Toronto West and its Antecedents

By Michael Jenkyns, FCF, WM (1999-2000 & 2005-06), Grand Historian 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 [February 2012. Rev: June 2015.]

Toronto, in the twenty-first century, is not only the largest city in Canada and fifth largest in North America, but also one of the largest cities in the world. From its beginnings as an Indian meeting place at the start of a water and overland link between lakes Ontario and Huron, to a French fur trading post named Fort Rouillé
and as the town of York, the area became the second capital of Upper Canada in 1793 and grew to about 700 inhabitants at the outbreak of war in 1812. Growth was rapid and continued and eventually surrounding areas would be established and linked to the core of Toronto (as York had become) and eventually the cities of
Toronto, North York, Scarborough, York, Etobicoke would amalgamate into the Greater Toronto Area in 1998.

Toronto’s population would increase from 30,000 (1851) to 150,000 (1891) to 2.4 million (1998) to about 3.3 million today (2012). Growth in Freemasonry very much paralleled population growth of the future GTA. One of the decisions made with the formation of the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Canada in 1855, was the grouping of lodges into Districts, headed by a District Deputy Grand Master as the personal representative of the Grand Master. Amongst its many responsibilities the district organization was intended to ensure standardization of ritual working as well as a control of administration as laid down in Grand Lodge’s Constitution.

In July 2006, the Toronto West District was formed with twenty-two Lodges and 2,449 members as one of five districts covering the Greater Toronto Area. Immediately prior to this time (1960-2006) there had been seven districts (Toronto Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) covering the Toronto area. Toronto West’s twenty-two
Lodges brought together a collective history which actually straddled many more lodges given a series of earlier amalgamations. The oldest Lodge in the new District, Ionic 229, Toronto, dates from May 11, 1870.

By 2011 the District was still working with 22 Lodges but its membership had declined to 2,129, reflecting a global decline in craft membership.

  • 1855-1856

    Western District came to be...

    On October 10, 1855, the Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Canada came into being in Hamilton, Ontario, formed by representatives of forty-one Lodges. For ease of administration the jurisdiction was divided into three Districts and the first District Deputy Grand Masters were elected and installed on October 11, 1855:

    • Western District - R. W . Bro. William Combyn Stephens of Acacia Lodge (now No. 61 GRC),
    Hamilton (the rank of Honorary Grand Master would be conferred on him in 1858);
    • Central District - R. W . Bro. William Benjamin Simpson of Sussex Lodge (now No. 5), Brockville;
    • Eastern District - R. W . Bro. William Eaden (Eadon) of Harington Lodge (No. 49 GRC, defunct 1880) of Quebec City for Eastern District.

  • 1898-1923

    Toronto West District No. 11

    Curran McK. Morrison of Ashlar 247, Toronto elected for 1898-99 (20 Lodges: #22, 54, 65, 86, 98, 118, 156, 229, 247, 265, 292, 305, 311, 326, 346, 356, 369, 384, 426, 438). William David McPherson, KC of Zetland 326, Toronto elected for 1899-1900 (20 Lodges: no change). William H. McFadden of Ionic 229, Brampton elected for 1900-01 (20 Lodges: no change). J. W. St. John of Alpha 384, Toronto elected for 1901-02 (20 Lodges: no change). Alfred F. Webster, MD of Ashlar 247, Toronto elected for 1902-03 (20 Lodges: no change). J Edward Francis of Patterson 265, Thornhill elected for 1903-04 (20 Lodges: no change). Edward J. B. Duncan of Occident 346, Toronto elected for 1904-05 (21 Lodges: #22, 54, 65, 86, 98, 118, 156, 229, 247, 265, 292, 305, 311, 326, 346, 356, 369, 384, 426, 438, 468). E. M. Carleton of Wilson 86, Toronto elected for 1905-06 (22 Lodges: #22, 54, 65, 86, 98, 118, 156, 229, 247, 265, 292, 305, 311, 326, 346, 356, 369, 384, 426, 438, 468, 474). A. J. Anderson of Stanley 426, Toronto Junction elected for 1906-07 (22 Lodges: no change). William H. Shaw of Harmony 438, Toronto elected for 1907-08 (23 Lodges: #22, 54, 65, 86, 98, 118, 156, 229, 247, 265, 292, 305, 311, 326, 346, 356, 369, 384, 426, 438, 468, 474, 481). James Haywood of Zetland 326, Toronto elected for 1908-09 (23 Lodges: no change). Wilson Wilbey of Humber 305, W eston elected for 1909-10 (23 Lodges: no change). Alonzo Johnston Brown of York 156, Eglinton elected for 1910-11 (24 Lodges: #22, 54, 65, 86, 98, 118, 156, 229, 247, 265, 292, 305, 311, 326, 346, 356, 369, 384, 426, 438, 468, 474, 481, 496). H. C. Scully of Ashlar 384, Toronto elected for 1911-12 (24 Lodges: no change). J. B. McLean of Vaughan 54, Maple elected for 1912-13 (25 Lodges: #22, 54, 65, Interestingly Victoria 474 d 3 is appears for two years and then reappears in Toronto West 11 District 8. 86, 98, 118, 156, 229, 247, 265, 292, 305, 311, 326, 346, 356, 369, 384, 426, 438, 468, 474, 481, 496, 501). John Stephens of Corinthian 481, Toronto elected for 1913-14 (27 Lodges: #22, 54, 65, 86, 98, 118, 156, 229, 247, 265, 292, 305, 311, 326, 346, 356, 369, 384, 426, 438, 468, 474, 481, 496, 501, 510, 514). George H. Smith of Zetland 326, Toronto elected for 1914-15 (30 Lodges: #22, 54, 65, 86, 98, 118, 156, 229, 247, 265, 292, 305, 311, 326, 346, 356, 369, 384, 426, 438, 468, 474, 481, 496, 501, 510, 514, 522, 524, 525). James Robertson Fallis of Ionic 229, Brampton elected for 1915-16 (30 Lodges: no change). In the restructuring of Districts in 1916, Toronto West District No. 11 was affected with the loss of eleven Lodges (#86, 118, 156, 247, 265, 292, 326, 438, 4743, 481, 514) and the addition of three (# 367, 410). John W. Lawrence of Occident 346, Toronto elected for 1916-17 (21 Lodges: #98, 229, 305, 311, 346, 356, 367, 369, 384, 410, 426, 468, 496, 501, 510, 522, 524, 525, 531, 533). Allan Burlin Rice of Mimico 369, Toronto elected for 1917-18 (22 Lodges: #98, 229, 305, 311, 346, 356, 367, 369, 384, 410, 426, 468, 474, 496, 501, 510, 522, 524, 525, 531, 533, 537). John B. Brennan of St. George 367, Toronto elected for 1918-19 (23 Lodges: #98, 229, 305, 311, 346, 356, 367, 369, 384, 410, 426, 468, 474, 496, 501, 510, 522, 524, 525, 531, 533, 537, 541, 548). Thomas Emerson Bull, MD of Mimico 369, Lambton Mills elected for 1919-20 (23 Lodges: no change). George M. Hermiston of High Park 331, Toronto elected for 1920-21 (27 Lodges: #98, 229, 305, 311, 346, 356, 367, 369, 384, 410, 426, 468, 474, 496, 501, 510, 522, 524, 525, 531, 533, 537, 541, 548, 565, 566, 572). Roderick Bernard Dargavel of St. George 367, Toronto elected for 1921-22 (31 Lodges: #98, 229, 305, 311, 346, 356, 367, 369, 384, 410, 426, 468, 474, 496, 501, 510, 522, 524, 525, 531, 533, 537, 541, 548, 565, 566, 572, 575, 582, 583, 587). James A. Slade of True Blue 98, Bolton elected for 1922-23 (35 Lodges: #98, 229, 305, 311, 346, 356, 367, 369, 384, 410, 426, 468, 474, 496, 501, 510, 522, 524, 525, 531, 533, 537, 541, 548, 565, 566, 572, 575, 582, 583, 587, 599, 600, 605, 606).

  • 1922-1923

    A Major Review

    A major review and revision of Districts was presented to Grand Lodge at the 69th Annual Communication (July 16-17, 1924, Toronto) which would see the 563 Lodges organized into 32 Districts—an increase of 4 Districts: Chatham, Sarnia, St. Thomas and W indsor Districts. In addition to these four new districts, Hamilton A and Hamilton B would be formed out of the old Hamilton District and Toronto A, B, C and D would emerge out of the old Toronto West, East and Centre districts. In the new post-1923 listings the districts are listed alphabetically without any regard for seniority. Two Lodges—Oriental No. 181 and Vienna No. 237—requested that they be permitted to remain with their district at the time (Wilson District) due to their historical relationship and this was agreed by Grand Lodge.

  • 1954-1955

    Toronto district spilt

    Toronto District A was split into two with effect from 1955: Toronto District A-1 and Toronto District A-2. Edward J. Langley of Mississauga 524, Port Credit elected for 1955-56 (17 Lodges: #229, 356, 426, 474, 501, 524, 525, 548, 565, 566, 619, 630, 632, 640, 645, 652, 674). James W. Grimmon of Mississauga 524, Port Credit elected for 1956-57 (18 Lodges: #229, 356, 426, 474, 501, 524, 525, 548, 565, 566, 619, 630, 632, 640, 645, 652, 674, 685). John D. W. Cumberland of Anthony Sayer 640, Toronto elected for 1957-58 (19 Lodges: #229, 356, 426, 474, 501, 524, 525, 548, 565, 566, 619, 630, 632, 640, 645, 652, 674, 685, 689). Glenford Weir Carrow of Victoria 474, Toronto elected for 1958-59 (19 Lodges: no change). Edwin A. Rowe of The General Mercer 548, Toronto elected for 1959-60 (19 Lodges: no change). At the 104th Annual Communication of Grand Lodge (July 15-16, 1959, Toronto), a special report on the redesignation of the six Toronto districts was submitted and approved and the designations were changed as follows with effect as of the Annual Communication (July) 1960 : Toronto District A-1 to become Toronto District 1; Toronto District A-2 to become Toronto District 2; Toronto District B-1 to become Toronto District 3; Toronto District B-2 to become Toronto District 4; Toronto District C to become Toronto District 5; 11 unallocated for Toronto District 6; and Toronto District D to become Toronto District 7.

Grand Lodge 2018-2019

Grand Master:
M.W. Bro. Paul E. Todd
Deputy Grand Master:
R.W. Bro. David J. Cameron
Grand Secretary:
M.W. Bro. D. Garry Dowling

District Deputy Grand Master:
R.W. Bro. Kevin J. Furlong
District Secretary:
W. Bro. Bryce Graham

Toronto West
Grand Lodge
Officers 2018-2019


Members of the Board
R.W. Bro. Charles A. Woods
West Gate No.734
Chairman – Public Awareness

R.W. Bro. David Armstrong
Lakeshore No.645
Chairman – Cornerstone

R.W. Bro. George M. Warner
West Gate No.734
Chairman – Lodge Resources

R.W. Bro. Howard Adams
Mississauga No.524
Chairman – Brock U. Partnership


Grand Stewards
V.W. Bro. Matwinder S. Phull
Unity No.710

V.W. Bro. Frank P. Franklin
West Gate No.734


Team Leader – GL Books Sales
V.W. Bro. Anthony Duerden
West Gate No.734


Team Leader – Technical
W. Bro. Milan Cobonov
The General Mercer No.548