Freemasonry in Canada
Historical Highlights 1634-1871
First record of a Freemason in Canada, then known as New France. Lord Alexander, Viscount Canada, son of the first Earl of Stirling, Scotland, Master of Work to King Charles I, founded a colony of Scots on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Lord Alexander was a member of Edinburgh Lodge No. 1 at Mary’s Chapel, which has records dating from 1599 and–tradition maintains–was in existence in 1491.
First masonic lodge in Canada is instituted at Annapolis, Nova Scotia
September 13th. Freemasons General James Wolfe and Major-General, the Marquis de Montcalm, are killed at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Sir Guy Carleton, a Freemason, was wounded in the same battle. He would later become Govenor-In-Chief of British North America from 1786 to 1795.
Captain James Cook, arrives at Nootka Sound, becoming the first Freemason to set foot in what is now the province of British Columbia.
Fort Victoria is established to bolster Britain’s claim to Vancouver Island.
October 25th. Lieutenant Alexander Dunn is awarded the Victoria Cross for saving the lives of two men during the famous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. Dunn, a Freemason, is the first Canadian to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
July 10th. A Victoria newspaper ad calls all interested Freemasons to a meeting with the object of forming a masonic lodge in Victoria. The publisher of the paper is Amor de Cosmos, a Freemason who would later become the second premier of the province of British Columbia.
September 7th. The first masonic funeral in the Colony was held for Samuel Hazeltine, Government Steamboat Inspector, who died from injuries received in a marine accident at Victoria.
Victoria Lodge No. 1085, is formally constituted in Victoria, in the colony of Vancouver’s Island. Robert Burnaby, for whom Burnaby B.C. is named, installs the first officers, Russian born John Malowansky, a Victoria news agent and tobacconist, is the first person to be made a Freemason in the colonies.
Thomas Harris, a Freemason, is elected the first mayor of Victoria.
The Dominion of Canada is established on July 1st. Freemason Sir John A MacDonald becomes Canada’s first Prime Minister.
United Colony of British Columbia joins Confederation and becomes the Province of British Columbia.
October 21st. The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of British Columbia is founded in Victoria, British Columbia. The Grand Lodge is consecrated and dedicated on December 26th, 1871. Israel Wood Powell is the first Grand Master while Robert Burnaby becomes the first Past Grand Master.
November 13th. John Foster McCreight, the first Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia, becomes the first premier of the Province of British Columbia.
Istael Wood Powell, for whom Powell River, B.C. and Powell Street in Vancouver are named, refused the offer to become the first Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia and becomes the first Superintendent of Indian Affairs.
Freemason John Jesop becomes the first Superintendent of Education.