Muskoka Ontario Masonic Lodge Building

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Muskoka Ontario Masonic Lodge Building
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Muskoka Lodge No. 360 A.F.&A.M. – G.R.C. 1977 – 1977.

Muskoka Lodge No. 360 A.F.&A.M. – G.R.C. 1977 – 1977.

Long Description:
The Golden Rule Lodge meets the second Monday of each month, from October – Tuesday following Thanksgiving Monday, 7:30 pm at 235 Muskoka Road

The history of the Muskoka – Parry Sound District:


The 1850’s were a decade of high immigration to Ontario, and a time of extensive railway development, opening up the country to settlers. As the available farm land in southern Ontario was taken up, settlers in the 1860’s and 1870’s turned their attention to Muskoka and Parry Sound regions. The settlers, mostly from the British Isles, brought with them their cultural background, their social activities, and social connections. Many had Masonic backgrounds and it was inevitable that they, finding themselves denied the privilege of assembly which a local lodge affords, should set about creating those facilities.

In 1876, Granite Lodge #352, Parry Sound, was the first of our District Lodges to obtain a charter. The first Master was R. W. Bro. R. Nettleton and was a part of Toronto District.

Muskoka Lodge #360, Bracebridge, was chartered in 1877. They too were a part of Toronto District. The first Master was W. Bro. I. Huber.

In 1878 the Districts were numbered and our District became Toronto #8.

In 1879, Unity Lodge #376, Huntsville , obtained its charter under their first Master, W. Bro. (Rev.) W. M. Tooke.

The same year, Georgian District #9 was formed and the three Lodges became a part of it.

In 1885, Golden Rule Lodge #409, Gravenhurst, was chartered, with W. Bro. W. B. Irving as their first Master. Now we were four.

… Fire severely damaged the Muskoka Lodge room and the furniture in 1886.

In 1889, Strong Lodge #423, Sundridge, was given their charter and the first Master was W. Bro. Bernard Wickett. Now we were five.

Georgian District #9 became Nipissing District #18 in 1892. The first DDGM was R. W. Bro. I. Huber of Muskoka Lodge #360.

We were soon to be joined by Algonquin Lodge #434, Emsdale in 1895. W. Bro. Wm. A. Killpatrick was their first Master. Now we were six.

In 1897, Powassan Lodge #443, Powassan, received its charter with W. Bro. Wm Carmichael as the first Master. Now we were seven.

The District was completed in 1902 when Corona Lodge #454, Burks Falls, was given it’s charter. W. Bro. R.J. Watson was the first Master.

The minutes of the annual district meeting on July 16, 1903 have the following entry. " While we were swimming, the northern and newer part of Nipissing District #18 stole our name, our number and our clothes; now the southern and older part of it is Muskoka District #19".
R.W. Bro. A. J. Whitby of Strong Lodge was the first DDGM.

… In 1906, the Corona Lodge room and contents were totally destroyed by fire, with no insurance. They worked under dispensation till a suitable room could be procured wholly for their own use.

It took six ballots to elect a DDGM at the 1909 annual meeting perhaps leading to the present practice of each lodge taking its turn. This was discussed at the 1924 annual meeting.

… On March 10, 1911, the new Corona Lodge room was dedicated. About a year later, on Apr. 24, 1912 the Algonquin Lodge was totally destroyed by fire -some insurance.

Lodges of instruction were a regular part of District activities. The format of one held in Huntsville in 1913, and another held in Bracebridge in 1921, indicate that our former brethren had stamina and dedication. The first session was from about 2:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. then a break for refreshments. Then an evening session from 7:15 to 10. 30 p.m. Then a banquet starting at 11:15 p.m. with the usual toasts and entertainment. Each District Lodge took a part in presenting the work.

At the official visit of the DDGM to Golden Rule Lodge #409, in Feb. 1907, the work of the evening consisted of two passings and one raising. A busy night!

On May 1, 1916, the Granite Lodge building was sold. The Lodge remaining as tenants. On June 1, 1922, Granite Lodge bought the building back and renovated it at a cost of ,000.

At the 1921 annual meeting, the following membership information was submitted: Granite 248; Muskoka 108; Unity 153; Golden Rule 128; Strong 93; Algonquin 115; Powassan 69; Corona 102.

Total District membership was 1018 which is not far from the District membership at this time.

During 1921 there were 91 initiations in the District, 27 of which were done by Unity Lodge.

"On June 16, 1921 Golden Rule Lodge acquired a new and beautiful name and new Lodge building facilities." ( I need help on this. Did Golden Rule Lodge have a different name early in it’s history? )

We almost became a District of nine lodges. At the 1920 annual meeting, "R.W. Bro. Clipshaw read a report of an investigation into a petition of Bala and Port Carling Brethren re; forming a new Lodge to be known as Moore Falls Lodge. No further mention of this proposed Lodge is made.

In 1925 reference is made to an ‘enlarged, remodelled and greatly improved Muskoka Lodge room and banquet room.’

In 1928, R.W. Bro. Wilson was appointed permanent custodian of the District minute book.

R.W. Bro. Buret of Corona Lodge informed the 1933 annual meeting "He understood that Nipissing District was contemplating making an effort to have Powassan Lodge transferred to that District. W.Bro. Paul of Powassan assured the meeting that their Lodge had no intention of leaving Muskoka District. He was heavily applauded by the delegates present."

This same proposal was made regarding changes in District composition in 1988. Protests from Sister Lodges in our District and other individual protests to the Grand Lodge were made, and in 1989, R.W. Bro. Bev Roberts expressed his thanks that Powassan was to remain in our District. There was, and is, a lot of loyalty and fraternal brotherhood in our District.

At the 1934 annual meeting it was moved that the name of our District be changed from Muskoka District #19 to Parry Sound and Muskoka District. It was carried. This was rescinded at the 1935 meeting but no reasons appear in the minute book.

In 1936 and 1937, the formation of a Past Masters Association in our District was proposed.

In 1942, it was proposed again and a committee formed. At the 1943 annual meeting, the DDGM reported that the Past Masters, Masters and Wardens Association had been formed. "R.W. Bro Hayward read the history of the formation of the Association which he had incorporated in the District history." This District history book was referred to at the 1950 meeting. The need to keep an up-to-date history of the District is mentioned in many annual meeting minutes. R.W. Bro. Preston Gerhart took over as District historian in 1954. Does anyone know where these records are now?

In 1944, R.W. Bro. Thomas Millest, of Huntsville, the father of Bro. Jim Millest, holder of the William Mercer Wilson medal, was elected as District Deputy Grand Master.

In 1953, R.W. Bro. Stanley Anderson of Powassan Lodge, (who just recently passed away), was elected as DDGM.

In 1955, Grand Lodge met at the coliseum at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. "as this was our one hundredth communication, the Grand Lodge opened at three o’clock on the Sunday afternoon with a giant church service in front of the grandstand. Dr. Harold Young was the speaker, the Bishop of Algoma, the Right Rev. W. L. Wright assisting. The grandstand was filled to overflowing."

In 1956, "Bro. Mckinley spoke regarding changing the name of Muskoka District to read Muskoka-Parry Sound or Parry Sound -Muskoka District, and a very interesting discussion of the subject followed" (I’ll bet it did.) This was referred to the Grand Master.

In 1957, the name change was again discussed and referred to the Past Masters, Masters and Wardens Association.

In 1958, the name change subject was referred to the DDGM to work with the Grand Lodge and report to the 1959 meeting.

In 1959, the annual meeting adopted the name "Muskoka-Parry Sound District" as authorized by Grand Lodge.

In 1969 the per capita levy for the expenses of the DDGM was increased by 66 2/3%………from $.15 to $.25.

Up to 1971, banquet tickets for the official visits were charged to the Lodges. It was recommended to the Past Masters , Masters and Wardens Assn. that the tickets should be charged to each member.

Up to 1973, Grand Lodge had met at different cities in the jurisdiction for the annual communication. In 1973 it was held at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto and has met there since that time.

The above District History was compiled and presented by V.W. Bro. Gordon Finbow, of Unity Lodge No. 376, Huntsville.
We thank him for allowing us to place it on the Internet as he so eloquently had delivered it to the brethren of the District.

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