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Caledonian Lodge No. 249 Victoria Harbour ON

Caledonian Lodge No. 249 Victoria Harbour ON
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1871 - 1882

Caledonian Lodge No.249 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario was originally Instituted on July 13th, 1871 at Angus, Ontario, after a Charter had been issued at the 14th Annual Communication of Grand lodge held in Montreal by Most Worshipful Brother Alexander Allen Stevenson, Grand Master 1868-69-70-71 of Hamilton. The Charter mJohn Nettleton, Alexander Cooper, Thomas Chapin and Stephen Fist, all of Manito Lodge No.90, Collingwood; also Francis Boyes, William McDougal, Rowland Hill and Nelson Irving, all of Corinthian Lodge No.96, Barrie.

The first Worshipful Master was R.W.Bro. John Nettleton, Past Grand Registrar and Past Master of Manito Lodge, who later became the first District Deputy Grand Master of Georgian District 1879-1881. The other principal officers in the new lodge were Bro. Alexander Cooper, Senior Warden, Bro and F.D.Boyes, Junior Warden.

During the first twelve years of its existence the Lodge had received fifteen members by affiliation and forty-two by initiation and had been ruled by six Masters. By the latter part of 1882 all but seven of the fifty-seven brethren had ceased to be members, because of death, resignation, or suspension, and so the Warrant was about to be returned to the Grand Secretary.

1883 - 2007
Just at this time some interested Masonic Brethren who resided in Midland, under the leadership of W. Bro. Harvey Switzer, having learned of this situation, wrote to Angus regarding the matter with the result that arrangements were finally made to transfer the Warrant to Midland. On November 28th, 1882, some nine Midland Brethren made application with the Lodge at Angus. Their applications were accepted on December 26th, 1882, and immediately an election was held for the purpose of electing officers for 1883, thus under the name of Caledonian Lodge No.249, Freemasonry had its beginning in Midland, January 1883, where it flourished for the next one-hundred and twenty-four years. The first officers in Midland were:

Worshipful MasterWor.Bro.Harvey F. Switzer
Senior WardenBro.Henry S. Ruby
Junior WardenBro.Richard Finch
SecretaryBro.Edward Peplow
TreasurerBro.Josiah Hicks
Inner GuardBro.William Henderson
Senior DeaconBro.Bennett Jane
Junior DeaconBro.Andrew Miscampbell
TylerBro.Frank E. Vincent
The first applications in Midland were received on January 23rd, 1883 and since that time to the present date, 1142 applicants have been admitted to our Lodge, 922 by initiation and 220 by affiliation. We have lost 627 by death and 421 by either resignation or suspension, thus leaving our current membership at 94 of which 79 are resident and 15are non-resident members.

During the 138 years , Caledonian Lodge has been honoured by having nine of its members elected to the very important office of Right Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master in the persons of:

R.Wor.Bro.John Nettleton1879-1881
R.Wor.Bro.Richard Raikes1901-1902
R.Wor.Bro.Alexander C. Adams1912-1913
R.Wor.Bro.M. Seymour Kelle1921-1922
R.Wor.Bro.George S. Dudley1930-1931
R.Wor.Bro.John J. Robins1948-1949
R.Wor.Bro.John M. Dalrymple1970-1971
R.Wor.Bro.David G. Walker1985-1986
R.Wor.Bro.Eugene E. Robertson1995-1996
In addition eleven Past Masters have received recognition from Grand Lodge by being appointed to Grand Lodge Office with the rank of Very Worshipful, as follows:

V.Wor.Bro.Harvey S. Switzer1885-1886Grand Steward
V.Wor.Bro.Arthur W. Bell1913-1914Grand Steward
V.Wor.Bro.William H. Thornton1922-1923Grand Steward
V.Wor.Bro.Roy S. King1931-1932Grand Steward
V.Wor.Bro.Charles A. Flowers1949-1950Grand Steward
V.Wor.Bro.D. Frank Powell1971-1972Grand Steward
V.Wor.Bro.Ronald G.A. Mink1986-1987Grand Assistant Secretary
V.Wor.Bro.John R. Wilson1993-1994Grand Steward
V.Wor.Bro.Alan F. Walker1971-1972Grand Deacon
V.Wor.Bro.Lionel E. Hanmer1996-1997Grand Steward
V.Wor.Bro.Brian D. Hopkins1998-1999Grand Steward
Since its institution, 70 members in good standing lived long enough to be entitled to receive Fifty Year Medals. At the present time 10 of our members are the proud wearers of the Fifty Year Lapel Pin signifying that they have been masons in good standing for fifty years or more. Two member, Brothers Harold Keefer and Edwin Walker received their sixty Year Pins.

In all one-hundred and twenty Masters have served Caledonian Lodge. Twenty-one of these are still living and in good standing. Also of thirty members who were Past Masters of other lodges, six are living and in good standing

Fifty of our Brethren have served as First Principal of Kichikewana Chapter of Royal Arch Masons and twenty-three have held office in Grand Chapter, either by election or appointment, notably, Most Excellent Companion Alan F. Walker, Grand First Principal 1994/96.

In 1883, the first meeting place in Midland was in a set of rooms in the south west corner of the Burton or Preston block. In January 1904, larger rooms on the north side of the same building were acquired for Masonic purposes, but unfortunately, on the evening of March 4th, 1908, fire almost completely destroyed the property and most of the valuable Lodge Records. The Charter was saved but most of the writing thereon was made illegible and so it was necessary to procure a new Charter to replace the original one.

After 36 years, the owners required the use of the above premises and arrangements were made to move into quarters in the Duncan Block (266 King St. where Laurentian Bank now located) where the first meeting was held on September 22nd, 1919. This was followed by a Special Communication on October 2nd, 1919, when the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. F.W. Harcourt, Grand Secretary and other Grand Lodge Officers were present for the purpose of dedicating the new rooms. Again on October 23rd, 1921, in the Duncan Block, fire almost destroyed our furniture and records, but this was only a temporary inconvenience and the Lodge continued to meet here for some 33 years.

During 1951, Caledonian Lodge purchased land and a building at Sunnyside. This building was remodeled to its present layout with Lodge and ante rooms on the second floor, the banquet room and kitchen on the first floor and cloak room, washrooms and furnace in the basement. Generous contributions of both money and labour on the part of the Brethren enabled the enterprise to be successfully completed.

The first meeting of Caledonian Lodge in the new Masonic Temple at Sunnyside was held on January 7th, 1952. The Dedication Ceremony took place on February 15th, 1952. On this occasion, Most Worshipful Brother J.P. Maher, Immediate Past Grand master represented M.W.Bro. N.C. Hart. With the assistance of other Grand Lodge Officers and in the presence of well over two-hundred brethren representing some thirty Lodges, our Masonic Temple was properly dedicated for the purposes of Freemasonry. The use of the facility was shared by the Lodge and Kichikewana Chapter No.167 and Manson J. Bradley Chapter No.240, Order of the Eastern Star.

1971, Caledonain Lodge celebrated its One-hundredth Anniversary, and new regalia and furnishings were dedicated, in the lodge room, on Monday, October 4th, with R.W.Bro. A.B. Mancini, District Deputy Grand Master of Georgian District presiding. A total of ninety-one registered for the meeting, of whom fifty-four were members and the remaining thirty-seven, visitors from seventeen other lodges.

March 6th, 1978 a by-law was endorsed creating Caledonian Temple Corporation, wholly owned by the Master Masons in good standing, members of Caledonian Lodge. The Board of Directors being comprised of, the principal Officers of the lodge, the IPM and six elected officers, four of whom must be Past Masters of the Lodge. The Board is responsible for all facets of the Temple operations. In 1978, the Masonic Temple was completely redecorated with considerable renovations being done both to the inside and the exterior, such as a new electrical heating system to replace the oil furnace, recreation room and new washrooms in the basement, two new Fire Exits and the exterior being insulated and covered with stucco finish. The basement facility has been named the Brotherhood Lounge, dedicated to the memory of an Anonymous Mason who was a major contributor to its realization, both in concept and in financial support.

1979 a new Aquarobic Class 10 sewage disposal system was installed to service the building. In 1988-89, air-conditioning was installed for the Lodge Room. During 1993, a 40 x 64 foot Storage Building was constructed in the north-east corner of the property to house the Floats etc of the Midland District Shrine Club.

July 13th, 1996, the Brethren of Caledonian Lodge No. 249 A.F.& A.M. of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario celebrated its 125th Anniversary of Masonic Activity and Service. A wonderful Dinner and Dance enjoyed by all in attendance at the Community Centre in Victoria Harbour.

In June of 2007 Caledonian Lodge No. 249 voted to amalgamate with Victoria Lodge No. 470 meeting at 229 Albert Street, Victoria Harbour and the building at 197 Fuller Avenue was sold. At that time the following organizations of the Masonic family made their home in the Masonic Temple Sunnyside:

Caledonian LodgeNo. 249Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
Georgian LodgeNo. 348Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
Earl KitchenerNo. 538Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
Kichikewana ChapterNo. 167Royal Arch Masons
Huronia ConclaveNo. 18Grand Imperial Conclave of Canada
Shealtiel CouncilNo. 21Royal & Select Masters of Ontario
Midland Bay LodgeNo. 18Royal Ark Mariners
Holy Rood CollegeNo. 66York Rite Sovereign College of North America
Manson J. Bradley ChapterNo. 240Order of the Eastern Star
NOVEMBER 15th, 2007

For much of the material presented in this Historical Sketch, we are indebted to the efforts of our late V. W. Bro. William H. Thornton, who served as secretary for eleven years, our late R. W. Bro. John J. Robins who served as secretary for eighteen years, our late W.Bro. Karl E. Morrison who served as secretary for thirteen years and R. W. Bro. David G. Walker who completed eighteen years as secretary.
Date: 2017-10-10 22:41:10

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