Return of PDDGM Apron to St. Andrew’s Lodge

What follows is the presentation made by R.W. Bro. Michael A. Litvak, District Deputy Grand Master, Toronto Don Valley District on May 17, 2011 during his Official Visit to St. Andrew’s Lodge.

WM, Distinguished Guests Seated at the Head Table, Brethren, and especially W. Bro. Sleightholm, on behalf of M.W. Bro. Raymond S.J. Daniels, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, V.W. Bro. David Fernandes, Grand Steward, V.W. Bro. Ted Wright, Grand Steward, I thank you for your kind and heartfelt toast to the Grand Lodge.

Brethren, I think that most of you know that this is a very exciting evening as I have in my possession some very old Regalia that I wish to present to the Lodge.  However, you didn’t really think that I would make such a presentation without providing you with a wonderful tale of nepotism, intrigue, success and acrimony, all Masonic style!

St. Andrew’s Lodge was instituted in 1822 and all of the Officers of the Lodge, numbered No. 1 in the Second Provincial Grand Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England were either members of the government of Upper Canada or high ranking civil servants.  Bro. Thomas Ridout was its first Senior Warden; he was the Surveyor General of Upper Canada from 1810 until his death in 1829.  Ridout had two sons who became prominent members of St. Andrew’s Lodge, George and Thomas Gibbs, who became WM in 1840.

Because of some of the reticence to join the new Grand Lodge of Canada in 1855, St. Andrew’s lagged a bit behind and finally did join this new Grand Lodge, which explains how it became No. 16 on the Grand Register.  However, it was dubbed the “Mother Lodge of York and Toronto” by M.W. Bro. John Ross Robertson as it directly spawned Zetland, Ionic, Ashlar and Harmony Lodges.

Also of interest to your own W. Bro. Ken Turton, the Lodge met for a period of five years during the 1840’s in an edifice known as Turton’s Buildings on King Street near Bay.  Perhaps there is another branch of research you may wish to undertake.

A man named Frederic W. Cumberland, who hailed from Algoma and had become well known as a railroad executive married a relative of Thomas Ridout and the couple eventually took up residence in York (now Toronto).  Cumberland somehow moved into architecture and established his own firm designing churches and university buildings.  Bro. Cumberland eventually became WM of St. Andrew’s Lodge rising to DDGM in 1858 when R.W. Bro. Thomas Gibbs Ridout was DGM.  For reasons I cannot uncover, Ridout never became Grand Master.

Enter the hero of our story!  William George Storm was born in Yorkshire, England in 1826.  The family moved to York in 1830 where his father continued his avocation as a builder.  William served his apprenticeship as an architect and, in 1850, he was given a job in the offices of F.W. Cumberland preparing drawings for St. James’ Cathedral.  Now Masonic influence must have been great for William was initiated into St. Andrew’s Lodge on June 11, 1850.  Bro. Storm rose in prominence both as an architect and as a Mason.  By 1852, Cumberland had offered him a partnership with the firm now known as Cumberland + Storm.  Storm became the first president of the Architectural Society. Normally, the elder partner receives credit for designs, but Storm proved to be such a skilled architect that he played an increasing part in the construction of these buildings.  Among those that were designed by Cumberland + Storm were St. James’ Cathedral, Osgoode Hall, University College and the Observatory at University of Toronto.  In 1854, both Cumberland and Storm gave a gift of a full set of Working Tools to the Lodge.  I should be interested to know if these are the ones still in use today.  He served this Lodge as WM in 1858 and again in 1859.  He then was appointed V.W. Bro. Storm in late 1859 becoming Grand Superintendant of the Works.  Remember that this was at the same that R.W. Bros. Ridout and Cumberland were DGM and DDGM, respectively.  Shall we call this a form of nepotism or favouritism, who knows?

In 1861, at Grand Lodge Communication, R.W. Bro. Storm was elected DDGM, Toronto District and it is his Regalia that I am so proud to be able to present to the Lodge this evening.  R.W. Bro. Storm also became the founder and first principal officer of the first encampment of the Knights Templar in Toronto.

It is quite fascinating to note that during this period, some very well known names passed through the portals of St. Andrew’s Lodge.  Of note are Sir Sanford Fleming (developer of the time zones), Norman Bethune (the grandfather of Dr. Norman Bethune), Sir Casimir Gzowski renowned engineer and relative of journalist Peter Gzowski, John Howard, donor of the land that is now High Park and William Gooderham, famed distiller who served the Lodge for 70 years.

Also interesting to note is the fact that St. Andrew’s Lodge will now hold its Installation in June.  An innovation?  Hardly, as records indicate that Installations occurred at the Festival of St. John the Baptist, in June!

By 1871, there was terrible acrimony between Cumberland and Storm and the partnership suffered dissolution.

After the breakup of the firm, Storm suffered both ill health and professionally.  He was given smaller projects designing schools one of which was the Sackville School, which remains today as a community centre.  However, his acumen granted him the opportunity to design two projects that are today, his crowning achievements.  One is Victoria College at University of Toronto and the other is the magnificent St. Andrew’s Church on Simcoe Street across from Roy Thomson Hall.  R.W. Bro. Storm was made an honorary life member of St. Andrew’s Lodge in 1886 and died suddenly of a stroke passing to the Grand Lodge Above on August 8, 1892.

So where does that bring us today and how we came to be in the possession of his regalia?  We know that Storm married in 1882 at the age of 55 to a woman aged 27.  We do not have any information as to offspring.

Two years ago, a sculptor by the name of Angus Bungay who resides in Vancouver and coincidentally includes much symbolism in his works acquired this regalia at, of all things, a garage sale!  Because he purchases many of these types of items for later use and inspiration, it lay untouched for much of this time.  Recently, he became intrigued with it and feeling that it had some importance began a search.  Where else to begin but the internet?  Having found Storm’s name associated with the design of Osgoode Hall, he contacted the Law Society who gave him direction to contact Freemasonry in general.  Mr. Bungay found our website, www.tdvmasons.org, and subsequently our historian, Bro. William Thomson.  He began communication with Bro. Thomson and included some photographs of the regalia.  Bro. Thomson, sensing that this might be a find contacted Grand Lodge whereupon it was determined that it might not be in the best condition or have much significance.  With thanks to Bro. Thomson, and as a courtesy to my office, I became included in the communications at about this point.  Fortuitously, I was planning a business trip to western Canada and quickly offered to retrieve said regalia while in Vancouver.  We contacted W. Bro. Montgomerie, who equally as quickly accepted noting that a piece of history would finally come home to St. Andrew’s Lodge.

On March 24, I had the most wonderful meeting with Mr. Bungay and his wife, who is a painter.  We spoke for over two hours about Freemasonry, his art and some of the symbols he employs.  I even pointed out to him that one of his sculptures employed the cornucopia and explained its significance. Upon my departure, Mr. Bungay expressed that a friend had recently become a Mason that he was now potentially interested in joining the Craft.

Brethren, I know that this has been a bit longer than my usual presentations, but I felt that it was important to give proper explanation to it.  The story cannot end there.  It is my challenge to the Brethren of St. Andrew’s Lodge to take up the story from here.  Since we know little of Storm’s family life, we have no concept of how this regalia came to reside in Vancouver.  Mr. Bungay asked the owner of the home where he bought it and was told it was there when the seller purchased his home.  So, WM it is with pride and humility that I now repatriate this regalia to you and perhaps we can do this again in open Lodge for the benefit of those Brethren who have not joined us for dinner.

Would W. Bro. Montgomerie, W. Bro. Sleightholm, Lodge Historian and Bro. Thomson, District Historian please join me as we unveil these pieces of history for the brethren of St. Andrew’s Lodge?

Closing Quote in Lodge:

 Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.
W. Edwards Deming