A Brief History of Ontario West
At a meeting of the Grand Orange Lodge of British America, which took place June 1859 in Hamilton Ontario (then Upper Canada), a proposal by M.W. Bro. Ogle R. Gowan to create a supreme Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodges in Canada was made and subsequently adopted. The Grand Lodge adjourned to meet at Cobourg in August of that same year and at that same meeting, under the leadership of the Hon. John Hillyard Cameron the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of British America, the following took place.
The province of Ontario (then Upper Canada) was divided into two Grand Lodge jurisdictions, central Canada (Ont. East) and western Canada (Ont. West), while Quebec (then Lower Canada) was given the name of Eastern Canada. When an effort to secure one Grand Lodge for Ontario failed, it was proposed that there be three. This also failed. Another proposal was to locate the counties of Durham and Victoria in the western jurisdiction. This however did not happen and when the meeting concluded the province was divided as it is today.
The jurisdiction of what was then known as western Canada (Ont. West today) is given as follows; " That part of the province lying between a line drawn from the west side of the county of Victoria, south to lake Ontario in the East, to a straight line drawn north and south through Ignas on the C.P.R. in the west". The warrant was issued February 20th, 1860 and the first annual meeting took place in April of that same year in St. Catherines under the leadership of R.W. Bro. T.H. Buckley who was elected as the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Western Canada.
The name remained unchanged until 1867 when, with the act of confederation, Upper Canada became the province of Ontario and the Grand Lodge of Western Canada became the Grand Lodge of Western Ontario, After incorporation on September 11th 1891 it became as it remains today.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Ontario West
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Ontario West has participated at the Ontario International Ploughing Match for a number of years. This event takes place every year in different parts of the province and gives us the opportunity to meet the public through the venue of a booth which shows some of what we are doing as well as depicting some of our history.
The Georgian Bay Alliance, which is an integral part of this Provincial Grand Lodge, organizes the official annual Orange parade and is held in different locations each year. The location being determined by the host county that is sponsoring the parade on behalf of the provincial Grand Lodge. There are other parades such as the one organized by the county lodge of Toronto which has been ongoing for the past 178 years. The Orange parades of today are of course smaller than in the past years but they remain an important part of lodge events and are looked forward to with much anticipation.
Over the years since its early beginnings this Provincial Grand Lodge has been involved in many great issues which have taken place in the province of Ontario. Some of these are: the separate school question, bilingualism and any other government policies which could affect the lives of all Ontarians. In the past year, a petition was signed and forwarded to the provincial government of Ontario, seeking the reinstatement of the Lord's prayer in Ontario's public schools. Our aim has always been to ensure that fairness and equality can be enjoyed by all, with special privileges for none.
The preceding brief history has given you some information regarding the formation and philosophy of our Provincial Grand Lodge.
There are 18 county lodges, 95 primary lodges and 17 scarlet chapters, operating in our jurisdiction, promoting the Protestant faith and working for the good of our community.