In the Beginning…

To write about an event that occurred a century ago requires a great deal of research, inquiry and efforts on the imagination. Fortunately, our task was made easier by the Availability of the earliest minute books, the attendance records and the historical introduction printed in our book of by-laws.

These records show cold facts. They do not convey the reasons for the establishments of our lodge, or the ideals that prompted our founders to assemble for the purpose of establishing a new lodge. They do not reveal the aspiration, efforts and disappointments of the Worshipful Masters and Officers who labored so zealously to continue these ideals during the past one hundred and twenty five years.

A study of the occupations of the founding fathers of our lodge reveals that many were engaged in the food and beverage services. Bro. Henry Dunne, who served as our first worshipful master in 1877, 1879 and in 1889, was a well-known restauranteur and innkeeper who was the owner of the Terrapin Restaurant and Saloon where our first informal meeting took place. Bro. James Strahan, who sat as chairman at our first inaugural meeting and who ordered that minutes be written, was a baker and established a large bakery in Montreal under his name.

Because of this close association with these industries, many bartenders and tavern keepers became members of our order, and Corinthian Lodge gained fame and renown among the craft, as a friendly lodge that welcomed visiting brethren, and treated its guests regally.

We are proud of the fact that, ever since our formation, on the thirteenth day of January 1877, we have been under the sole guidance of, and have paid due obedience to, the laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge of Quebec. We have endeavored during all of our communications to maintain and uphold the true precepts and principals of our order.

On the eve of January 13th 1877, there gathered for an informal meeting at the Terrapin Restaurant and Saloon, situated on Notre Dame street West, the following brethren representing several lodges:

H. Dunne (Zetland Lodge no.7 Q.R.)
J. Virtue (Zetland Lodge no.7 Q.R.)
I. Richardson (Zetland Lodge no.7 Q.R.)
J. Usherwood (Zetland Lodge no.7 Q.R.)
W. Lane (Zetland Lodge no.7 Q.R.)
Z. Davis (Zetland Lodge no.7 Q.R.)
E. Cohenthaler (Zetland Lodge no.7 Q.R.)
R. Handsley (St. Lawrence Lodge no. 640 E.R.)
J. Martin (St. Lawrence Lodge no. 640 E.R.)
T. Howard (St. Lawrence Lodge no. 640 E.R.)
H. Bachlaw (Elgin Lodge no. 348 E.R.)

A. McGibbon (Elgin Lodge no. 348 E.R.)
W.S. Walker (Elgin Lodge no. 348 E.R.)
G. Weldon (Kilwinning Lodge no. 13 Q.R.)
R. Miller (St. Colombo Lodge no. 640 I.R.)
L. Kellert (St. George's Lodge no. 440 E.R.)
W. Rowan (Stevenson Lodge no. 218 C.R.)
M. Strenberg (St. George's Lodge Late no. 19 C.R.)
J. Strahan (St. George's Lodge Late no. 19 C.R.)
C. Reinhardt (St. George's Lodge Late no. 19 C.R.)
J. McLean (St. George's Lodge Late no. 19 C.R.)
A.G. Williams (St. George's Lodge Late no. 19 C.R.)

Bro. James Strahan was unanimously called to preside, and the Bro. Robert Miller was appointed secretary to record the minutes of this informal gathering.

It was agreed at this meeting that a petition be recorded by St. Georges Lodge No. 19 Late C.R., to be transmitted by the District Deputy, to the Grand Lodge of Quebec requesting from that august body a Warrant of Constitution to form a new lodge to be denominated " Corinthian Lodge ".

On March 1st 1877, by virtue of a " Letter of Dispensation " granted by the Grand Lodge of Quebec, the subscribing brethren again assembled by the Terrapin Restaurant and Saloon.

The following motions were moved and unanimously carried:

● That the initiation fee be $25.00
● That the affiliation fee be $5.00
● That the monthly dues be .50¢

That the regular communication of the lodge be held of the first Wednesday of each month.

That whenever a ballot takes places for a candidate for initiation, or affiliation, and two black balls appear, he shall be declared rejected.

The following Officers were then elected to preside until the regular slate of Officers were installed by Grand Lodge:

● W. Bro H. Dunne W.M
● Bro. R. Miller Secretary
● Bro. L. Kellert Chaplain
● Bro. T.J. Howard Treasurer

Then the W.M appointed the following officers:

● Bro. C.E. Weldon S.D.
● J. Martin J.D.
● H. Bachlaw J.W.
● Bro. R. Oursley S.W.
● J. Usherwood I.G.
● J. Virtue D. of C.
● Bro. Wm. Luce Organist
● E. Cohenthaler Steward
● M. Strenberg Steward

The brethren then moved and passed the following motions:

● That the sum of $5.00 be paid by each subscribing members.
● That regalia be procured for the lodge, ready for use at the April Communication.
● That Bro. James Virtue, the D. of C., be appointed to represent this lodge on the " Rooms Committee".
● That the printing for the lodge be executed by Bro. Wm. Stevenson..
● That the gift of a new set of working tools proffered the lodge by Bro. W. Wright be accepted.
● That the W.M. and Wardens appoint a committee to ascertain terms of rental of the lodge room, with power to act definitely.

The rooms committee executed their assignment very well, for the record shows that the first regular meeting of Corinthian Lodge U.D. was held at the Canadian Masonic Chambers, on Place d'Armes, on Wednesday, April 4th 1877. The lodge was opened by the District Deputy, R.W. Bro. Minn, who presented the Dispensation to the Grand Secretary to read. The P.D.D.G.M. introduced our W.B. Henry Dunne to the District Deputy as the newly nominated W.M. of Corinthian Lodge. W. Bro. Dunne was then inaugurated as the first Worshipful Master of our lodge.

It was regularly moved and carried that the slate of officers temporarily elected and appointed at the last communication, be approved and confirmed, and that the tentative by-laws presented at the last meeting, be adopted.

Corinthian Lodge U.D. convened regularly for the following months and, at the 8th Regular Communication, on November 7, 1877, the Officers of the Grand Lodge of Quebec in a beautiful and impressive ceremony, presented the Warrant to Corinthian Lodge, denominated No. 62 on the register of the Grand Lodge of Quebec.

Our lodge has convened regularly on the first Wednesday of the month ever since our inauguration. During the swine flu epidemic, in 1919, our meetings were curtailed, as a health measure.

Since 1913, when the Lodge was in its 36th year, it began to alternate its officers from Worshipful Master to Junior Steward, between brethren of the Christian and Hebrew faiths. The history of the lodge shows no motion of by-laws establishing this unique system, and our lodge is, we believe, the only lodge in the jurisdiction of Canada, that has obtained permission from its Grand Lodge to permit a member of the Hebrew faith to recite an obligation with head covered.

A study of the minute books dating back to the inception of the Lodge, illustrates in a heart warming manner, the way in which we have participated in the relief of the stressed Canadians in general and masons in particular, when properly called upon. This was in no means confined to brethren of the lodge or members of the district.

During the century of our existence, we have weathered the storms of wars and depressions. We have enjoyed the advantages of rich years and have suffered the disappointments of lean years. Our membership rolls have fluctuated from a low of 25 members to a high of over 460 members.

We have assembled among our ranks men of the highest caliber in the business, legal, technological, medical and religious fields, as well as laborers, workmen and farmers, indeed, from all classes of life, and occupations, believers in the true Masonic principles and ideals.

As we begin this new century, we look back with gratitude to our founding fathers to establishing a new lodge. To the Worshipful Maters of the lodge who toiled so arduously and diligently from the very first day of our existence to the present day, to support and maintain our order.

We look to the future with the same courage and faith that our 22 founding fathers showed 135 years ago, for we believe as they did, that it's within the power of fraternal masonry to further the brotherhood of men under the fatherhood of GOD.