Wellington Square Lodge #725

Its Beginning

By Duncan J. McFadgen April 1, 2013

Dedicated To Wor. Bro. C. Douglas Reading

Without whose enthusiasm, dedication and devotion to a cause, this lodge would not likely be functioning today

From time to time during the 1960s and very early ’70s, seeds for a third Masonic Lodge in Burlington were planted, but it wasn’t until a beautiful, sunny September afternoon in 1971 that one took root and grew. Two active members of Burlington Lodge #165, Wor. Bros. C. Douglas Reading and Duncan J. McFadgen, happened to meet in front of the Canada Trust bank on Brant Street, very close to the entrance of the Masonic Temple, and stopped to chat. Having covered the news of the day and several other non-related topics, it seemed natural that their conversation should tum to a subject they had spoken about several times before — a third Burlington lodge. With mutual agreement on a few basic ideas, such as only two candidates and seven meetings each year and a dinner to precede each meeting, the two decided that the time to act rather than talk had come. They parted with a firm handshake and a commitment to each other.

So, the spadework began! First and foremost was the need to ascertain from Grand Lodge the Rules and Ordinances regarding the formation of a new lodge. These were many and very specific but the Grand Secretary of the day, Most Wor. Bro. John A. Irvine was tremendously helpful.

Several evenings were spent getting pointers from Brethren in other Districts who had been involved in the formation of new lodges. Advice and assistance were also received from our 1972/73 D.D.G.M., Rt. Wor. Hugh C. Lord. Numerous evenings were also spent attending the Hamilton District “A” Lodges from which approval and consent were required for a new lodge in the District. Lastly, Burlington Lodge took on the role of sponsor.

Several information evenings open to all Masons were held in order to spread the word about this new venture. This was an attempt to locate and invite as many unaffiliated Brethren as possible and to attract Brethren who would be interested in forming a lodge which would have, other than in the Ritual, a number of unique differences. It was hoped that some of these Brethren might have ideas to add to the mix.

The business office of Mallet, Reading and Wright was the venue for many meetings during which Brethren who had developed a deep interest in this new undertaking met to flesh out the details of the start-up. Such details included: date and time of meetings; number of candidates and the format in which degrees would be conducted; fees and dues; design of a logo and style of a Summons; By-laws by which we would be governed other than those rules and regulations laid down in the constitution; arrangements for a caterer to serve dinner at every meeting prior to lodge opening; choice of a name and the selection of a slate of officers while operating “Under Dispensation” plus other pertinent details.

At the Grand Lodge sessions of July 1973, as M. Wor. Bro. Wm. K. Bailey’s term as Grand Master ended, authority was granted to a group of Brethren in Burlington to begin functioning as a craft lodge “Under Dispensation”.

So it was that on October 11, 1973, in the early part of M. Wor. Bro. Geo. E. Turner’s reign as G. M. that the D.D.G.M. of Hamilton District “A’, Rt. Wor. Bro. Clifford Battey, carried out the institution of Wellington Square Lodge U.D. in a very commendable manner. A second highlight of the evening was an address by Bro. (Rev.) Charles Carpentier, the Chaplain of Doric Lodge #263 in Kirkland Lake whose topic was “Settlers vs. Pioneers”. Bro. Carpentier, a charming and witty speaker, came to Burlington that evening at the invitation of his close friend and our own D. ofC. Rt. Wor. Bro. G. Ivor Davies, P.G.S.W. Wor. Bro. Davies was a member of both Burlington Lodge and Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes.

Wellington Square Lodge U.D. began functioning under the following conditions incorporating ideals that would hopefully create a warm, close-knit brotherhood wherein every candidate would be the centre of attention on the nights of the conferral of his degrees and each member would recognize and know every other member in a special manner:

  1. The lodge would meet on the second Thursday of February, March, April, May, September, October and November at 7:30 p.m. in the Burlington Masonic Temple.
  2. The lodge would accept only two candidates a year using the following schedule: the first candidate would be initiated in February, passed in April and raised in September. The second candidate would be initiated in March, passed in May and raised in October. Elections would be held in October with Installation and Investiture of officers in November.
  3. Fees and Dues:
    • Fees and Dues for Brethren under age 65
      • Charter Members $125.00
      • Affiliation $50.00
      • Annual Dues $40.00 (including dinners)
      • Initiation $200.00
    • Fees and Dues for Brethren over age 65
      • Charter Members $ 50.00
      • Affiliation $25.00
      • Annual Dues $30.00 (including dinners)
  4. Dinner would be provided at every meeting prior to the lodge being opened. Dinners would be prepared and served by members of Lakeview Chapter #79 Order of the Eastern Star, an amicable arrangement that proved to be extremely satisfactory to both parties. A tariff of $3.00 would be levied for visiting guests.
  5. Masonic education would be an integral part of every meeting.
  6. Importance and attention would be given to other details, such as: guests to be suitably introduced in the banquet room following dinner, the Master and Wardens to be escorted to their chairs after the Brethren had assembled; the Chaplain to participate where appropriate in the opening and closing ceremony of each degree; the Lesser Lights to be lit by the Chaplain and two Stewards in timing with the knocks in the opening ceremony; quality of “The Work” to be of the highest order; only under an abnormal circumstance would there be an emergent meeting and there would be no degree teams.

It seemed fitting that a new lodge should be initiated in Burlington in 1973 as the City was celebrating the successful completion of 100 years since inauguration in that year. The choice of Wellington Square for the lodge name was significant because Burlington blossomed from the original village of Wellington Square, named after the Duke of Wellington — a soldier, statesman and Mason initiated in Lodge #494 in Ireland in 1790.

In keeping with the objective of Masonic education, arrangements were made several times during the first year to have an outstanding Mason address the members following the degree work of the evening. For example, Rt. Wore Bro. (Dr.) Wallace E. McLeod, Professor of Classics, Victoria College, University of Toronto, a member of Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes and the Editor of the then very recent Grand Lodge publication “Beyond the Pillars”, spoke as did Rt. Wor. Bro. (Dr.) Charles E Sankey, retired Chancellor of Brock University, St. Catharines and also a member of Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes. Each of these Masons brought a timely message which was well received.

No record of the proceedings to form a new lodge would be complete without mentioning the names of those Brethren who were so vitally involved in the groundwork. Reference has already been made to the total commitment that Wor. Bro. C. Douglas Reading gave to the undertaking. Rt. Wor. Bro. W. James Curtis, a member of Westmount Lodge and a P.D.D.G.M. of Hamilton District “C” lead a committee in the preparation of the original By-laws. He also wrote the Preamble. Bro. Jack Loft of Nickel Lodge #427, Sudbury and Brant Lodge #663, Burlington and his committee were responsible for the development of the logo as well as the format of the Summons. A valuable addition to the mix was Br John (Jack) A. Muir, of Ancient St. John’s #2 Kingston whose professional background in the business world was such as asset in keeping the goal in sight. Finally, Wor. Bro. John G. Robbins of King Hiram Lodge #37, Ingersoll and Burlington Lodge #165, Burlington took on the all-important position of Secretary and carried out the duties of that office in a masterful manner for an additional nine years.

Quite apparently, the members of Grand Lodge responsible for approving that a lodge working “Under Dispensation” had fulfilled its mandate satisfactorily recommended to the Grand Master, M. Won Bro. George E. Turner that a warrant be issued to Wellington Square Lodge and numbered 725 on the Registry of Grand Lodge. The announcement was made by the Grand Master in his address at the annual communication of Grand Lodge in July 1974. It was thus necessary to immediately begin planning the numerous details of a celebration of the Ceremony of Constitution and Consecration during the early fall of that year.

Wor. Bro. Robert Hedefine, Past Master of Dundurn Lodge, #475, accepted the responsibility of acting as General Chairman for the occasion. Having established that the Grand Master, Most Wor. Bro. George E. Turner, would be available to conduct the Ceremony and be the guest speaker on Friday, September 27, 1974, Wor. Bro. Hedefine and his committees planned and executed an extremely successful banquet and programme- Forty-five members of Grand Lodge and active Masons of the day were suitably introduced. All thirty-two Charter Members were present at the ceremony along with many interested Brethren from near and far. Thus, this neophyte lodge, having taken root and begun to grow from that seed planted in September 1971, officially became known as Wellington Square Lodge #725.

Under the masterly leadership of Wor. Bro. Ed McDougall, Past Master of The Barton Lodge #6, as Installing Master, the Brethren who had occupied the Chairs while the lodge operated “Under Dispensation”, were regularly installed and invested during that ancient ceremony on October 10, 1974. Now, all was in readiness for that ceremony to be performed once again on November 14 at which time Rt. Wor. Bro James (Jim) Curtis and his corps of officers assumed their stations for 1975.

During that initial year of the lodge, two candidates were received and became Master Masons and five additional Brethren joined the lodge by affiliation. Now, time and the work of succeeding Masters and their corps of officers will determine the true value of this lodge in both the Masonic and wider community circles.

Charter Members of Wellington Square Lodge

NameRankName of LodgeNoLocation
Charles Douglas ReadingP.M.Acacia
Hamilton, ON
Duncan John McFadgenP.M.Burlington165Burlington, ON
Wilfred James CurtisPDDGMWestmount671Hamilton, ON
Gwilym Ivor DaviesPGSWBurlington165Burlington, ON
Stanley James MayM.M.Niagara2Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Jack Isidore LoftM.M.Brant
Burlington, ON
John Gamet RobbinsP.M.King Hiram
Ingersoll, ON
Douglas Robert FrostP.M.Brant663Burlington, ON
Joseph HobsonP.M.Buchanan550Hamilton, ON
Joseph Carmon McLeanM.M.Brant663Burlington, ON
John Edward BrittainM.M.Valley100Dundas, ON
Evans Stewart RossM.M.Prince David101Haney, B.C.
Gordon Redvers AugustineM.M.Blyth303Blyth, ON
Troy Evpene BlincoM.M.Shawenegan49Three Rivers, P.Q.
James Webster ForrestM.M.Brant663Burlington, ON
John Emest LovellM.M.Brant663Burlington, ON
Lloyd Stanley RasberryP.M.Campbell603Campbellville, ON
Frank Robert Emberton HaightonM.M.Burlington165Burlington, ON
Robert Hales HedefineP.M.Dundurn475Hamilton, ON
George Graham GoodallM.M.Burlington165Burlington, ON
Wilson Donald MacDonaldM.M.Wellington635Toronto, ON
Roland LoveM.M.Dundurn475Hamilton, ON
Harry GreenwoodP.M.Brant663Burlington, ON
Harry William HomM.M.Akron83Akron, Ohio
Carman Lawrence TrenholmP.M.Keith23New Brunswick
Edward Sheridan McDougallP.M.The Barton6Hamilton, ON
James Walter HouldenM.M.Fort Garry130Winnipeg, MB
Ralph Sutton CostleyM.M.Remembrance586Thornhill, ON
Glencoe Elwood HogleM.M.Lakeshore645Mimico, ON
John Albert MuirM.M.The Ancient St. John’s3Kingston, ON
James Brodie MitchellM.M.Brant663Burlington, ON
Maxwell Keith McLeanW.M.Brant663Burlington, ON

Officers of Wellington Square Lodge, 1973-74

Wor. Bro. Duncan J. McFadgenW.M.
Wor. Bro. Douglas R. FrostI.P.M.
Rt. Wor. Bro. W. James CurtisS.W.
Bro. Stanley J. MayJ.W.
Wor. Bro. Edward S. McDougallChaplin
Wor. Bro. C. Douglas ReadingTreasurer
Wor. Bro. John G. RobbinsSecretary
Bro. Jack l. LoftS.D.
Bro. John E. BrittainJ.D.
Rt. Wor. Bro. G. Ivor DaviesD. of C.
Bro. Wilson D. MacDonaldI.G.
Bro. John A. MuirS.S.
Bro. Joseph C. McLeanJ.S.
Bro. Evans S. RossAss’t S.
Bro. Glencoe E. HogleTyler