in Lodge notices was a concern and the committee asserted that, despite rising postage costs, the envelopes containing Lodge notices must be sealed and it was invalid to send the notices as second class mail with an open flap on the envelope.
For the first time the Grand Lodge acknowledged the correctness of undress regalia and amended the Constitution to provide for this. The expense of the dress regalia was increasing and the amendments reflect the beginning of inflation.
A membership of 19,237 was reported at the Fifty-sixth Annual Communication when M.W. Bro. W. H. Harper, Grand Master, presided at the meeting in Calgary on June 14, 1961. The Grand Lodge was concerned about the quality of candidates being proposed for membership. It directed that a revision be made in the letter sent to petitioners and referred to a Committee a proposed "Mentor Plan" to be used in the instruction of prospective members. R.W. Bro. M. G. Merner, the Grand Master elect, proposed a series of Area Meetings apart from the District Meetings so that the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary could meet the Brethren and institute a program of Masonic Education. Thus the District Meetings would be directed by the D.D.G.M.s as they saw fit. The suggestion was approved and Area Meetings were set up and continued for a number of years.
It was constitutionally irregular for Lodge notices to omit the occupation of a candidate for initiation and this had occurred. The Grand Master had issued dispensations to regularize the ballot on such candidates. Although the Committee on Jurisprudence agreed with the Grand Master it warned that the practice must be discontinued. Once more the committee felt it necessary to repeat the ruling of 1939 that a brother regularly installed as Worshipful Master and held the office for one year until his successor was installed was entitled to Past Master's rank even though he may have moved from the district and been unable to perform all his duties.
The Constitution was amended in a number of sections. The nomination of a D.D.G.M. must now be written and presented before the District Meeting. If a D.D.G.M. became incapacitated during his term of office the Grand Registrar was to assume his duties. A file of suspended, restored and rejected persons was to be published annually. The Grand Treasurer, replaced the Grand Master as a person who had access to the Safety Deposit Box.
Some Lodges had been purchasing regalia for its officers from other sources than the Grand Lodge Office. This was declared invalid and all regalia must be purchased through the Grand Lodge Office. In addition the undress regalia could be presented to a P.D.D.G.M. only if he preferred it to the dress regalia. Past Grand Masters, however, were to be presented with undress aprons and a Past Grand Master's Jewel. The Grand Master's dress regalia was to be held by Grand Lodge.
The Relief Fund continued to increase and $25,000.00 was transferred from it to the Benevolent Capital Fund.
The Committee on the Work presented a proposed Memorial Service for use in the Lodges to replace the Masonic Burial Service. The Grand Lodge agreed to give this proposal a trial for one year
M.W. Bro. M. G. Merner was the Grand Master at the Fifty-seventh Annual Communication held in Edmonton on June 13, 1962. The Committee on Jurisprudence warned that officers should be prepared to appear on time for installation. It deplored the necessity of dispensations to invest officers out of time. The use of the Memorial Service was continued for another year. The proposal to increase the per capita tax to $2.50 with $1.00 going to the Higher Education Bursary Fund was defeated.
With M.W. Bro. W. L. McPhee, the Grand Master at the Fifty-eighth Annual Communication held in Edmonton on June 12, 1963, the total membership was reported at 19,357 an increase of 27 during the year. The Board of General Purposes had held its first mid-year meeting in January. The Finance Committee reported that the work of the Grand Lodge Office had increased sufficiently that an Assistant Grand Secretary should be appointed.
"Whatever else Masonry is or is not, it must be first and last an institution of moral and spiritual power and influence," declared the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Dr. S. H. Hardin at the Fifty-ninth Annual Communication held in Edmonton on June 10, 1964. The Grand Secretary reported the first loss in total membership since 1942, 44 members, reducing the membership to 19,313. He also introduced the newly appointed Assistant to the Grand Secretary, W. Bro. M. P. Dunford.
Reflecting the extension of the City of Calgary to the south the Grand Lodge granted concurrent jurisdiction to Corinthian Lodge No. 22, Okotoks, with the Calgary Lodges.
The Jurisprudence Committee ruled that a Fifty Year Jewel may be awarded only after fifty years of uninterrupted membership.
The speaker at the banquet was M.W. Bro. Rev. Dr. T. S. Roy, Grand Master of Massachusetts. His speech was indicative of the changing times and the danger of the loss of identity being experienced by Freemasonry. He said, "Things are no longer true or false, lawful or unlawful, right or wrong; they are convenient or inconvenient, pleasant or unpleasant, popular or unpopular, profitable or unprofitable, expedient or inexpedient; they are anything but right or wrong, true or false, good or evil.
Masonry must meet this with the force of its insistence that there is a truth that must be believed, there is a law that must be obeyed, there is a moral sovereignty to which we must submit and that men defy or deny these at their peril."
A pre-Grand Lodge meeting was held on June 8, 1965 in Mount Royal College, Calgary in response to a demand that had been growing throughout the Jurisdiction for an opportunity to discuss the basic principles of the Craft and to return to the ancient purposes of the Order. M.W. Bro. Dwight L. Smith, P.G.M. and Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Indiana had been invited to be a guest at the Communication. His book "Whither are we Taveling" served as the basis and inspiration of this meeting. The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Dr. W. J. Collett, Principal of Mount Royal College, had placed the facilities of the College at the disposal of the Grand Communication. M.W. Bro. Collett opened the session with an address entitled "Why all the Confusion in the Temple". Following the address the Brethren were divided into small groups for discussion. The facilities of Mount Royal College were taxed to the limit and the discussions were enthusiastically pursued. Such was the interest that it was decided that a meeting apart from the Communication was a vital necessity. Out of this concern grew the Masonic Spring Workshop which was to meet in the Banff School of Fine Arts in the Spring of 1966. It was designed as a weekend devoted entirely to a discussion of Masonry without any of the formal ceremonies that a meeting of a Grand Communication demanded. All Masons regardless of rank would meet "on the level" and pursue their studies.
At the formal meetings of the Communication the Grand Secretary reported another decrease in membership. Concern was expressed about the deterioration of the period of Masonic Refreshment following Lodge meetings. The Committee on Jurisprudence recommended certain rulings concerning degrees, Masonic periods of Refreshment and Lodge notices. The report was tabled for further study. The matter of the expenses of the Grand Master was referred to the Finance Committee.
M.W. Bro. Dwight L. Smith, in his address to the Grand Lodge Banquet, spoke on the concerns being expressed at the Communication and declared that it was time for Masonic Lodges to define their objectives, to keep the Three Craft Degrees inviolate and to pursue energetically basic Masonic principles.
The Communication passed a motion allowing copies of the Work to be more widely available and permitting Lodges to purchase three to six additional copies of the Work. It also ordered that a roster of all Lodges be printed in the Record of Proceedings.
With M.W. Bro. A. J. G. Lauder, the Grand Master, the Sixty-first Annual Communication, a Special Committee on the Rules Respecting Trials and Proceedings thereon, presented a report. The Committee had as its Chairman R.W. Bro. J. H. Laycraft and the report was adopted and the previous rules were deleted on motion of R.W. Bro. K. L. Crockett. The new procedures were a great improvement. The Grand Master was concerned that the Board of General Purposes should exercise greater control of the general work of the Lodges in the Jurisdiction and called meetings of the Board in January and May.
The amendments to the Constitution included a section making the Grand Chaplain an appointed officer and not an elected one. Also included was permission to allow the Finance Committee to invest money in government guaranteed securities. The Committee on the Grand Secretary's Report and the Committee on the Fraternal Dead were eliminated. In addition the per capita tax was increased to $2.50 per annum.
The costs of mailing notices were increasing and the Constitution was changed from requiring the mailing of notices in a sealed envelope to "a cover approved by the Grand Master". The minimum Initiation Fee was raised to $50.00.
The Committee on Jurisprudence received approval when it set down the following basic principles:
- The Grand Lodge of Alberta recognizes only three Craft Degrees in Freemasonry.
- The Grand Lodge of Alberta does not approve of any implication on Lodge Notices that any organizations have a Masonic connection.
- The Grand Lodge of Alberta asserts that when non-Masons, male or female, are present before or after Lodge meetings, there should be no Masonic speeches and no Masonic Toasts
(This is a summary of the declaration).
The Grand Secretary reported a further loss in membership of 170 leaving the total at 19,008.
A further loss of membership of 180 was reported by the Grand Secretary at the Sixty-second Annual Communication held in Calgary on June 14, 1967 at which M.W. Bro. T. G. Towers presided as Grand Master. A number of issues were raised at this Communication including a proposal to shift the date of the Annual Communication to the weekend, the method of electing D.D.G.M.s and the move to limit the terms of elected members of the Board of General Purposes to no more than three two year terms.
For the first time the Communication elected only M.W. Bro. M. G. Merner as Chairman of the Committee on Jurisprudence and named no other members to the Committee. Previously the committee had invariably been composed of all Past Grand Masters.
With M.W. Bro. B. Brown as Grand Master the Sixty-third Annual Communication held on June 12, 1968 grappled with the question of when the Annual Communication should convene. There was no change made in the date. M.W. Bro. William Ireland, P.G.M. who had acted as Grand Lodge Auditor since 1919 except the year when he was Grand Master, retired from that office. He was honoured by the Grand Lodge not only for his long term of faithful service but also for the many other years of devotion to various aspects of Grand Lodge work.
This meeting rejected a proposal to reduce the per capita tax by fifty cents per annum. The decision to present the retiring Grand Master with a jewel and an undress apron was revoked. He was now to receive a set of full dress regalia.
The report on Foreign Affairs, more recently called the Fraternal Relations, had been a long one except during the war years. The Grand Lodge considered the relationships with other Grand Lodges throughout the world to be important and to require extensive detailed study. The obvious choice for chairman of this Committee was M.W. Bro. Dr. S. H. Hardin, P.G.M. and the appointment was approved. At this meeting, W. Bro. M. P. Dunford was named Assistant Grand Secretary, a change from Assistant to the Grand Secretary.
King Solomon Lodge No. 41 in Cochrane was granted concurrent jurisdiction with Calgary Lodges and Meridian Lodge No. 129 in Stony Plain was granted concurrent jurisdiction with the Edmonton Lodges.
The Committee on the Revision of the Constitution had laboured for three years. It had done its work well and had consulted with Constituent Lodges, had submitted two drafts to the Lodges and had planned the final presentation to Grand Lodge with meticulous care. The new Constitution was presented to the Sixty-fourth Communication held in Calgary on June 11, 1969 with M.W. Bro. C. E. Pinnell presiding as Grand Master. The Constitution of 1939 with subsequent amendments was repealed and the motion to adopt the new Constitution was adopted after a discussion of some specific sections.
The Finance Committee received approval of a recommendation to allow the Grand Secretary to retire later than the age 65 providing there was a mutual agreement between the Finance Committee and the Grand Secretary.
A concern regarding the penalties connected with the obligations in the Three Degrees had been growing throughout the Jurisdiction. The Committee on the Work submitted changes in the Work that would make it quite clear that the penalties were traditional.
The popular speaker, M.W. Bro. Dwight L. Smith, P.G.M. and Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Indiana returned to address the Grand Lodge Banquet. He said that Masonry must continue to symbolize dependability and truth and honour and unshakeable integrity. Although people love to build Temples and Constitutions of stone, brick and steel, it must always be the basic purpose of Masons to labour to make rough ashlars perfect.
During the 1960's the membership of Masonic lodges had shown a decrease. The Grand Lodge of Alberta entered the seventies with a membership now below 19,000, to be specific 18,431. The challenge of the seventies was to face a consolidation of the membership and to strengthen the Lodges that were suffering from the depletion of members. The drift of population to the cities was well underway and many of the small towns in the Province of Alberta suffered drastically. An expanding economy, the building of all weather highways and the growth of the number of cars made it possible for the country population to have easy access to shopping centres located in larger towns and cities. In addition the growth of the entertainment value of television contributed to the decreasing attendance at Lodge meetings.
There was a movement to attempt to popularize the meetings of Lodges and to create projects in which the Lodges could engage. The service club syndrome was thought by some to be a cure for the ills of the Masonic Order. In some places there were rumblings concerning the ritual and a need to modernize the work of the Lodge.
The search for identity which marked the 1960's had been well conceived. Research and Education laid a firm foundation. The Brethren found themselves recognizing the value of the basic fundamentals of the Masonic Order which no passing style of life could undermine.
Evidence of this is that only two Lodges surrendered their Charters during these years. Big Valley Lodge No. 140 ceased to operate on December 31, 1970. It was followed by Joppa Lodge No. 40 located in Granum on March 9, 1972. Joppa was one of the early Lodges in Alberta with sixty-three years of history. Big Valley had been in existence for forty-six years.
The trend was towards amalgamation and during the 1970's there were thirteen amalgamations. Crocus Lodge No. 115 in Chinook joined forces with Acadia Lodge No. 82 in nearby Youngstown on May 15, 1970. The Lodge known as Rocky-Summit Lodge No. 30 is a union of Rocky Mountain Lodge No. 86 of Frank and Summit Lodge No. 30 at Coleman and was formed on December 2, 1970. On January 7, 1971 Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 163 in Mirror joined with Ionic Lodge No. 45 in the town of Alix. Hughenden's Efficiency Lodge No. 141 joined with the Lodge in Hardisty, Comet No. 50 which had been in existence since 1910, but both names were preserved and the new Lodge is known as Comet-Efficiency Lodge No. 50. On January 24, 1972 Standard Lodge No. 152 and Gleichen Lodge No. 36 amalgamated leaving the historic name of Gleichen Lodge No. 36. The two Lodges northeast of Edmonton St. Alban's No. 145 located in St. Paul joined with its eastern neighbour in Elk Point, St. George's Lodge No. 169 on July 7, 1973 and continued with the name St. George's. Bow Island Lodge No. 64 amalgamated with Grassy Lake Lodge No. 57 on January 16, 1973 and is now known as Bow Island Lodge No. 57, Tuscan Lodge No. 43 at Killam united with Harmony Lodge No. 75 located in Sedgewick and adopted the double name of Harmony-Tuscan Lodge No. 75 on March 26, 1974.
Vulcan Lodge No. 74 accepted into its membership Milo Lodge No. 172 on April 20, 1976. Later in that year Melrose Lodge No. 62 amalgamated with Camrose Lodge No. 37, the date being December 17, 1976. Melrose Lodge had a varied history. Coal Lodge No. 62 had been consecrated in a nearby town in 1911 and Melrose Lodge No. 139 had been consecrated at Bawlf in 1927. These two Lodges had amalgamated on April 12, 1941 and had taken the new name and old number, Melrose Lodge No. 62. After many years of struggle both Coal and Melrose were absorbed by Camrose Lodge No. 37.
The small Lodge Manyberries No. 133 in the far southeastern part of the province amalgamated with Foremost Lodge No. 103 on March 21, 1977. On February 2, 1978 Sharon Lodge No. 157 at Picture Butte joined with Diamond City Lodge No. 65 on February 2, 1978. On May 4, 1979 Lucerne Lodge No. 159 at Vauxhall joined with Doric Lodge No. 31 at Taber. The next day, May 5, 1979, amalgamation ceremonies united Empress Lodge No. 161 with Mizpah Lodge No. 35 one of the early Medicine Hat Lodges.
When the 1970's ended the Grand Lodge of Alberta had under its jurisdiction 61 Lodges practising the Ancient York Rite and 105 Lodges practising the Canadian Rite for a total of 166 all together, sixteen less than when the decade had commenced. In its seventy-four years of history the Grand Lodge had consecrated a total of 195 Lodges. A total of 29 had ceased to operate.
For several years the Grand Master at the time had appointed or reappointed what was called the Grand Master's Long Range Planning Committee. It was commissioned to consider the question of the relationship of the Grand Lodge of Alberta to other bodies that claimed to have a Masonic connection. The committee was always widely representative of the Jurisdiction and its membership included Masons with divergent views. At the Sixty-fifth Annual Communication on June 10, 1970 when M.W. Bro. Dr. P. J. Kendal was the Grand Master, the Committee presented its report. The report stated:
- The Grand Lodge of Alberta acknowledges the following bodies - the Royal Arch, Royal and Select Masters, the Preceptory, The Red Cross of Constantine, the Royal Order of Scotland, The Scottish Rite and the Shrine.
- The Grand Master may convey the greetings of the Grand Lodge to these bodies.
- The Grand Master may acknowledge the presence of the chief officers of these bodies when they are in attendance at a Grand Lodge Communication.
- The Grand Master or his representative may send or take greetings of the Grand Lodge to the Order of the Eastern Star at its annual meeting.
- Constituent Lodges may urge its members as individuals to support Job's Daughters, the Order of DeMolay, the Boy Scouts, the Tuxis Movement, the Cadet Corps and similar worthy groups.
- It is inappropriate for Masonic Regalia to be worn at meetings of the Order of the Eastern Star or at sessions of any youth organizations. As for Concordant Bodies when attending after an official invitation, the Grand Master shall make his own decision regarding the wearing of regalia.
- Lodges may identify, on their notices, the name of a group that supplies a degree team but any non-Masonic entertainment must take place before the Lodge opens or after it closes and regalia shall not be in evidence.
- It is recommended that the Grand Master discuss scheduling with Concordant Bodies to avoid any conflict of dates.
- The records of Grand Lodge are confidential.
- The Grand Master may bring or send greetings to any youth organization but neither a constituent Lodge nor Grand Lodge should participate officially in any function of such organizations.
- Reported progress on the study of a creed.
- Recommended that the Committee on the Grand Master's Address be appointed by the Board of General Purposes.
- Reported progress on the formation of a Publicity Committee.
The report was adopted after an excellent discussion and was accepted as policy that may be changed only by Grand Lodge.
Despite the recently endorsed constitution, amendments again came to the floor of Grand Lodge. One amendment prohibited a Lodge from scheduling a meeting on a Sunday when the regular time of meeting was moved to avoid a conflict with the Grand Lodge Communication. Section 548(1) was changed to add the words "or restoration" after "initiation, affiliation".
New Provincial Legislation required a change in the Superannuation Fund and the Finance Committee received permission to comply with the law.
Because of the growing number of amalgamations, the Committee on Charters and New Lodges presented and received approval for a ceremony to be used at the Amalgamation of Lodges.
At the Sixty-sixth Annual Communication a notice of motion was presented to confer the honourary rank of Past Grand Master on the Grand Secretary, R.W. Bro. E. H. Rivers, but at the specific request of R.W. Bro. Rivers the motion never reached the floor of Grand Lodge. The rank of Very Worshipful was conferred on three Brethren who had given outstanding service to the Grand Lodge, Rev. Archdeacon C. C. Swanson who had served as Grand Chaplain and who had delighted Grand Lodge with witty and inspirational address, and Bros. Harry Rimmer and Peter Delicate both of whom had acted as Grand Organists for many years in a very effective manner. This meeting was held in Calgary on June 9, 1971 with M.W. Bro. Dr. E. J. Thompson presiding as Grand Master.
The Committee on the Work presented a new ceremony for the installation of the Grand Master and the investiture of Grand Lodge Officers. It proposed to use the new edition at this Grand Lodge on a trial basis.
The Committee on Jurisprudence, continuing its desire to keep Grand Lodge free from outside influences, recommended the adding of a clause to the Constitution which reads, "No clothing or uniform relating to any other Fraternal Order may be worn in Grand Lodge or in a Constituent Lodge". This was a progress report.
R.W. Bro. E. H. Rivers, who had served the Grand Lodge in many offices and since 1953 had been the efficient Grand Secretary made his final report to Grand Lodge before his retirement. Some of his comments were as follows:
- The obligations taken by the ruling members of the Craft call for unfettered support of the Constitution and nothing else can be acceptable.
- In Freemasonry, all who are members can surely find an anchor and let their security in their beliefs be a model for others.
- Freemasonry is too strong to be destroyed from without, please do not let it be fragmented from within."
R.W. Bro. Rivers received a standing ovation following his report and the Grand Master paid tribute to him for his eighteen years of unforgettable service.
The Board of General Purposes felt it necessary, once again, to emphasize that it disapproved of the sale of sweepstake tickets for the Lodge's own benefit.
The Board, whose responsibility it is to appoint the Grand Secretary, announced the resignation of R.W. Bro. E. H. Rivers and requested approval from the Communication for the appointment of W. Bro. M. P. Dunford to that position. The Grand Lodge accepted the report, confirmed the appointment of W. Bro. Dunford and agreed to pension arrangements for him. The Grand Secretary's position being an appointed one carried the title of Very Worshipful, hence the new Grand Secretary would be known as V.W. Bro. M. P. Dunford.
During this year the Masons in Calgary had joined together to construct a replica of an Original Lodge Room over an old bank building that had been moved into Heritage Park in Calgary. The Lodge Room contained a number of valuable artifacts and would be open to the General Public. V.W. Bro. J. Mirtle had been the brother responsible for directing this work and tribute was paid to him. M.W. Bro. Dr. P. J. Kendal, P.G.M. had officiated at the opening of the historic site.
The enormous task of revising the Constitution dealing with Masonic Offenses and Trials had been given to R.W. Bro. James H. Laycraft, a Past Grand Registrar and a very well known lawyer. The report is extensive and excellently written. The Record of Proceedings of that year contains the landmark report.
"I resolved that insofar as it was in my power to do so I would return the onus of preserving the Ancient Landmarks and perpetuating our established usages and customs to those whose primary responsibility it is, the Masters of the Lodges. For they are the rulers and governors of the Craft." So declared M.W. Bro. James S. Woods, Grand Master when he spoke to the Sixty-seventh Grand Communication held in Edmonton on June 14, 1972.
The Committee on the Work again addressed itself in a forthright fashion to the proliferation of special degree teams who presented work in constituent Lodges. It laid special emphasis on the requirement of proper dress when a Lodge is at work.
Loss in membership continued and the Grand Secretary, now V.W. Bro. M. P. Dunford, noted that there had been a loss of 401 members during the year reducing the total membership now to 17,357.
The Committee on Jurisprudence now was reduced to a membership of five. No longer was the Immediate Past Grand Master the Chairman. M.W. Bro. B. Brown, P.G.M. was appointed Chairman and the committee was composed of four other Past Grand Masters.
M.W. Bro. F. G. Fox presided at the Sixty-eighth Communication of Grand Lodge held in Calgary on June 13, 1973. He stated "Masons can show the world that men of all colours, races and creeds and of diverse social and cultural heritage, can pursue common goals and act for the common good. We, as Masons, have been doing so for generations."
The question of the status of Brethren who held a Life Membership in a Lodge under the Scottish Constitution had long been a concern of the Grand Lodge of Alberta. The Grand Secretary and M.W. Bro. J. S. Woods, P.G.M. had been in communication with the Grand Lodge of Scotland over the problem and had received a very detailed explanation of the status of such a brother. A report was presented to the Grand Lodge and it was agreed that a life membership granted by a Lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland entitles a holder to use that membership to establish an active membership in a constituent Lodge in Alberta if the brother meets the requirements of the Alberta Constitution. The years of membership in Scotland may be used for the purpose of qualifying for a Fifty Year Jewel in this jurisdiction.
On recommendation of the Board of General Purposes the Constitution was amended to confer on the Grand Secretary the title of Right Worshipful notwithstanding the fact that he is an appointed officer of Grand Lodge. Another amendment provided for a Fifty Year Past Master's Jewel.
The Communication refused to accept a proposal to make Master Masons members of Grand Lodge. It agreed to change the method of voting on Grand Lodge Officers from proportional representation to the use of the X.
Finally, after many years of discussion and postponing a decision, it was now agreed to move the meetings of the Grand Communication to the third Friday in June. The meeting would commence not earlier than 7:00 p.m. and not later than 9:00 p.m.
The total membership was reported at 16,984 another decrease, this time of 373.
The first meeting of Grand Lodge on the third Friday in June was held in Edmonton on June 21, 1941 with M.W. Bro. G. J. Armstrong as the Grand Master.
The Jurisprudence Committee recognized that some Grand Lodges had reduced the age at which a person could be initiated. It ruled, however, that no person under the age of 21 may become a member of a constituent Lodge in Alberta even if he had been a member in another Jurisdiction.
The per capita tax was raised to $5.00 per annum after much debate.
The Jurisprudence Committee had been chaired by M.W. Bro. F. G. Fox. For the first time the committee, composed of four other members, included two Brethren who were not Past Grand Masters, they were R.W. Bro. MacIver and R.W. Bro. Stevenett.
The age of the computer had arrived and at the Seventieth Communication held in Calgary on June 20, 1975 with M.W. Bro. G. R. Sterling presiding, heard that the Finance Committee had decided to place the membership roll on a computer. The Committee, for the first time, had made provision to pay the expenses of the wives of Grand Lodge Officers when they accompanied their husbands on visits to other Grand Lodges.
The Grand Lodge approved a proposal to make Sixty and Seventy Year Bars available to Brethren who had been presented with Fifty Year Jewels. It also permitted, for the first time, Master Masons to purchase rituals from their Lodge Secretary.
Another change in date of meeting was approved. The Communication would now meet on the second Friday in June.
It was agreed, again, that the use of Benevolent Funds to establish Homes for Aged Masons would be too expensive and too great a drain on the Benevolent Capital Account.
R.W. Bro. J. H. Laycraft was appointed to the Committee on Jurisprudence. This left only two Past Grand Masters on the committee, M.W. Bro. F. G. Fox, P.G.M. the Chairman and M.W. Bro. B. Brown, P.G.M.
M.W. Bro. W. A. Milligan was the Grand Master when the Annual Communication met in Edmonton on June 11, 1976. The problem of compensation of the D.D.G.M.s was once more before the meeting and it was agreed that a formula would be adopted. The D.D.G.M.s would now receive $12.50 for each Lodge in their districts. In addition they would be allowed an additional $25.00 where the distance between the furthermost Lodges was 125 miles or more plus another $25.00 where the distance between the two furthermost Lodges was 200 miles or more. The total budget for this change amounted to $2,425.00. It was further agreed that undress regalia would be presented to D.D.G.M.s at the time they vacated their office.
At the conclusion of the Grand Lodge Communication in 1972, M.W. Bro. Wm. Ireland, who had been a member of the Board of Benevolence since June, 1928 and Chairman of the Board for the majority of those years, relinquished his position but agreed to stay on as a member of the Board for another year until his term of office expired. He had piloted the affairs of Benevolence through many years and had seen the Benevolence activities of Grand Lodge go through many changes. Disasters throughout the world, within the Province and the needs of young people in more recent years had all come under the review of the Board. With wisdom together with a deep compassion the funds at the disposal of the Board had been handled in a true spirit of Masonry. Not only had M.W. Bro. Ireland devoted time to Benevolence but he had been at one time Acting Grand Secretary, Auditor of Grand Lodge Accounts and generally a stalwart in all Grand Lodge activities. It was with admiration and regret that the Grand Lodge acknowledge the contribution made by a man who believed sincerely in the work of Freemasonry and put that conviction into action in his life. He retired with honour and with the hearty plaudits of the Grand Lodge. R.W. Bro. V. W. Dunlop succeeded him.
In 1970 R.W. Bro. L. J. Rosling had given up the post of Grand Treasurer which he had held since the year 1954. With a quiet efficiency he had piloted Grand Lodge Finances through times of problems and times of prosperity. His influence had been evident in the councils of the Grand Lodge and he had travelled widely in support of the Grand Masters he served. At the Grand Lodge Communication in 1970 the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Dr. P. J. Kendal, paid tribute to R.W. Bro. Rosling's faithful work and presented him with an easy chair in which he could relax in his retirement. The Grand Master in tribute called him "a dedicated Mason, a true friend and, above all, always a perfect gentleman". The Grand Lodge rose to applaud the service of one more faithful servant. R.W. Bro. W. E. Bright was elected Grand Treasurer.
The Grand Lodge, in 1976, agreed, after several years of discussion, to make available a Fifty Year Lapel pin for those Brethren who had been recipients of a Fifty Year Jewel.
The question of the amount of money in the Benevolent Capital Fund had been discussed a number of times at Grand Lodge Communication. A number of proposals, including Homes for Aged Masons, had been brought forward. More recently it had been suggested that the surplus from these funds, including the Relief Fund, should be transferred to the General Funds of Grand Lodge. The argument that Grand Lodge should have constantly, at its disposal, funds sufficient to meet any disaster that might occur and be able to act quickly, found acceptance in Grand Lodge. A Special Committee now reported that it did not favour the dispersement of Benevolent Funds for any purposes except those for which it was founded. The report was adopted.
Also after several years of debate and much discussion about the wearing of Masonic pins and decorations in public the Grand Lodge agreed to make available a Twenty-Five Year Lapel Pin to be presented at the discretion of the Lodge concerned.
The membership throughout the Jurisdiction showed another decline. This time there was a net loss of 276 and the total membership was reported at 16,145.
At this Grand Lodge, for the first time in history, ladies had been invited to attend the Grand Lodge Banquet. Also, for the first time, the speaker was not a Mason. He was the Provincial Deputy of the Knights of Columbus for the Province of Alberta, Mr. Robert S. Olshaski. M.W. Bro. W. A. Milligan, the Grand Master, welcomed the ladies and paid tribute to the spirit of cooperation that existed between the Masonic Order and the Knights of Columbus. Mr. Olshaski spoke to the gathering on the Knights of Columbus and the similarity of its purposes to those of Freemasonry.
The Grand Lodge had agreed previously to make a temporary change in the Constitution to permit the Seventy-second Communication to meet in the city of Lethbridge in acknowledgement of the fact that the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. O. Aspeslet resided there. He presided over the meeting which commenced on Friday, June 10, 1977. The Grand Master in his address found it essential to draw the attention of the Grand Lodge to Section 46 of the Constitution which states - "The Grand Master shall be applied to on any business concerning Masons or Masonry through the Grand Secretary or a District Deputy Grand Master." He felt that the section was most important and was placed in the Constitution to ease the load of correspondence both for the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary. On several occasions during the year he had requested the Grand Secretary to bring this section of the Constitution to the attention of constituent Lodges. He also said "You can't be a Lapel Mason or a Ring Mason or an Apron Mason. You must be a dedicated person, a heart made man. Let us get away from the service club atmosphere that seems to be creeping into our Craft. Masonry, I am sure, is something of the heart, not what we wear as pins or jewels or what we tack upon walls in the form of scrolls."
The report of the Finance Committee reflected a growing concern with the inflationary trend in the Canadian Economy. M.W. Bro. J. S. Woods, P.G.M., the chairman, noted that this would have an effect on salaries, travel expenses and administrative costs. He warned that there must be an increase in the per capita tax.
The concern that the constituent Lodges were not properly looking after their members and the widows of members was expressed by the Board of Benevolence. It was again necessary to emphasize that applications for Benevolence must originate with the constituent Lodge.
The report on the Condition of Masonry noted that attendance at Lodge meetings was decreasing consistently and that in some rural areas candidates for initiation were very scarce and small Lodges were having difficulty filling officers and were using Past Masters. The average age of candidates was forty-one years. Because of the decrease in membership local taxes on Lodge buildings was a problem especially since inflation was forcing the increase of taxes. There was some suggestion that monies from the Relief Fund might be made available for this purpose but the suggestion did not find favour with the Grand Lodge Communication.
The Committee on the Work refused to allow any ritual work to be demonstrated outside of a properly tyled Lodge or in a properly tyled District Meeting. To attempt demonstrations at the Masonic Spring Workshop was distinctly out of order. It also ruled that it was improper to place ritual on a tape recorder for purposes of memorization.
Amendments to the Constitution were accepted. The first was to insert in the Constitution regulations concerning the presentation of Twenty-Five Year Pins and that a letter suitable for framing accompany each presentation. Another amendment was to create a Nominating Committee of Grand Lodge. This committee was to ensure that there be an election for the office of Junior Grand Warden each year. If, when nominations closed at the required time an election was not guaranteed, then the Nominating Committee shall nominate another qualified Mason for that position. If no nomination had been received, then the Committee was empowered to nominate two qualified candidates.
The Grand Lodge Banquet reverted to its traditional form with Masons only being present. The Speaker was M.W. Bro. J. C. Calvert, P.G.M. of the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan.
The Committee on Jurisprudence had ruled that the Seventy-second Session of the Grand Lodge Communication must be held in Edmonton despite the fact that the meeting in Lethbridge had taken the regular succession away from Calgary. It was thus that M.W. Bro. K. L. Crockett, Grand Master, presided over this meeting in Edmonton on June 9, 1978. A special communication of the Grand Lodge had been held in Medicine Hat on November 2, 1977 for the purpose of laying a cornerstone for the new Masonic Temple there. The Grand Master had presided. M.W. Bro. Crockett had chosen as his theme "Live Freemasonry - Communicate" and he said "You cannot live Freemasonry unless you communicate with Mason and non-Mason, nor can you communicate properly unless you live Freemasonry, Brotherly Love, relief and truth. Freemasonry is a way of life."
The Finance Committee reported that there had been problems during the year and that it had been necessary to transfer $10,000.00 from the Relief Fund to the General Fund to meet the financial obligations of Grand Lodge. Again the Grand Lodge was reminded that the inflationary spiral was continuing and provision must be made for additional costs.
It remained a concern of the Board of General Purposes that there was confusion in the Jurisdiction over communication with the Grand Master. Constituent Lodges were again reminded that the Grand Secretary was the channel by which Lodges should send communications to the Grand Master.
The Board of Benevolence in its effort to rally interest and proper procedure prepared a paper and published it in the Grand Lodge Bulletin. It clarified the starting of the two funds, the Benevolent Capital Fund and the Relief Fund which continued to confuse the members. There were eighteen new requests for assistance during the year. The Benevolent Capital Fund remains a trust fund set up many years ago under certain conditions. Those cannot be changed except by a Court Order.
The budget presented to Grand Lodge forecast a deficit of $29,250.00 for 1978–79. The actual deficit for the preceding year was $9,961.09. A lively discussion followed in which an amendment to the budget was proposed to delete the amounts proposed to pay expenses of the wives of Grand Lodge Officers accompanying their husbands to Conferences and visits to other Jurisdictions. The amendment was defeated and the original budget was adopted. Another motion requesting that the budgets in future years be included in the notice calling the meeting of Grand Lodge. This, too, met defeat.
The report of the Committee on the Condition of Masonry was lengthy and comprehensive. It listed a number of difficulties being experienced by small country Lodges both in membership and in finances. There is a section expressing the concern of some Lodges about the influx of Initiates and Affiliates from the cities into the smaller country Lodges. The conviction was that this was happening because these Brethren could advance quickly through the chairs and attain the position of Worshipful Master, just for the sake of obtaining that rank. The report says - "This strongly worded and persuasive report, combined with the influence of members of concordant bodies could be disastrous for a Lodge."
The Committee on the Work expressed concern that a number of Lodges were not paying attention to the various rulings made by the Committee and which were mandatory. It declared that the signs in the Canadian Work and the Ancient York Rite were different and must be kept separate and distinct. A further ruling refused to change the ritual in the timing of the collection taken in the First Degree at the North East Corner Lecture. There had been an increase in Schools of Instruction at District Meetings and the Committee regarded this as encouraging. It should be remembered that such Schools of Instruction were very frequent in the pioneer days of the Grand Lodge of Alberta.
The Grand Master noted that the Grand Organist, V.W. Bro. H. Farmer came directly from hospital to play the music for the Grand Lodge. He was very ill and had been instructed to fast until further tests could be carried out. The Grand Lodge applauded the dedication and the efficient work of the Grand Organist.
The loss of membership continued. This year there was a decrease of 191 members bringing the total membership in the jurisdiction to 15,739. The loss was made up of 346 deaths, 261 demits, 142 suspensions for Non-Payment of Dues and two suspensions for Unmasonic Conduct. Some of the loss for these reasons was compensated for by 560 initiations, affiliations and reinstatements.
A previous Grand Lodge Communication had amended the Constitution to provide for a Nominating Committee that was empowered to nominate members for the office of Junior Grand Warden following the close of nominations. There was a conviction that this amendment would allow the Nominating Committee to make nominations even if an election had been assured. The Constitution was changed to allow nominations provided only that there was not an election assured when nominations had closed officially. Another amendment to the Constitution permitted the payment of an amount equivalent to 2% of the value of cash and investments held in the Relief Fund on April 30 of any year to the General Fund of the Grand Lodge to compensate for the Administrative expenses involved.
The Communication agreed to double the Grand Lodge charges for dispensations, Charters, initiates, affiliates and various certificates. The proposal to increase the per capita tax to $10.00 per annum produced an extended and lively debate. It was to no avail. The Grand Lodge defeated the motion to increase the per capita tax and left it at $5.00 per annum. This question now could not be brought before the Grand Lodge again for three years. The ladies were again present at the Grand Lodge Banquet and the address was given by M.W. Bro. L. S. Cochran, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York.
Calgary was the location of the Grand Lodge Communication held on Friday, June 8, 1979 with M.W. Bro. R. L. Costigan as Grand Master. A Special Communication of Grand Lodge had been held in Calgary on September 5, 1978 when the Grand Master had laid the cornerstone for the new St. Mark's Masonic Temple. This was the second laying of the same cornerstone, for when St. Mark's Lodge had torn down the old building earlier that year it had preserved the original cornerstone.
A change in procedure was made in 1979 and the Grand Lodge Banquet was held prior to the opening of the Grand Lodge. No ladies were present. The speaker was M.W. Bro. C. L. Chamberlain, P.G.M. of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. Following the banquet the Grand Lodge convened for its opening session at 9:00 p.m.
Despite the fears that the Grand Lodge may have faced a deficit of nearly $30,000.00 in the year 1978–79, the Finance Committee was able to report economies and had reduced the deficit to $7,316.41. The 1979–80 budget again forecast a deficit of $29,035.00.
The report of the Board of General Purposes caused a lengthy discussion about the time of the meeting of the Annual Communication which had been changed several years ago to the weekend. In the opinion of a number of members this had caused a decrease rather than an increase in attendance. Another concern was the communication of Grand Lodge with the Lodges in the North West Territories. It was suggested that the Grand Secretary may make visits to the Northern Lodges as he deemed necessary. These were not to replace any visit made by the Grand Master.
The Board of Benevolence reported a decline in requests for assistance and urged lodges to take more interest in the needs of their unfortunate Brethren. During the year the Board had dispersed $10,572.25.
The Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Bro. W. N. Love said in his report on the Condition of Masonry. "The rumours that a fresh wave of enthusiasm is sweeping through the Craft seem to be well founded. The problems that do exist are becoming more clearly defined and in most cases programs are even now underway to overcome them." He went on to say, "Any serious and widespread concern over Lodge finances are noticeable by their absence."
A change was made in the Constitution to permit the holding of the Grand Lodge Communication in other localities than Calgary and Edmonton no oftener than every third year. The change of location would be permitted by a motion from a constituent Lodge and would require a two-thirds majority. When the Communication was moved it was not to replace the normal progression of meetings alternating between Calgary and Edmonton.
The establishment of Research Lodges in the Jurisdiction was made possible by adding Part VIII to the Constitution entitled "Research Lodges".
The Constitution would not permit the reintroduction of a defeated amendment until three years had elapsed. This was thought by some to work a hardship on the Finance Committee that, at the previous session, had been unsuccessful in raising the per capita tax. An amendment was introduced to exempt changes in the per capita tax from the three year rule. Again there was a lively discussion but the amendment went down to defeat.
The Twenty-Five Year Pin that had been a source of great differences of opinion came back to the floor of Grand Lodge. It was proposed to delete the word "continuous" from the requirements to be awarded the pin. Again the debate was lively. The amendment passed and the word "continuous" was dropped from the list of qualifications.
The Grand Secretary reported that fifty-two Fifty Year Jewels, seven Sixty Year Bars and two Seventy Year Bars had been presented during the year. This was an indication that the Grand Lodge of Alberta was moving to the historic celebration of seventy-five years of history. He also reported a total of 351 deaths indicating the passing of the years.
W. Bro. McBrien was presented to the Grand Lodge by the Grand Master. He had celebrated his 100th birthday in November 1978. For sixty-two years he had been a Mason. R.W. Bro. John Place of Nanton Lodge No. 17 replied on behalf of W. Bro. McBrien. He noted also that W. Bro. Harry Brayne, another Centenarian of Nanton Lodge would like to have been present. The Grand Lodge applauded the two Brethren loudly.
THE SEVENTY-FIFTH YEAR
M.W. Bro. William N. Love was installed as Grand Master for 1979–80. He opened his term of office with a message of enthusiasm and optimism and predicted a massive upswing in Masonic enthusiasm. The tendency of a permissive society to seek changes in the Craft to make it something other than basic Freemasonry would be strongly resisted. His desire was to give Masonry back to the Masons with a return to a vital awareness of the Constitution. Care must be exercised in selecting of candidates and they must be well trained in the basic tenets of Masonry. In no way must the Masonic Lodges yield to the modern pressure for large memberships and a vital core of fully trained Masons must be produced. The degree mill must be slowed down by extending periods between the conferring of degrees. The answer to a return to the basics is a well planned educational program and an increase in the visiting between Lodges.
The actual celebration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary would be in the 1980–81 Masonic year when it was expected that R.W. Bro. W. E. Foster would be the Grand Master. The Seventy-sixth Annual Communication would be held in Red Deer near the home of the next Grand Master.
Those interested in forming a Lodge of Research had already commenced planning such a Lodge. The Grand Master granted a dispensation to erect such a Lodge after the Charter members had worked out carefully the basis upon which such a Lodge would be formed. M.W. Bro. A. O. Aspeslet, P.G.M. became the first Worshipful Master of Fiat Lux Lodge U.D. The first meeting was announced for Saturday, March 22, 1980 in Crescent Masonic Hall in Calgary. No apron would be worn higher than that of Past Master except in the case of current Grand Lodge Officers and all Brethren would be called "brother" with the exception of the Worshipful Master and the Grand Master. Bro. Myron Lusk of Evergreen Lodge in Edmonton was the first member to present a research paper. It was entitled "Jephthah".
During these seventy-five years the Grand Lodge has elected a Grand Master each year with M.W. Bro. W. N. Love being the seventy-fifth in the long succession. To each year the Grand Master has brought his own special contribution and, without exception, has travelled widely to visit the constituent Lodges, attend committee meetings and carry fraternal greetings to other Jurisdictions. The Senior Grand Master was M.W. Bro. William Ireland who was Grand Master in 1944–45 and whose name has frequently been mentioned in the history of the years. His kindliness and consideration made him a long time President of the Board of Benevolence. Now over ninety years of age he is remembered with great affection. As this history was being prepared for publication M.W. Bro. Ireland passed away to a well earned reward on March 8, 1980. The funeral services were largely attended at Wesley United Church, Calgary, by Past Grand Masters and his brother Masons. The Senior Past Grand Master now is the much beloved M.W. Bro. David Little who was Grand Master in 1959–60. The Grand Lodge was saddened by the early deaths of M.W. Bro. A. J. G. Lauder and of M.W. Bro. G. R. Sterling to whom the members had looked to for more years of leadership. The other Past Grand Masters continue to contribute to the work of the Grand Lodge and are honoured for their work. M.W. Bro. W. H. Harper and M.W. Bro. C. E. Pinnell have moved out of the Jurisdiction but are welcomed back each time they are able to visit a Grand Lodge Communication.
Fortunate has been the Grand Lodge in its selection of Grand Secretaries. There have been seven in the seventy-five years of history five of whom are amongst the honoured dead. R.W. Bro. E. H. Rivers, the first Grand Secretary not to be a Past Grand Master served with distinction and now enjoys his years of retirement. The present Grand Secretary, R.W. Bro. M. P. Dunford, has piloted the Grand Lodge through the years of problems and crisis with energy and efficiency.
The Grand Lodge has had eleven Grand Treasurers responsible for the complicated and trying task of controlling Grand Lodge Finances. R.W. Bro. W. E. Bright has held the position since 1970 except for a period of three years when M.W. Bro. W. L. McPhee served for one year and M.W. Bro. R. L. Costigan for two years. Both R.W. Bro. T. Sharpe and R.W. Bro. L. J. Rosling held the post for sixteen years. R.W. Bro. A. J. Davis was Grand Treasurer for seventeen years.
The Grand Chaplains have been many and have come from varied religious backgrounds. Despite the fact that the Constitution allows the Grand Chaplain not to be a clergyman, the Grand Lodge has had only three laymen in the post during the seventy-five years, Dr. John Raper (two years), A. J. Whitby and E. V. Bergin. They have come mainly from Anglican and United Churches although Rabbi L. N. Ginsberg held the post in 1977–78. Several of the Grand Chaplains have become Grand Masters, M.W. Bro. Geo. W. Kerby and M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett both of whom were Principals of Mount Royal College, Calgary during their terms of office and M.W. Bro. E. J. Thompson who was Principal of St. Stephen's College in Edmonton.
To mark the Seventy-fifth year the Grand Master elect, R.W. Bro. W. E. Foster, chose as his theme "Fraternal Rededication" with the hope that the Craft in general would become aware that the basis of Freemasonry begins with the feeling of brotherhood in the constituent Lodges. A service of Fraternal Thanksgiving and Rededication was conducted after the installation of the Grand Master by the V.W. the Grand Chaplain, Bro. the Rev. James Linster of Olds. During the year the District Deputy Grand Masters will organize within their districts Services of Thanksgiving. The Constituent Lodges, then, will take up the theme in their special events with the emphasis placed on Masonic fraternal activities.
Edmonton, during the year, will open a replica of the Masonic Hall that was dedicated in 1904 by M.W. Bro. Dr. Braithwaite, who was at that time the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. The Edmonton Journal of June 8, 1904 described the hall as "a handsome two story frame block 28 x 70 situated on Second Street, The Lodge room and the anti-rooms comprise the whole second floor. " It was here that the Grand Lodge of Manitoba held its session. Fort Edmonton Historic Park will be the site of the reconstructed Lodge hall.
Calgary will mark the Seventy-fifth Anniversary when the Masters, Wardens and Deacons Association of Calgary will entertain Masons and their wives at a banquet and ball at the Calgary Inn on September 27, 1980. The movie "The Magic Flute" by Mozart directed by Ingmar Bergman will be shown. This musical contains many Masonic references. Any profits from the evening will be a Seventy-fifth Anniversary Donation to the Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund.
The membership in the Masonic Order continued its decline in the Seventy-fifth Anniversary Year, the membership feil below 16,000. Alarm was not apparent because of the reduced membership because the concern of the Seventy-fifth year was to increase the spirit of fraternity and brotherhood.
THE GRAND LODGE BULLETIN
The Grand Lodge Bulletin was first published in December 1935 with M.W. Bro. A. M. Mitchell, P.G.M. as its editor. It appeared first in mimeographed form and four pages. The first printed issue was published in September 1938 and continued the four page format which has not changed to the present date. When M.W. Bro. Mitchell was incapacitated and unable to continue with his excellent work, M.W. Bro. S. Harris took over as Editor pro-tem with the September issue in 1944. The outstanding work that M.W. Bro. Harris did with the Grand Lodge Bulletin continued until age forced him into retirement and after thirteen years he retired from the exacting task. It was then that M.W. Bro. S. C. Heckbert took over the position in September of 1957.
With the thanks and plaudits of the Grand Lodge, M.W. Bro. Heckbert retired from his position as editor in June 1967 and received an illuminated scroll at the Grand Communication in 1967. He has laboured for twelve years.
M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett, P.G.M. and a committee took over the publication of the Grand Lodge Bulletin in September 1967. Later the committee ceased to exist and M.W. Bro. Collett continued as editor.
The Grand Lodge Bulletin over a period of 45 years has been one of the unifying forces in the Grand Lodge. It has faithfully recorded the happenings in the Craft in Alberta and brought to the Brethren some of the outstanding articles and papers written by the members within this Jurisdiction. At the same time its editors have read widely in the Masonic literature of the world and have selected some of the best wisdom available for presentation to the Alberta Brethren. In addition it has been a medium in which Grand Masters have sent messages to the Brethren and Masonic events have been publicized.
The Grand Lodge Bulletin is mailed individually to each Mason with their Lodge notices. In earlier days two copies of the Bulletin were sent to Lodge Secretaries for them to make it available. The value of the paper was such that the Grand Lodge decreed that each member should have a copy and this has been a continuing policy. Upon certain occasions this practice has been questioned especially in the era of rising printing and mailing costs. Each suggestion of reducing the size or of limiting the distribution of the Bulletin has not met with favour. Its value in the minds of the Brethren cannot be measured in terms of costs.
THE HIGHER EDUCATION BURSARY FUND
M.W. Bro. R. S. Shepherd, a noted educator in the Province of Alberta, was Grand Master in the year 1957–58 and proposed to the Grand Lodge that a Higher Education Bursary be established. A Committee was appointed to study the proposal and after a great deal of research brought in a report to the Grand Lodge at the 1958 Communication. The report was adopted. It provided:
- The establishment of a Higher Education Bursary Committee.
- The selection before August 31 of not more than four students to receive bursaries. The choice of students was to be based, not only on scholarship, but also on the character and financial need of the student.
- The value of the bursary was set at $500.00 payable half in September and half in January. The Committee may increase the bursary by not more than $200.00 when the need arose.
- The holder of the bursary may select any course at the University of Alberta or at some other institution if the course was not available in Alberta. The bursary holders may be of either sex and the father must be a Mason in good standing. If the father was deceased he must have been in good standing at the time of his death in a lodge within the Jurisdiction provided the Lodge was prepared to sponsor and recommend the application.
- A bursary would normally be granted for one year but maybe renewed for additional years under special circumstances.
- The record of the recipient must be reviewed each year.
- The recipient of a bursary may not receive another University award exceeding $100.00.
- The decision of the Committee is final.
- Application forms may be received from the Grand Lodge Office and must be submitted to the Grand Secretary not later than April 30th of any year.
- The Committee shall consist of two elected for three years, two elected for two years and two elected on one year to start. The Grand Master, the Deputy Grand Master and the Grand Secretary were to be ex officio. Immediately following Grand Lodge the Committee was to elect a Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
- The General Fund of Grand Lodge would contribute $1,000.00, the Relief Fund $1,000.00 and funds were to be deposited in a special account. Surplus funds may be invested.
- The General Fund of Grand Lodge shall bear all expenses incurred in the administration of the Fund.
The following August, the Higher Education Bursary Committee awarded four bursaries. Two of the students resided in Edmonton and received $500.00 each and the remaining whose homes were in Lethbridge received $700.00 each. To meet the growing demand for student assistance the Committee suggested an increase in the contribution from the General Grand Lodge Funds to a total of $2,500.00 and a similar increase from the Relief Fund. It further recommended an increase in 1959 to eight bursaries and in 1960 to twelve bursaries. The provision that the applicants must be sons or daughters of Masons was dropped but a Constituent Lodge must recommend the applicants. It reported a surplus of $2,400.00 in the fund. The report was adopted.
In August 1959 eight bursaries were awarded. The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. D. D. McQueen had appealed to individual Masons to make contributions, these were now deductible from income taxes. A total of $4,432.00 was received in this manner. By August 1960 the total number of bursaries awarded grew to twelve. The committee had received $3,646.50 from Lodge and personal donations and grants to students had risen to $8,200.00.
It was reported at the Annual Communication in 1962 that the Masonic Higher Education Bursaries was now listed in a booklet published by the Alberta Department of Education and distributed to all High Schools. In the Fall of 1961 twelve bursaries were awarded. To that date, since its inception, the fund had paid out $23,500.00 in bursaries. A total of $7,323.90 had been contributed by individuals and Lodges in that year and the Fund now had a balance of $16,690.94. At the Communication in 1962 an amendment to the Constitution was proposed that would increase the per capita tax by $1.00 per annum with this amount going to the Higher Education Bursary Fund. A long discussion followed the proposal of the motion with several Brethren objecting to "legislated benevolence". Some Brethren felt that the Benevolent Capital Fund should be used but it was pointed out that this was a "Trust Fund" and could not be used for current financial purposes. The motion to amend the Constitution was defeated.
The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. W. L. McPhee, in 1963, proclaimed November of 1962 as Higher Education Bursary month and urged Brethren to make contributions to the Fund during that month. This practice has been followed by succeeding Grand Masters and the Grand Lodge Bulletin has been used to give publicity to the fund. Nineteen bursaries were awarded in August 1961. The Higher Education Bursary Committee was now working closely with the Administration of Student Awards at the University of Alberta to avoid a duplication in including students who were receiving financial help from other sources. A total of one hundred and twenty-four applications had been received and the committee requested permission to increase the number of bursaries to the amount that finances would permit. The Committee spent on bursaries no more than the amount of money available to it in a given year. Donations were at $12,625.15.
At the Grand Lodge Communication in 1963 a new set of rules were adopted. The Committee would now consist of six members, two elected each year for a three year term. Ex-officio members were to be the Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master and the Grand Secretary. At the conclusion of each Grand Lodge meeting a chairman and vice-chairman were to be elected. The value of the bursaries was set at $500.00 and when considered necessary another $200.00 may be granted. At the discretion of the committee bursaries may be awarded for additional years if the record of the student merited such consideration. Sixteen bursaries may be awarded and, if finances were available, more could be granted.
The Higher Education Bursary Fund would be made up of contributions from individuals and constituent Lodges plus such additional funds from the General Fund and/or Relief Fund as required to supplement the contributions received. Administrative expenses were a charge on the Grand Lodge General Fund.
In the Fall of 1963 the Higher Education Bursary Committee awarded twenty bursaries. The growth of the University system in Alberta was reflected in the fact that fifteen students were attending University in Edmonton, four in Calgary and one in Lethbridge. The bursaries were for $500.00. The Bursary Committee again used November for Bursary Month, the Grand Lodge Bulletin gave publicity and each Lodge Secretary included a special envelope with the Lodge Notice. Contributions came from New York, California and Victoria, B.C. One brother had left a $500.00 bequest in his will. Donations for the 1963–64 year amounted to $14,607.38.
M.W. Bro. R. S. Sheppard who had initiated the movement to establish the Higher Education Bursary Fund was forced by ill health to discontinue his association with the Committee in June 1965. He was greatly missed but highly respected for his devoted work and Grand Lodge mourned his death on September 4, 1967. R.W. Bro. L. O. Sanders assumed the chairmanship of the Committee. This year sixteen bursaries were awarded to students at University in Edmonton, seven to students attending University in Calgary, three attending the Junior College in Lethbridge, one attending the Junior College in Camrose and one attending the Junior College in Red Deer. The total amount dispersed was $13,600.00. The Universities had formed a committee which met in August to assure that financial aid was distributed with no significant duplication of awards and representatives of the Higher Education Bursary Committee were included. Meetings of this Committee have been held each year since that time. Donations for 1964–65 amounted to $15,963.31. The Higher Education Bursary Fund was self supporting and needed no grants from the funds of Grand Lodge. Some of the applicants were found to be sons and daughters of needy Masons or their widows and the Board of Benevolence agreed that these were cases which the Relief Fund of the Grand Lodge could support. This action freed more money to be used by the Bursary Committee.
There were 173 applications for bursaries in 1960 and the Committee awarded thirty-two bursaries. Donations totalled $15,012.67 and grants to students amounted to $14,250.00. The reserves held in the Higher Education Bursary Account totalled $30,880.27. The Student's Assistance Board had been established by the Government of the Province of Alberta which made loans and grants to students. The purpose of the action by the government was to assure every student the opportunity of an education in a Post Secondary Institution. In some quarters the question arose concerning the necessity of continuing the Higher Education Bursary Fund. The purpose of the fund, it was now argued is to give students an opportunity to graduate from their post secondary school training without shouldering a loan from the government that would have to be paid back after graduation. The need for assistance was evident and the Higher Education Bursary Fund continued with the genera] support of Masons.
The post secondary education system in Alberta grew with the addition of a system of Community Colleges and two Institutes of Technology. The Grand Lodge considered that changing times required the inclusion of these other Post Secondary Schools in the list of institutions to which students could go and receive assistance. Schools of Nursing also received the same approval. Attendance at University was declining and more students were taking advantage of the courses in the non-degree granting schools. This flexibility in the fund made it all the more valid. The system of granting aid to students had become so extensive that the Universities decided to discontinue the annual meeting to consider aid to students and each body granting bursaries were again left to decide which students should be supported. Inflation had forced the increase of bursaries to $700.00 per year.
At the close of the 1979 year $271,086.67 had been donated to the Higher Education Bursary Fund since its commencement in 1957. Added to this were donations of $21,514.48 in 1978 to make a grand total of $292,601.51. The list of memorials and bequests had reached large proportions. In the 1978–79 year, grants to students amounted to $23,994.05 as compared to the first year of operation when four students were assisted and some $2,000.00 was expended. The number of students receiving assistance had risen to thirty-six. The fund, after paying the bursaries reported a balance of $31,498.19.
M.W. Bro. R. S. Sheppard, P.G.M., R.W. Bro. W. O. Sanders, P.D.D.G.M., W. Bro. W. E. Robinson, W. Bro. K. L. Evans and R.W. Bro. L. D. Jeater, P.D.D.G.M. had been chairmen of the hard working committee which had maintained the basic principles of the fund over a quarter of a century. The fund, because of the generosity of the Brethren throughout the Jurisdiction, was firmly established with reserve finances to protect it against any drop in support. The monies received had been handled well with no drain on the finances of the Grand Lodge.
During the years many students had expressed great appreciation for the support they had received. A majority of them had gone on to receive degrees and certificates to enable them to take a significant place in the life of society. The Masonic Higher Education Bursary Fund was evidence of the concern that Masons felt for the general welfare of the society of which Masonry has always been a vital force.
THE MASONIC SPRING WORKSHOP
At the Grand Lodge Communication in 1965, the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. W. J. Collett, who was then Principal of Mount Royal College, Calgary placed the facilities of the College at the disposal of the Grand Lodge for a pre-Grand Lodge study session. The move grew out of the conviction that Masons would benefit from an informal discussion of the basic principles of Freemasonry apart from the formalities essential in a Grand Lodge Communication. The pre-session meeting was very largely attended and a great success. A demand grew to give Masons a continuing opportunity to involve themselves in an intimate and informal opportunity of discussion.
It was on April 22 to 24 in 1966 that, with the Junior Grand Warden, R.W. Bro. C. E. Pinnell, later to be Grand Master, as General Chairman and W. Bro. M. P. Dunford as Secretary that the first Masonic Spring Workshop was held in the Banff School of Fine Arts. Bro. the Rev. Dr. J. Gordon Jones of Toronto was the first theme speaker on the subject "The Mason in the Community." There were no formalities and no titles were used except when the M.W. The Grand Master spoke. Small discussion groups were organized and the Brethren spent the week end talking about Freemasonry. An unexpected large registration of 434 Masons were present.
R.W. Bro. C. E. Pinnell in his report to Grand Lodge said - "Thanks for the successful operation of this Workshop must be extended to many. To my Committee as a whole, I give my most sincere thanks. I am sure you will forgive me if I single out one member as he has worked so hard for the success of this venture, he put in many hours of work, far in excess of office hours, our Secretary, Bro. Mel Dunford. I must also express my thanks to Bro. J. Gordon Jones for his inspiring addresses and lastly to our Grand Master, M.W. Bro. A. J. G. Lauder for giving me this pleasant assignment. "
The Workshop was not a function of Grand Lodge but stood on its own feet and made no demands on the funds of Grand Lodge. It reported to Grand Lodge as a courtesy and for information. The report did not require formal approval.
The Second Masonic Spring Workshop was held the next year in Banff and at the 1968 Grand Lodge Communication R.W. Bro. K. L. Crockett, later the Grand Master, reported to Grand Lodge on the Third Workshop held in Banff on March 29, 30, 31, 1968. He said - "The Spring Workshop has now become an established and continuing institution, a Masonic retreat where Brethren can meet, talk and think on the square without reference to name or rank. Long may it continue to serve the Brethren of the Craft in Alberta." So popular had the Workshop become that twenty Masons from Saskatchewan were in attendance.
At the Grand Lodge Communication in 1968 the Board of General Purposes reported that it had approved terms of reference for the Masonic Spring Workshop. A Planning Committee was authorized which would be appointed by the Grand Master and work under his direction. The Committee would hold office for one year only. It was made clear that this was not a Committee of Grand Lodge but it would report to Grand Lodge as a courtesy.
|C. E. Pinnell||1st||1966||"So You Are a Mason"|
|C. E. Sanders||2nd||1967||"Masonry in Alberta"|
|K. L. Crockett||3rd||1968||"Night, Dawn and Morning"|
|W. E. Bright||4th||1969||"The Meaning of Masonry"|
|J. H. Laycraft||5th||1970||"Leadership"|
|W. A. Milligan||6th||1971||"The Liberty of Masons"|
|R. J. L. Borland||7th||1972||"You, the Mason"|
|A. O. Aspeslet||8th||1973||"Our Lodge"|
|N. J. Senn||9th||1974||"So You're a Mason"|
|A. F. McIntosh||10th||1975||"Masonry and the Mason in a Permissive Society"|
|R. G. Phillips||11th||1976||"Participation is Giving"|
|M. N. MacIver||12th||1977||"Walking Tall"|
|R. H. Jones||13th||1978||"Build a Better Tomorrow"|
|T. S. Walker||14th||1979||"What is Our Masonic Purpose"|
|S. E. Mottershead||15th||1980||"Beyond the Ritual"|
Secretary, M. P. Dunford for all sessions except for the year 1974 when V.W. Bro. A. H. Rogerson acted.
The Masonic Spring Workshop, during its fifteen years of existence has been a source of instruction and inspiration to the Craft at large. Because of limited accommodation the registration for the past few years has been limited to five hundred Alberta Masons. The reputation of the weekend event has spread to other jurisdictions and annually visitors are present from them. Often they have to be accommodated in motels in the town of Banff. It is impossible to put into words the feeling of fraternity that exists. A remarkable balance has been maintained between the number of first time attenders and those who have attended before. Financially the undertaking has maintained itself.
Upon several occasions there have been moves at Grand Lodge Communications to make the Masonic Spring Workshop Committee a committee of the Board of General Purposes. The proposal has found little support because the Brethren are convinced that independence and informality are the foundations of its success. Each year the Grand Master approves the appointment of the General Chairman and the committee. The Workshop thus retains its vital but informal link with the Grand Lodge.
THE INTER-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE
The Inter-Provincial Conference of the Officers of the Four Western Jurisdictions had its beginnings in the year 1935 when the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. V. A. Bowes invited the Grand Masters and the Grand Secretaries of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia to meet in Calgary on May 9 and 10, 1935. R.W. Bro. Ireland, later Grand Master, acted as Secretary for this meeting. For the next five years meetings were held at irregular intervals. M.W. Bro. G. F. Ellis, Grand Master in 1941–42 called together the group for a more formal meeting which met in the Mount Royal Hotel in Banff on September 26 and 27, 1941 with R.W. Bro. W. Ireland, now Junior Grand Warden, acting as Secretary. This meeting agreed that the conference should be an annual event. The meeting became popularly known as the Banff Conference and met again in September 1942 with M.W. Bro. F. P. Galbraith, Grand Master as the President and M.W. Bro. G. F. Ellis, P.G.M. acting as Secretary. The Presidents were selected from each Province in turn. M.W. Bro. Ellis continued as the Secretary until 1957 when the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Alberta, R.W. Bro. E. H. Rivers assumed that post until he retired and R.W. Bro. M. P. Dunford replaced him.
Cascade Lodge No. 5 of Banff served as the host Lodge and the first session of each Conference was held at a regular meeting of the Lodge when all the Grand Officers were received in due form. When the Lodge closed a theme address was presented and a social period followed. The Conference then met for two days in a conference room of a hotel. It was usual for several papers to be presented with discussion following.
The quality of the papers delivered and the discussions were usually of very high quality and the reputation of the Banff Conference spread. Grand Officers from neighbouring United States Jurisdictions were welcomed to the Conference and it assumed an International Status. The subjects were many and varied but invariably they were concerned with the philosophy and the problems of Freemasonry. Attendance was not limited to Senior Grand Lodge Officers and many visitors from each jurisdiction attended from time to time.
The Fortieth Annual Banff Conference was held in September 1979. It has been a unifying and inspirational force over all these years and the Grand Lodge of Alberta, as the host Grand Lodge, has continued to give leadership and continuity to this significant gathering. Each year the Conference has published a record of Proceedings containing verbatim accounts of the papers delivered and the discussions that followed. The Proceedings contain a wealth of Masonic Research and Education.
THE CONFERENCE OF GRAND AND DISTRICT GRAND LODGES OF CANADA
The Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario in the year 1937 called together representatives from all the Grand Lodges in Canada in order to establish a feeling of unity amongst all the Grand and District Grand Lodges in Canada. It acted as the host for the meeting which was a valuable means of discussion and fellowship. The idea appealed to the various Grand Lodges and the meetings were continued on a biennia] basis. Normally, from Alberta, the Grand Master and the Deputy Grand Master with the Grand Secretary attended.
In the year 1979 the Sixteenth Biennial Conference was held from February 14 to 16 in St. John, New Brunswick. It was attended by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. R. L. Costigan, the Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Bro. W. N. Love and the Grand Secretary, R.W. Bro. M. P. Dunford. At that meeting R.W. Bro. W. N. Love, now the Grand Master, delivered a well received paper.
The record of proceedings of this Biennial Conference is published each year and has been available to Lodges for their study. The conference has been a source of inspiration and fellowship over all the years of its existence.
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
While there were many opportunities for the Grand Lodge Officers to engage in Research and Education through the various meetings that they attended the continuing problem in the Grand Lodge of Alberta was to inspire the constituent Lodges to involve themselves in similar activities. The constant danger was that constituent Lodges, concerned as they must be with their own activities, would overlook the basic reason for the creation of Masonic Lodges, namely to be informed of the basic principles and practices of the Order.
At the Fifty-third Annual Communication in 1958 the Research and Education Committee of Grand Lodge, whose chairman was M.W. Bro. Peter Dawson, P.G.M. reported a year of inactivity. He said that in 1951 an appeal was made through the Grand Lodge Bulletin for volunteers to form a panel of speakers who would visit Lodges and speak on Masonic Subjects. There was very little response to the suggestion and Lodges were left to work out their own programs of Masonic education. M.W. Bro. Dawson posed the following questions:
- Has your Lodge a library? If so what material does it contain?
- Would your Lodge be willing to spend a small sum of money and have the Committee provide material?
- Has your Lodge some suggestions to make regarding the work of the Committee?
Reference was also made to the material that was available in the Grand Lodge Library.
This report produced very little action and in his next report M.W. Bro. Dawson suggested that each District have its own committee to work in cooperation with the Grand Lodge Committee.
From that point on the work of the Committee on Research and Education began to increase and it became necessary to have frequent meetings of the body. Arrangements were made to have the Grand Lodge Library open in the evening for Brethren who wished to do research. The Mentor Plan was introduced to help with the instruction of candidates for the various degrees. As secular influences commenced to insinuate themselves into constituent Lodge proceedings more and more efforts were made to place emphasis on basic principles. More speakers became available for Lodge meetings. The Districts, through their own committees, cooperated with the Grand Lodge Committee to make Masonic Education as wide spread as possible. Attention became centred not only on Lodge meetings but also on the periods of refreshment and on special Lodge events. Repeatedly the Committee on Research and Education found it necessary to assert that Masonry should be the subject at all periods of refreshment and dangerous practices of non-Masonic entertainment must be avoided.
In 1978, V.W. Bro. H. L. Kalbfleisch, chairman of the Committee for many years, reported that the committee held seven meetings with an average attendance of twelve. Seventeen out of twenty districts reported activity in Research and Education. He says "There's probably more interest and variety in Research and Education Programs in Alberta than I can recall in the fifteen years that I have served on the committee. This is a direct result of the efforts put forth by dedicated Research and Education representatives at both Lodge and District levels. Some of the projects now underway are:
- Travelling Gavels.
- Special Degree teams.
- Masonic Choirs.
- Lodge Libraries.
- "Most Visits" Trophies.
- Question Boxes.
- Floor work demonstrations.
- Film strips.
- Mini Workshops.
W. Bro. P. K. Terriff became chairman of the Committee in 1978 and was requested by the Grand Master to begin work to acquaint the Brethren with the Constitution.
"Mini Workshops" mentioned above have become increasingly popular. These are district projects where programs similar to the Banff Spring Workshop are organized.
The Grand Lodge Library has been a vital part of the education program of Grand Lodge. The Library contains a wide selection of books on Freemasonry and a number of encyclopedias. It houses records of proceedings from a large number of Grand Lodges. Monthly publications from many Masonic organizations are available for Brethren to read. Recently the Grand Lodge has undertaken a project to catalogue and index the materials in the library. The Grand Secretary has acted as the Grand Librarian. Materials are not only available for research in the Library itself but will also be loaned to Brethren on request. One of the features of the Masonic Spring Workshop has been the book room where Brethren may become familiar with new publications and purchase them if they so desire.