History of St. Johns Lodge #75

HISTORY OF ST. JOHNS LODGE #75

The preliminary meeting leading up to the formation of St. John’s Lodge was convened by Bro. George B. Wyllie, a member of St. Andrews Lodge, on the evening of Tuesday, November 8th, 1856 (AL 5856).  A petition was prepared addressed to the Most Worship­ful the Grand Master of the United Fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Eng­land, praying for a warrant authorizing a lodge to be known as St. Johns Lodge to meet at Toronto, Canada West.

A warrant having been issued, by-laws and organization were completed on the 1st of December, 1856 and the lodge was consecrated December 5th, 1856 as St. Johns Lodge No. 55 on the Provincial Register.  W. Bro. Wyllie be­came our first Worshipful Master and the dean of all our past Masters.

Originally our Lodge met in rooms over St. Lawrence Market and became known as the “Merchants Lodge” although today its lengthy membership lists include almost every trade, business, occupation and profession.

Shortly after the Grand Lodge of Canada was formed, our lodge was assigned its present number, 75 on the grand Register.

In 1858, nine years before Confederation closed Canada’s colonial days, the lodge moved its quarters to a hall on Toronto Street where it continued to meet and prosper until 1898 when it removed its quarters to the Temple Building at Bay and Richmond Streets.

In 1918, upon the building of the Masonic Temple at 888 Yonge St, it found its home for the next 76 years.  In 1994, St Johns moved to Scarborough Temple at 2201 Ellesmere Rd.

It is noteworthy that our membership not infrequently carries through three genera­tions of the same family.  Therein Masonic vitality is truly exemplified as a progressive science recognizing the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man and the duties of Truth, of Honour, of Virtue.

The lodge in its second year voted £25 for the purchase of a Masonic library, afterwards merged with the library of St. Andrew’s Lodge.  Many of the old books now in the York and Scarborough Temple libraries still bear the name of this lodge.

For many years, benevolent expenditures exceeded those for refreshment and entertain­ment.  In 1897 the lodge endowed a cot at the Sick Children’s Hospital, known as the Jub­ilee Cot, in honour of the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and in 1921 another, in perpetuity, at the Home for Incurable Children in honour of our Grand Master, Colonel W. R. Ponton, a very great Mason.

Our roster contains the names of one of the gallant 600 at Balaclava, as well as veterans of the North-West Rebellion and the First and Second World Wars; names of more than one street in Toronto commemorate members of this lodge who reached prominence in the public service.

Our departed brethren have served mankind in every sphere of life: med­icine, the public service, the Bench, the pulpit, indeed every department of civil life, and above and beyond these things, our craft.

Commencing at a time when our fathers were hewing homes out of the wilderness, St. Johns Lodge has formed an active link with early days in Canada.  It has seen great changes in ways of life and thought, in Government and politics, in business and social life, in war and in peace.

Throughout its history the ‘Merchants’ Lodge’ has stead­fastly maintained the loftiest principles of the craft.

It behooves us to recognize with gratitude our debt to those, who, having gone before, handed down a great heritage.  May we hand to posterity a St. Johns Lodge worthy of the same love and respect, which we are so proud to tender today.