In the year 1920, immediately after the first World War, there was a great influx into Masonry and a group of Masons from the Willys Overland plant (a pioneer and manufacturer of the Jeep 4 wheel drive vehicle) situated in West Toronto, feeling there was a need for a new Lodge in this area, formed themselves into a committee for that purpose.
This group was headed up by W. Bro. W.L. Abernathy of Stanley Lodge # 426, Toronto and ably assisted by W. Bro. W.L. Clark and Bro. J.G. Bruce, both of Victoria Lodge, Toronto.
Having fulfilled all the necessary requirements, the Institutional Meeting of King Hiram Lodge, U.D., G.R.C., was held in the Annette Street Temple on April 29th, 1920.
After the dispensation, the Most Worshipful,The Grand Master, M.W. Bro. F.W. Harcourt authorized W. Bro. W.L. Abernathy and Charter Members to meet as a Lodge to be known as “King Hiram”.
On the 15th day of November, 1920, the Lodge was duly instituted and consecrated. W. Bro. W.L. Abernathy was installed in the Chair of King Solomon and the Officers were invested to their several stations in King Hiram Lodge #566, on the register of Grand Lodge.
The name “King Hiram” was selected as being the most suitable to fulfill the hopes of the petitioners which was to build a strong Lodge appropriately named after King Hiram Abif the chief architect and overseer of the building of King Solomon’s Temple.
It was resolved that the Initiation Fee be set at $ 75.00, the Affiliation Fee at $15.00 and the Annual Dues at $6.00. The Tyler’s salary was set at $100.00 per year.
The Worshipful Master appointed a Visiting the Sick Committee, a Musical and an Entertainment Committee. A committee to set up the by-laws, a committee to arrange for a Ladie’s Night and a committee to arrange for and provide Christmas Entertainment.
The first candidate to be initiated was Mr. John Rutherford on June 4th, 1920.
The Work for the year consisted of 42 – E.A. Degrees, 32 – F.C. Degrees and 19 – M.M. Degrees.
The first King Hiram Ladie’s Night was held in the form of a reception in the banquet room. An honorarium was established to pay the Secretary $150.00 per year for his services. A special emergent meeting was held on Saturday, February 8th, 1922 to conduct 15 Master Mason Degrees which beat the previous record by one Degree. The Worshipful Master and brethren attended at the laying of the foundation stone at the Weston Masonic Temple. On March 19th, 1924, W.M. B.H. Capsey had the pleasure of initiating his son, Vincent Bertram Capsey into the First Degree of Masonry. It was adopted that the Lodge present to each candidate the Volume of the Sacred Law on which his obligation was sealed. An annual picnic was held at High Park. A committee was appointed to request the Temple Board to install a pipe organ in the Lodge Room and a piano in the Banquet Hall. King Hiram visited Niagara River Lodge in Niagara Falls, New York and on a return visit the Worshipful Master of Niagara River Lodge presented our Lodge with a gavel which had been made from a piece of oak from the Old Fort Niagara.
A new Lodge was instituted in the Annette Street Temple, named Memorial Lodge, in which many of the members of King Hiram were involved. W. Bro. Gordon James is installed as Worshipful Master being the first Master of King Hiram who was initiated into the Lodge, all others being Charter Members. Grand Lodge institutes an “Unemployment Bureau” under the Masonic Board of Relief due to the economic circumstances. In May 1935, we celebrated our 15th Anniversary. The creation of a Members Night was established and the ruling Master and W. Bro. Gately of Memorial Lodge conducted the Ceremony. In 1936, Ladies Night was postponed due to the death of King George V and the Grand Master requested a three month mourning period be observed. In 1938, with deep regret we recorded the death of W. Bro. W.L. Abernathy one of the founders and the first Master of King Hiram Lodge.
It was resolved that the dues of all members enlisting in the Armed Forces be waived.
To support the war effort, Grand Lodge inaugurated a Fund for War Relief to be contributed to by members at large through the various Lodges. King Hiram purchased 3 $100.00 Victory Bonds and a further purchase in the amount of $350.00. Past Master, W. Bro. Fred Adams was honoured by the King as a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his work in the supply of munitions. It was decided to send Christmas gifts to our members in the Forces. Bro. S.D. Shaw is installed in the Chair of King Solomon and initiates his son, Duncan Shaw and W.A. Bruce son of Bro. J.G. Bruce, the first Secretary of our Lodge. In 1945, we celebrated our 25th Anniversary. Our Grand Master requests us to hold a Thanksgiving Service for our victory in Germany. Bro. R.F. Wright is installed in the Chair of King Solomon. November 1st, becomes known as “Charlie Tottle” Night due to his reaching his 80th birthday and also for his long service to the Lodge. Bro. C.V. Tottle was elected Secretary in 1926 and served until his death in 1950. Bro. Wm. McBurnie returns to Lodge after serving 7 years overseas in the Armed Forces. W. Bro. Wm. Gow is appointed Grand Steward. Installation Night changes from January to December due to the continual bad weather conditions in January. It was approved that the Tyler’s pay be $2.50 per meeting.
W. Bro. E.D. Magett appoints Bro. Joe Kemp as Chaplain and Bro. Doug Wright as Ass’t. Secretary. R.W. Bro. Floyd Albertson is honoured for his 23 years of service as Treasurer and his work in the Lodge since its inception. Bro. A.E. (Ed) Dyer is installed in the Chair of King Solomon. Two minutes silence was observed in respect to his late Majesty, King George V1.V.W. Bro. S.D. Shaw was congratulated and presented the Regalia of Grand Steward. Meetings and discussions were held regarding the division of Toronto District A. At Grand Lodge it was decided to split the district into two districts, A1 and A2, to take place in 1955. A donation was presented to River Park Lodge to help in the rebuilding of their Temple due to the damage suffered by Hurricane Hazel. In July, 1955, Grand Lodge celebrated its 100th meeting. An open air service was held at Exhibition Park with over 2,500 in attendance. Mr. R.J. Elrick is initiated into King Hiram Lodge. V.W. Bro. Bill Gow presents V.W. Bro. Archie Wright with his Regalia of Grand Steward. Bro. Joe Kemp is installed in the Chair of King Solomon, his father Bro. J.T. Kemp presents a gift on behalf of the family.
Bro. Doug Wright is installed in the Chair of King Solomon by his father ,V.W. Bro. Archie Wright. This is the first time in the history of the Lodge that a father has installed his own son. The Metro Police Team confers the E.A. Degree on Mr. Robert N. Wilson. V.W. Bro. Archie Wright presents Grand Steward Regalia to V.W. Bro. Reg Wright. King Hiram members and ladies initiate visitations to William S. Farmer Lodge #1109 in Syracuse, New York. Mr. Lewis Crocker passes a Board of Trial and is accepted as a candidate for Initiation. W. Bro. Sam Wright is Installed in the Chair of King Solomon. Dues increase to $22.00. Father and Son night featured Johnny Bower of the Toronto Maple Leafs. W. Bro. A.E. (Ed) Dyer is elected D.D.G.M. of Toronto District #1. The following year Father and Son night featured Leo Cahill, coach of the Toronto Argonauts. Bro. Robert Elrick presents a D of C wand to the Lodge in memory of his father, Bro. Robert Elrick Sr.
In 1970 we celebrated our 50th Anniversary. Father, Son and Daughter night featured entertainment and movies. V.W. Bro. Archie Wright passed to the Grand Lodge Above. V.W. Bro. Bill Gow, 41 years a Past Master of King Hiram is the first member to receive a 50 year service pin. Bro. Sam Hough of Danville, California visits and later affiliates with King Hiram after moving to Toronto. Bro.’s Lloyd Lemoine and Ernest Roy Imrie receive 50 year pins. Bro. Arnold Sinclair continues to deliver profound lectures when presenting the Candidates Bible. Father and Son night features Darryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Lodge members enjoy memorable cruises with Bro. Bill Rhyme aboard the “Lomar”. Visitations with King Hiram Lodge #37, Ingersoll are initiated. Visitations continue which result in the creation of the King Hiram Friendship Gavel. The Rt. Hon. Chief Justice James C. McRuer of King Hiram Lodge receives a 50 year pin. Dues increase to $80.00. Bro. James Rushford Sr, is presented a plaque for his service to King Hiram as Chaplain and his 57 years in Masonry. V.W. Bro. Joe Kemp is appointed Grand Steward. Bro. Ron Padgett entertains regularly on the organ with great talent, artistry and his well known humour.
Our 60th Anniversary. V.W. Bro. Doug Wright is appointed Grand Tyler and is presented with his fathers regalia, V.W. Bro. Archie Wright. Bro. Aubrey McGill is presented a plaque for his devotion as Chairman of the Benevolent and Sick Committee. V.W. Bro. Joe Kemp and V.W. Bro. Doug Wright are honoured for their many years of service as Secretary and Treasurer of the Lodge. Members Night tradition continues with Bro. Henry Strackholder being Initiated. King Hiram makes a donation to the Barbara Turnbull Fund. W. Bro. Ernie Morrison is appointed as Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. Annual dues increase to $65.00. W. Bro. Robert N. Wilson is honoured and presented his Grand Steward Regalia by W. Bro. George Owttrim. A year later V.W. Bro. Robert N. Wilson is presented a plaque in recognition of his service to Masonry and King Hiram Lodge. The first District Walkathon takes place and proves to be very successful. W. Bro. Alistair Clement initiates his son, Mr. Graham Clement into King Hiram. Bro. Aubrey McGill is awarded the prestigious William Mercer Wilson Award. M.W. Bro. William R. Pellow, Grand Master attends the Installation Ceremony of Bro. Edward Grinko being placed in the Chair of King Solomon. King Hiram hosts the District Education which features St. John’s Lodge #209 from London, Ontario. King Hiram hosts a special Appreciation Night for all Past D.D.G.M.’s of Toronto District #1.
Bro. Tom Thompson visits from Scotland to share the Installation Ceremony with his brother, W. Bro. Hugh Thompson. W. Bro. Sam Wright is honoured and presented with the Regalia of Assistant Grand Secretary. Bro. Rick Morell is Installed in the Chair of King Solomon. King Hiram donates $1000.00 to the Runnymede Chronic Care Hospital Fund. W. Bro. Sam Hough passes to the Grand Lodge above. R.W. Bro. A.E. (Ed) Dyer is presented a 50 year service pin. Bro. John Kikiantonis is awarded the Canada 125 Year Award Medal. W. Bro. Edward Grinko launches the district newsletter, “The Blue Print”. W. Bro. Robert Langzik and Bro. Aubrey McGill pass to the Grand Lodge above. V.W. Bro. Robert Wilson is appointed Grand Lodge Representative to the Grand Lodge of Utah. Memorial Lodge #652 affiliates with King Hiram Lodge. W. Bro. Lew Crocker is appointed Grand Steward. W. Bro. Rick Morell serves a second term as Worshipful Master. Bro. Earl Walsh is Installed in the Chair of King Solomon. In 1995 we celebrate our 75th Anniversary. A full year of celebrations and activities is planned including a Gala Anniversary Dance. Bro. John Kikiantonis is Installed in the Chair of King Solomon by V.W. Bro. Sam Wright who substituted for W. Bro. Edward Grinko due to the death of his wife. 50 year pins are presented to V.W. Bro. Doug J.B. Wright, V.W. Bro. Ed Wilkings, Bro. George Cowie and Bro. John Cholmomdeley. 25 year Past Master pins are presented to W. Bro. Proctor, R.W. Bro. Ed Dyer, V.W. Bro. Joe Kemp, V.W. Bro. Doug Wright, V.W. Bro. Ken McLean, W. Bro. Fred Twitchin, Sr., V.W. Bro. Sam Wright, V.W. Bro. Bill Hunter and W. Bro. Doug Kelman. W. Bro. Earl Walsh is Installed in the Chair of King Solomon for a second time by W. Bro. Lew Crocker. The following year Bro. Bill Wingrove is Installed in the Master’s Chair by W. Bro. Earl Walsh. V.W. Bro. Sam Wright is also Installed as Worshipful Master for his second time, 32 years later and initiated Bro.’s Scott Hoy, Ben MacDonald and Dusty Markle. We were saddened with the passing of V.W. Bro. Doug J.B. Wright to the Grand Lodge Above. W. Bro. Rick Morell is Installed in the Chair of King Solomon by W. Bro. Hugh Thompson.
A New Millennium
2000 – 2005
Bro. Aaron Williams is Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. A special night and reception is held for R.W. Bro. Earl Walsh who was elected D.D.G.M. of Toronto District #1. Bro. Ken Mullings is Installed in the Chair of King Solomon by his friend and mentor, W. Bro. Hugh Thompson. V.W. Bro. Hugh McKnight is made an honourary member of the Lodge. A reception is held to present W. Bro. Robert Elrick with his Grand Lodge Regalia. Mr. Stephen Brode is Initiated into King Hiram Lodge. A special meeting is held at Central Park Lodge to congratulate Bro. Imrie on his 102nd Birthday and his 80 years a Mason. W. Bro. John Kikiantonis is Installed as Master for a second time and also re-accepts the Office the following year. W. Bro. Kikiantonis enjoys the honour and pleasure of Initiating his son, Emmanuel into Masonry. Mr. Andrew Adamyk is Initiated into King Hiram Lodge. A memorial was conducted for V.W. Bro. Robert Elrick and R.W. Bro. Robert Wilson who passed to the Grand Lodge Above. V.W. Bro. Bill Hunter receives his 50 year pin. W. Bro. Hugh Thompson passes to the Grand Lodge Above. W. Bro. Edward Grinko is Installed as master for a second time and enjoys the distinct pleasure of Initiating his son, Christopher. Mr. James Berry is also Initiated into Masonry. The Secretary’s honorarium is raised to $500.00. V.W. Bro. Ed Wilkings is made a life member of King Hiram Lodge. W. Bro. Rick Morell is Installed for the fourth time as Worshipful master. King Hiram Lodge is now in its 85th year. Mr. Daniel Berube and Michael Bonner are Initiated and Bro. Antonio Texeira is Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. A special evening was conducted for W. Bro. Ken Mullings to celebrate his retirement and his return to Jamaica.
The intervening years between 1920 and 2005 have been momentous years of change in the History of the World.
Consider the Twenties, an era of building following World War I. The Depression of the Thirties. The conflict and hardship encountered due to World War II. The united efforts of rebuilding throughout the Forties and Fifties. The social changes and struggles throughout the Sixties and Seventies. The boom of the Eighties, the recession of the Nineties and the dreams and expectations of a new Millennium.
The years have also seen many changes in King Hiram Lodge. We have witnessed and shared in the lives of many of the Men who have been instrumental in the creation of and continuation of our Lodge.
Throughout the years the spirit of Masonry has always been kept alive and we have at all times remembered the wishes of our Founders, to uphold the basic principles on which the Lodge was established, “to keep this a friendly Lodge and to show true Brotherhood to All”. Our strength in the past has been in the dedication, loyalty and respect, for our Lodge by the many men who have affixed their signatures to our By-Laws.
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
footprints on the sands of time
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
* Reprinted from the King Hiram Lodge #566 “Consecration Night” Booklet, November 15, 1920