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Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Canada in the Province of Ontario

UNIVERSE LODGE No.705 G.R.C.

Universe

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BRIEF HISTORY OF UNIVERSE LODGE


CONCEPTION

On April 13, 1961 the first formal meeting was held in Markham Temple for the purpose of forming a new lodge. V.W.Bro. Robert Young was named Chairman and V.W.Bro. Percy Bell as Secretary, pro-tem. Many names were considered, among which were Three Pillars, Cornerstone, Keystone, Great Pillars, Perfect Ashlar, Clarence M. Pitt, Maher, Summit, Harmony and Universe. The fee structure was determined as being: Charter membership $35, Initiation $125, Affiliation $15 and annual dues $15. A provisional set of bylaws was also formulated.

The name "Universe" and the design of our corresponding P.M.'s jewel were proposed by V.W.Bro. William Ovens.


NAME

The significance of the name chosen was:

  • to mark that, as Freemasonry has already encompassed the earth, the time had perhaps now arrived for Freemasonry, as well as man, to spread its wings beyond the bounds of earth and extend into space, or, the universe.

  • to mark the many references to our universe in "The Work".

In the former regard:

  • The dream of man to break out beyond the bounds of earth and travel into space exists in myth and fiction as far back as 4000 years.

  • On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel in space up to 327 km above earth for 1 full orbit aboard the Vostok 1.

  • On May 5, 1961 Alan Sheppard became the first American to travel in space up to 185 km above earth in a sub-orbital flight aboard the Freedom 7.

  • On February 20, 1962 Bro. John Glen became the first American to travel in space up to 262 km above earth for 3 full orbits aboard the Friendship 7 (note the sevens).

  • From these efforts evolved the later Gemini, Vostok, Soyuz, Apollo, Mir, Skylab and Columbia (reusable space shuttle) programs.

  • On July 20, 1969 Bro. Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon (saying "That's 1 small step for man, 1 giant leap for mankind") after travelling in space aboard the U.S. Apollo 11 with Major Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin and Michael Collins. Bro. Buzz Aldrin was the second man to set foot on the moon, while Michael Collins stayed onboard to pilot the lunar orbiting craft. While several of the early astronauts were Freemasons, the arrival of the first astronauts on the moon (both of whom were Freemasons) firmly established that Freemasonry truly has, in fact, spread beyond the bounds of the earth and outwards into our universe.

JEWEL

The significance of the design of our corresponding P.M.'s jewel was:

  • to further illustrate the name Universe by the use of a symbol in the center in the form the Big Dipper (aka Plow, Wagon, 7 Oxen, 7 Rishis), a northern constellation in Ursa Major (Great Bear) of very great importance to "travelling men" throughout recorded history.

  • to orient the symbol so that its Pointer stars point to the letter G, instead of Polaris, the North Star marking the end of the handle of the Little Dipper in Ursa Minor (Little Bear).

  • to note the fact that, although Ursa Major contains more than 50 visible stars, it is the 7 brightest of which form the Big Dipper, the number 7 in Freemasonry denoting the 7th science, astronomy, as well as perfection.
Thus it can be seen that both the name "UNIVERSE" and design of our P.M.'s JEWEL are rich in Masonic symbolism and allegory.


BIRTH

On April 25, 1961 the name UNIVERSE LODGE was unanimously selected by secret ballot and plans made to petition the application of a new lodge to the Grand Master, with officers to be selected at the next meeting.

On June 7, 1961 arrangements were finalized with Markham Masonic Temple to hold lodge emergent meetings on the first Tuesday and regular meetings on the third Tuesday of each month, at a rental cost of $400 for the first year. Eighteen of the 26 charter members signed the petition for a new lodge and officers were elected and appointed as follows:

  • W.M. - V.W.Bro. Robert J.A. Young
  • I.P.M. - W.Bro Jack F. Mitchell
  • S.W. - Bro. L. Elmer Eadie, W.Bro. F. Russell Beard
  • J.W. - Bro. J. Keith Johnson
  • Chaplain - V.W.Bro. Percy Bell
  • Secretary - W.Bro. Lloyd C. Sutherland
  • S.D. - Bro. Kenneth Page
  • J.D. - Bro. William Ovens
  • D. of C. - W.Bro. Reginald A. Ansell
  • I.G. - Bro. John McEwan
  • Tyler - Bro. Arthur C. Lawrance
  • S.S. - Bro. Lloyd Abernethy
  • J.S. - Bro. Eric H. Thomas
  • Treasurer - W.Bro. W. Arnold Hill
On October 3, 1961, R.W.Bro W.A. Hagan, the D.D.G.M. of Toronto District 4 and W.Bro Herbert K. Lee, District Secretary, attended the meeting of the proposed new lodge, were satisfied with the proceedings and reported that they would recommend to the G.M. that a Dispensation be granted.

On October 17, 1961 the G.M., the M.W.Bro R.A. Treleaven, granted a Dispensation for Universe Lodge to officially operate.

On November 21, 1961 the Dispensation was read aloud in the first official meeting of Universe Lodge.

On May 15, 1962, a ceremony was held in which W. Rev. Bro. Ronald Campkin, District Chaplain, dedicated the many gifts to Universe Lodge. Presented to the lodge were our:

  • wooden Wands, Mace, Gavels, Pads, Columns, S. and Cs. (hand-crafted) by V.W.Bro. Garnet Williamson,
  • V.O.T.S.L., S. and Cs. by Mrs. L.H. Thompson (in memory of her husband, V.W. Rev. Bro. Thomas Thompson),
  • W.M.'s Collar by the Centennial S.W. Group,
  • Officers' Collars by the W.M., officers and members of Wexford Lodge 683,
  • Case of W.Ts. by the W.M., officers and members of West Hill Lodge 670,
  • Altar Cloth by an anonymous donor,
  • Lodge Seal by Carman Lewis, Markham Union Lodge 87,
along with various cash donations to complete the fitting-out of the lodge.

In July, 1962, Universe Lodge was officially registered as number 705 in the G.R.C. in the Province of Ontario.

In October, 1962, the ceremony of Constituting and Consecrating Universe Lodge was conducted by M.W.Bro. J.A. Hearn, according to ancient custom.

The foregoing is an account of how a new Masonic Lodge is born.


OPERATION

During its first 10 years of operation in Markham Masonic Temple, there were 47 initiations, 20 affiliations, 12 demits, 3 deaths and 2 suspended and restored, with our lodge growing from 26 to 77 members.

On January 16, 1962 Universe lodge affiliated its first member from another lodge (Mizpah 572) W.Bro. Clayton Shibley.

On February 20, 1962 Universe lodge initiated its first candidate, Bro. Leslie Lang.

On April 19,1966, funding for purchase of our 2 Tyler's swords was provided by The Saints (S.W. Group of 1965).

On October 3, 1967, Grand Lodge Regalia was presented to V.W.Bro. Lloyd Sutherland (Founding Charter Member), Grand Steward, and V.W.Bro. J.F. Mitchell, Grand Steward.

In October, 1970, W.Bro. Lynn Reesor became the first W.M. of Universe Lodge who was initiated, passed and raised within our lodge.

On September 21,1971 Universe Lodge moved to its new home, Scarborough Masonic Temple. A Tracing Board needed at that time was produced and presented to the lodge by R.W.Bro. Everard Blackburn.

On November 21, 1972, V.W.Bro. Wilbur Johnson was appointed a Grand Steward on sight by M.W.Bro. William K. Bailey at Brougham Union Lodge's 100th anniversary celebration.

On May 14, 1974 the regular lodge meeting was changed to the second Tuesday and emergent to the fourth Tuesday of each month, as continues to this day.

On December 9, 1975 Universe Lodge began what has become a well known tradition of putting on its famous annual Christmas dinners, organized by R.W. Bro. Clay Bradshaw with assistance of Bro. Olaf Nicolaisen, culinary department-head at Timothy Eaton B.T.I. and his students, and this tradition happily continues to this day.

On October 10, 1978, Grand Lodge Regalia was presented to V.W.Bro. William Alexander Thomas Ovens (Founding Charter Member), Grand Steward.

On May 8, 1979, our Organist, V.W.Bro. Lloyd "Sam" Sutherland (Founding Charter Member) was presented with his 50 year membership pin. (Bro. Sutherland has since received his 50 year past-masters pin and has now been a Mason for some 69 years!)

On March 10, 1987, V.W. Bro. William Ovens (Founding Charter Member) moved that R.W. Bro. Wm. Pellow, Deputy Grand Master, be made an Honourary Member of Universe Lodge, seconded by W. Bro. Jack Cunningham. (R.W. Bro. Pellow replied by letter of April 6, 1987 stating he would attend Universe lodge to accept this honor on September 8, 1987.)

On June 9, 1987, Universe Lodge became a member of the Scarborough Masonic Temple Corporation with full voting priveleges.

On July 16, 1987, R.W.Bro. Clay Bradshaw became the first member of Universe Lodge to be elected D.D.G.M. of Toronto District No. 4. (Bro. Bradshaw was and initiated, passed and raised within and sponsored/funded by Universe Lodge.)

On July 16, 1987, V.W.Bro. James Stephens was appointed Grand Steward.

On September 8, 1987, M.W. Bro. Wm. Pellow, Grand Master, attended Universe Lodge to accept his Honourary Membership Certificate.

October 1987 was the 25th anniversary of the Consecration of Universe Lodge.

On July 20, 1988, R.W.Bro. Andrew M. Gilmour became the second member of Universe Lodge to be elected D.D.G.M. of Toronto District No. 4. (Bro. Gilmour was sponsored/funded by his mother lodge, Mimosa 576.)

On July 20, 1988, V.W.Bro. Don Reesor was appointed Grand Steward.

On May 8, 1990, V.W.Bro. Peter McGowan became the first affiliated member to be installed as W.M. of Universe Lodge.

In July, 1993, R.W.Bro. Everard Blackburn became the third member of Universe Lodge to be elected D.D.G.M. of Toronto District No. 4. (Bro. Blackburn was and initiated, passed and raised within and sponsored/funded by Universe Lodge.)

In July, 1994, V.W.Bro. Peter McGowan was appointed Grand Steward.

In July, 1996, Universe Lodge joined the world-wide-web of masonic lodges on the internet (via editor W.Bro. John Stacey) with Grand Lodge of Canada Approval No. 00D36.

On June 9, 1998, W.Bro. John Cunningham moved that W. Bro. Lloyd Abernethy and V.W. Bro. William Ovens (both Founding Charter Members of Universe Lodge) be made Honourary Members in recognition of their many years of service to our lodge.

On September 20, 1998, W.Bro. Charles Saunders was appointed official Piper of Toronto District No. 4.

On October 27,1998, our Treasurer, V.W.Bro. William Ovens (Founding Charter Member) was presented with his Honourary Membership Certificate for outstanding service to the Craft in general and to Universe Lodge in particular. (We are beholden to Bro. Ovens for his many years of loyal support, sage advice and service to our lodge.)

On October 29, 1998, Bro. John Glen, at the age of 77 years, became the eldest astronaut to return to space on U.S. Discovery 7 (note those sevens), giving a whole new meaning to the term "The Right Stuff" and inspiring and raising the self-esteem of seniors world-wide. (Bro. Glen is the first American 33rd Degree Mason to travel into space, having just achieved this degree in Washington DC on September 10, 1998.)

On December 6,1998, our Chaplain, W.Bro. Lloyd Abernethy (Founding Charter Member) was presented with his Honourary Membership Certificate for outstanding service to the Craft in general and to Universe Lodge in particular.

In July, 2002, R.W.Bro. Alan Birnie became the fourth member of Universe Lodge to be elected D.D.G.M. of Toronto District No. 4. (Bro. Birnie was sponsored/funded by Universe Lodge.)

In July, 2003, V.W.Bro. Brian W. Thomas was appointed Grand Steward.

In July, 2003, V.W.Bro. Cyril J. Garland was appointed Grand Steward.

On October 14, 2003, on behalf of R.W.Bro. Andrew Gilmour, V.W.Bro. Gordon McKenzie presented R.W.Bro.Bro. Gilmour's own RCAF officer's ceremonial sword to Universe Lodge for use by Inner Guard.

In November, 2003, our Historian, R.W.Bro. Clay Bradshaw was presented with his Honourary Membership Certificate for outstanding service to the Craft in general and to Universe Lodge in particular. (We are beholden to Bro. Bradshaw for his many years of loyal support and service to our lodge.)


SUMMARY

Over the years there have been many visitations by representatives of Grand Lodge and others who have regularly noted the high standards of masonic ritual work consistently performed by Universe Lodge. This is, no doubt, mainly due to a high proportion of our members being past masters who take great pride in their excellent performance of masonic work and guide and instill the love of same in junior members to carry on the tradition as a memorial to our brethren passed on to the Grand Lodge above.

Time has since proven "Universe" to be a well-chosen and distinctive name for a Masonic Lodge.



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