History of Grand Lodge

The brief account below has been pulled from an address delivered by R. W. BRO. DEWOLF SMITH on the Occasion of the Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Introduction of Freemasonry into the Province of British Columbia, Victoria, B. C. 14th December 1909. For the complete Address please feel free to download the following article “ADDRESS DELIVERED BY R. W. BRO. DEWOLF SMITH”.


The first permanent settlement was that of Victoria, which was founded in 1843, when it was considered advisable by the Hudson’s Bay Company to establish a headquarters on what would probably be British territory.


The first gathering of Freemasons in British Columbia of which we have any record was held on the 6th of September, 1859. It was an informal meeting, held for the purpose of arranging for the funeral of Brother Samuel J. Hazeltine.


A Charter applied for to the Grand Lodge of England arrives and a meeting is held in a hall at Hibben and Coswell’s store on the corner of Yates and Langley streets in Victoria BC where is received in “due and ancient form”, and the Lodge is duly constituted as Victoria Lodge No. 1085 on the Grand Registry of England.


A Charter or Warrant of Constitution was granted bearing the date of the 16th of December, 1861, and Union Lodge No. 1201 was duly constituted on the Grand Registry of England.


A third Lodge is granted a Charter by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. A meeting is held in the Hall of Victoria Lodge No. 1085 to organize the new Lodge, which was known as Vancouver Lodge No. 421 on the Scotch Registry.


-After a considerable time, a fourth Lodge is duly constituted as Nanaimo Lodge, No. 1090 on the Grand Registry of England.
-Another Lodge is warranted in Victoria by the Grand Lodge of England under the name of British Columbia Lodge and the number 1187 bringing the total number of Lodges in BC on the Grand Registry of England to four.
-The same year The Grand Master Mason of Scotland appoints a Provincial Grand Master for the Colony and the Provincial Grand Lodge is formed
-Two more dispensations are granted by the Provincial Grand Master for the formation of two Lodges—Cariboo, at Barkersville [sic], subsequently warranted as No. 469, and Caledonia, at Nanaimo, which afterward obtained a warrant numbered 478.


The Grand Lodge of England appoints W. Brother Robert Burnaby, District Grand Master for the Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and the District Grand Lodge is formed. A movement by various Lodge members of the District Grand Lodge and the Provincial Grand Lodge to have an independent Grand Lodge of British Columbia begins quietly in 1868.


Two more Lodges under the Grand Lodge of Scotland are granted dispensation by the Provincial Grand Master, Mount Herman Lodge and Quadra Lodge bringing the total of four Lodges governed by the District Grand Lodge of England and five by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Scotland.


21st of October, a convention is called and held in Victoria where representatives of all the Provincial Lodges present voted unanimously to form the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon.


The first special or emergent meeting of the Grand Lodge of BC & Y was held in the city of New Westminster on the 30th of July, the occasion being the laying of the cornerstone of the Mortuary Chapel of the Masonic Cemetery at Sapperton. Besides the Grand Lodge officers, there were present about sixty of the Brethren, and the stone was laid in due and ancient form by the Grand Master, M. W. Brother I. W. Powell.