What is a Masonic Lodge ?
For centuries - the Masonic Lodge has been the basic building block of the Masonic community around the world.
In the Middle Ages the stonemasons's lodge was a shed constructed on the building site where the craftsmen could work, rest, organize their activities and sometimes sleep. The stonemason's guilds had passwords that permitted craftsmen to travel and identify themselves as stonemasons so that they could work on remote building sites. Today's speculative Freemasonry derives most of itys symbols from the ancient operative Craft.
Freemasonry makes great use of symbolism derived from classical architecture, in particular the 'Orders'. These were first classified by the Roman architect Vitruvius, whose writings were greatly admired and emulated during the Renaissance.
Vitruvius felt that an architect should be able to draw and be knowledgeable in the subjects of philosophy, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music, grammar, rhetoric, jurisprudence and astronomy. All of these skills made up the Liberal Arts and Sciences, which were the basis of education at the time.
Most Masonic Lodges in Ontario operate under the authority of the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M of Canada in the Province of Ontario. Each Lodge has its own set of bylaws but operates by warrant under the Constitution and oversight of the Grand Lodge. The oldest masonic Lodge in Ontario, Niagara No. 2, has been in continuous operation for over 215 years. The oldest Lodge in Toronto East District, Markham Union #87, has been warranted since 1857 and has a rich and colourful history.
Just as their operative stomemason counterparts did hundreds of years ago, Freemasons today meet as a Lodge in order to both initiate new members into the Masonic fraternity and to organize themselves to be better able to practice the three primary Masonic virtues:
Brotherly Love, Relief & Truth
The term "Masonic Lodge" generally refers to the group of men who make up its membership, while the term "Masonic Temple" refers the actual building in which individual Lodges meets on a regular basis.
Through their unique organizational structure, the local Masonic Lodge provides an unparalled experience for a man who is interested in leadership, self development and teamwork. The friendships built in a Masonic lodge, for both the members and their families, frequently last a lifetime.
Masonic Lodges also become a source of exceptional community outreach, offering services and support to the community which otherwise would not be available. Freemason's have a reputation of being generous with both their time and resources in striving to live the Masonic virtues and make a difference in their local community.
For more information about a Lodge in your community please feel free to click on any of the Lodges to the left and explore the uniqe histories of the Masonic Lodges in Toronto East District.
1. Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province or Ontario
2. Freemasonry - Symbols, Secrets, Significance (W. Kirk MacNulty) 2006
3. Alpha Lodge - The First 125 Years (W. Bro. Martin Skulnick)