History of Dominion Lodge

The following information was taken from the Lodge’s 75th Anniversary Program.
Thank you to all the Brethren who took the time to research this information.

Dominion Lodge Charter Members

Thomas William Teape
Edward Withinshaw
Henry Taylor
Arthur Gentle
William Woodruff Ward
Herbert B. Collins
David Porter
Albert Lionel Williams
Francis Taylor
James Sisson Slater
Alfred C. Woodard
Alfred Leonard
Henry Parsons
George R. Blanchett
Hugh Hume
James Murray
John Eakin
Mathew Mower
Harold V. Wootton
George Alfred Johnson
Charles M. Camroux

Dominion Lodge Officers 1920

Thomas William Teape – WM
Edward Withinshaw – SW
Henry Taylor – JW
Alfred C. Woodard – Chaplain
James Sisson Slater – Treasurer
Arthur Gentle – Secretary
Herbert B. Collins – SD
David Porter – JD
Albert Lionel Williams – SS
Francis Taylor – JS
Alfred Leonard – D of C
Henry Parsons – IG
George R. Blanchett – Tyler

Formation of Dominion Lodge

The first steps toward the formation of Domintion Lodge were taken in early 1920 by W.Bro. Thomas Teape and Bro. William Gentle, both under demit from Empire Lodge #63. There were then 11 craft Lodges in Edmonton, all with rather large memberships, and after discussions with a number of other demitted and unaffiliated Brethren, most of them also from Empire Lodge, it was agreed that it was time to form another Lodge in the City. A meeting of interested Masons was held on Saturday, April 24, 1920 at which it was decided that work should proceed towards that end and W.Bro. T.W. Teape was elected to be W.M., with Bro. E. Withinshaw as S.W., Bro. H. Taylor as J.W., and Bro. A. Gentle as Secretary. Bros. Teape and Gentle were given authority to make whatever other arrangements were necessary to proceed. Three of the 4 Lodge Rooms in the city were almost totally booked, but Acacia Lodge #11 very generously offered to let the new Lodge share their space in the Richards Block, 10424 – 82 ave until other arrangements could be made. The officers and members of Acacia Lodge extended much kindness, courtesy and assistance to the Brethren during the time of formation of the new Lodge, and this is specially mentioned in the records of the Dominion Lodge.

Accordingly, a petition was duly signed by 21 Brethren and approval was sought from the eleven City Lodges. The first six approached gave their approval, giving necessary majority, and on September 5, 1920 the petition was sent to the DDGM, R.W. Bro. Robert Moss, for his approval. This was quickly given and the latter send the Petition to the Grand Lodge Office for the approval of the Grand Master. On Sept. 24, 1920 notice was received that the approval had been given, and a final organizational meeting was held on September 29, 1920. Several important pieces of business were dealt with that evening: The name of the new Lodge would be Dominion (because consecreation of the Lodge would take place close to Dominion Day – July 1, 1921) Regular meetings would take place on the first Wednesday of each month at 8:00 pm with Emergent meeting on the 3rd Wednesday as needed. The name Harmony Lodge had been earlier selected, but was dropped because Dominion seemed more appropriate. The Lodge would practice the Canadian Rite. Initiation fees were set at $50.00 and annual dues at $10.00. At the same meeting, the other officers of the Lodge were elected, completing the list in the front of this booklet.

The standard code of bylaws was adopted, with necessary changes. Election of Officers to take place at the Regular meeting immediately preceding the Festival of St. John the Evangelist, that is, on the First Wednesday in December.

Plans were then made for the ceremony of Institution of the new Lodge, and Wednesday, October 6, 1920 was chosen for the auspicious occasion. R.W. Bro. Robert Moss, DDGM of District 10, was in the Master’s Chair for the ceremony of installing and investing the fist slate of officers in Dominion Lodge U.D. He was ably assisted by the other Grand Lodge Officers and officers from other City Lodges. This meeting was held in Acacia Lodge’s facilities in the Richards Block

The following fixed principles were agreed on for the Lodge:

1.To always maintain and uphold the true spirit of Masonry.
2.To always conform to the strict letter of the Constitution in all the Lodge’s undertakings.
3.To have no cliques or parties except one that is – Dominion Lodge itself.

It was unanimously felt that the dignified way in which the Institution was carried out got the new Lodge off to a good start. As mentioned earlier, the Lodge originally met on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month in the Richards Block on 82 ave. In February 1922 the meeting place was changed to the Masonic Hall, downtown on 102 St., and in May the meeting day was changed to the first and third Thursday. A replica of that hall may be seen at Fort Edmonton park. In February, 1925 a motion to move to Patricia Hall on 116 Street was defeated. In June 1925 the meeting dates were changed to the 2nd and 4th Wednesday, and have remained so to this day, and on September 9, 1931 the Lodge held its first meeting in the spanking new Central Masonic Temple, now known as Freemasons Hall, and continues to meet there. In 1991 and 1995, proposals were made to relocate the Lodge but both were rejected. Much of the Lodge Regalia and furnishings were donated by members of the Lodge, their families or members of other Lodges. Some of the records are not clear but these are some of the donated items.

1922 – Bro. A. Leonard donated the Wardens Columns (still in use) and 3 gavels. (see 1959)
1926 – The officers donated the Deacons and Stewards wands which are still in use
1926 – W. Bro. Archie McCurdy donated either the IG or Tylers sword, (the records don’t say which – neither is engraved) still in use
1927 – Bro. Ben Leibovitz donated the High Twelve gong – still used
1933 – Officers and side-benchers gave a set of music rituals.
1939 – W. Bro. Ernie Figg donated three wooden stands for the lesser lights
1944 – Bro. Joe Kallal gave the VSL for the altar
1956 – Bro. Ben Leibovitz gave a complete set of Officer’s collars which are still used
1959 – RW. Bro. Dave Penman (Patricia Lodge) Gave a hand made set of gavels, still in use.
1959 – W. Bro. herschal Bookhalter gave a set of metal stands for the lesser lights, still in use.
1960 – Bro. Bill Munawich donated the set of FC Degree squares.
1963 – Bro. Tom Robinson gave a hand made box for the collars, still in use
1966 – Bro. Ron Welch and Mrs. W. Harlan donated the WT and case in memory of W. Bro. Bill Harlan (WM in 1958)
1970 – October 14 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Lodge. R.W.Bro Alex Sollanych, W.Bro Andy Dingwall and W.Bro. Don Gardner presented the Altar cloth and Pedestal drapes, designed by W. Bro. Gary Beaver, still in use.
1974 – W.Bro. Bob Dingwall and Bro. Jim Dingwall gave the Squares & Compasses and marker ribbons for the VSL, in memory of their father, W. Bro. Andrew Dingwall (WM 1959) still in use
1980 – Bro. William Pridmore donated the hand-made Tracing board, still in use.
1981 – Mrs. Elizabeth Halliday gave the D. of C. Baton, in memory of her husband, Bro. Charlie Halliday, still in use.
2017 – WBro. Matt Evans donated new principal officer gavels after his year of serving in the East.

The Lodge has also made donations to other Lodges:

V.S.L and page markers to Balmoral, Sherwood and Griesback Lodges upon their Institution. Donated a Tyler Sword and set of compasses to St. Johns Lodge in Vegreville after disastrous fire destroyed their hall.

In 1931 we donated to the new Central Masonic Temple a Canadian Ensign, an electric clock and a set of Emblems of Mortality. The Lodge has been fortunate in having Degrees put on by a number of special Degree Teams, in addition to our own Past Masters and Side Benchers. These include RCMP Vets, Postal Employees, Masters of the City Lodges, RCAF, CN Rail, Shrine Oriental Band, Jewish Brethren, City Employees and others. The most frequent was the Edmonton City Police Team, which performed annually in March from 1949 to 1978, when shift rescheduling became to hard to juggle but it was held occasionally after that. W. Bro. Ernie Foster was in the Chair from 1949 to 1960.

Jewish Night was usually followed by Festive Board of Traditional Jewish foods, much enjoyed by all.

A variety of social functions have been held such as picnics, Family Nights, Camp-outs and so on. Ladies Night was an annual event from 1924 until the mid 1970’s, when interest waned. Various other events have been held since then to show our thanks for the support of our ladies and families.

The most popular social event has been our annual celebration of Dominion Night. The first celebration of the Lodge’s birthday on June 28, 1935 was planned by W.Bro. Ernie Figg, who was WM that year, and was called the Dominion Day Festival. This was so successful that it was decided to make in an annual event; it is still held each year on the fourth Wednesday of June.

In 1944, W. Bro. Ernie Foster took over planning and running the traditional feast of pancakes, bacon, ham and eggs, followed by a guest speaker. He continued in this capacity until the early 1970’s, when his health prompted him to turn over the stoves to younger hands. The event was free until 1975, when a fee of $2.50 was charged. At its peak upwards of 200 attended. Instead of Lodge members doing the cooking, the meal is now catered.

While every member of Dominion Lodge has made a contribution to the well being of the Lodge, some have given their time and talents to a very high degree and merit special mention. Bro. Benjamin Leibovitz, more familiarly known far and wide as Uncle Ben, ended half century as Treasurer of Dominion Lodge when he retired from office in 1975. He died at 95 in September 1981. RW. Bro. Ernie Foster’s contributions in starting the annual City Police Night, heading up the festivities for Dominion Night, served as Secretary from 1948 to 1962 and as DDGM of (then) District 19 for 1962/63 must be remembered. He died in January 1985 at 93yrs.

So you can see that Dominion Lodge has had a busy and interesting 75 years.

Post COVID-19 pandemic, Dominion Lodge was finally able to celebrate it’s centennial on March 26, 2022. It was a long anticipated event and was well attend by members across the jurisdiction.

The entire Lodge and Jurisdiction is looking forward to celebrating R.W. Bro. Donald Hart’s 80 year bar on September 8th, 2023 at the Al Shamal Shrine Centre.

In early 2023, Dominion Lodge voted in favour of relocating to Acacia Hall in Old Strathcona. Several members gathered on June 28, 2023 to move Dominion’s belongings and its first meeting back at Acacia Hall since 1920 is set to happen on September 13th 2023.