Coming together is a beginning;
Keeping together is progress;
Working together is success.
On July 31, 1952, six inexperienced Master Masons met at the home of then Bro. Walter P. Ford (V.W. Bro. Walter P. Ford) to map out a program for the formation of a Lodge. Of these six Master Masons, only two remained to see success achieved, Bro. Ford and Bro. Probert. Nevertheless, this group stimulated enough interest in the District that within two weeks a list of 30 names was compiled and a meeting arranged for August 21, 1952 at the old Public School on Derry Road in Malton. The procedure and financing of a new Lodge was discussed and ad hoc committees were formed to examine specific items.
It was recorded in the minutes of the meeting held on December 10, 1953 that on a motion by W. Bro. Elwood Culham, seconded by Bro. Arthur Kirkwood, W. Bro. E.J. Carruthers was given unanimous approval to be the first Worshipful Master elect. The name “Astra Lodge”, coined by V.W. Bro. Walter P. Ford, previously presented at a committee meeting, was adopted unanimously, along with a sketch for the official seal, also designed by V.W. Bro. Walter P. Ford.
Astra Lodge was instituted on January 13, 1955, by the authority of M.W. Bro. Joseph A. Hearn, Grand Master, under the direction of R.W. Bro. Edgar F. Bevis, D.D.G.M. Toronto District “A”, assisted by thirteen Past Grand Lodge Officers.
W. Bro. Ernest J. Carruthers was installed as its first Master, W. Bro. James Case as Senior Warden and Bro. William S. Newsome as Junior Warden.
Over the years Astra’s presence and involvement in the old Toronto District 2 was second to none, which did not go unnoticed. The Lodge was rewarded with four District Deputy Grand Masters in the persons of R.W. Bros. Cyril N Davidson, J. Maurice Hamilton, David L. Smith and Errol A. Stewart. Likewise Eight Grand Stewards appointment V.W. Bros, Ernest J. Carruthers, Robert Cruise, Joseph M. Boak, Jack C. Wardlaw, Thomas P. Wells, Walter P. Ford, Frank Cammisuli and Geoffery Dowthwaite. The Lodge pride itself on the quality of its members and never on the quantity.
Mt. Dennis Lodge #599
The idea of forming a Masonic Lodge in Mt. Dennis (Weston) came up in a conversation between Bros. Herman T. Sproule, William T. Roberts and William McArthur in front of Dr. Sproule’s residence at the corner of Weston Road and Somerville Avenue. Each one of them knew of other masons interested in forming a lodge in the District. It was decided to contact them and meet in Dr. Sproule’s house on August 16, 1921.
This meeting was attended by fifteen brethren whose enthusiasm was so great that a meeting was scheduled to be held in Goddard’s Hall at 8.00 p.m. August 21, 1922. This second meeting was attended by forty four Master Masons and four well skilled brethren, R.W. Bro. A. J. Anderson, P.D.D.G.M. Stanley Lodge; R.W. Bro. R. B. Dargavel, D.D.G.M. , Toronto District No.11; W. Bro. W. L. Abernathy, W.M. , King Hiram Lodge and W. Bro. E. J. Redpath, W.M. , Palestine Lodge.
Several meetings were held at Goddard’s Hall and committee meetings at the home of William Roberts. It was decided that the first Worshipful Master would be R.W. Bro. Benjamin Blake Halladay, P.D.D.G.M. of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. The initiation fee would be $60.00; annual dues, first 6 months $5.00, last 6 months $6.00; non resident, first 6 months $2.50; last 6 months, $3.00; affiliation $15.00. The Lodge would be called Mt. Dennis lodge and would meet at the Annette Street Temple the first and Third Wednesday of every month. A Prayer of petition having being signed by thirty two brethren and duly forwarded to the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, M. W. Bro. Colonel W. N. Ponton, M.A. , K.C. of Belleville, Ontario through R.W. Bro. R. B. Dargavel, D.D.G.M. of Toronto District 11. The petition granting warrant of dispensation was received, the Instituting Ceremony was conducted by R.W. Bro. R. B. Dargavel on Monday evening February 27, 1922 with over 250 Masons in attendance. The Lodge was Constituted and Consecrated on Thursday November 30, 1922 by the Grand Master M.W. Bro. Colonel W. N. Ponton.
“The Remembrance Service has been held annually at the regular meeting in November since 1931, and remains one of the Highlights of The Lodge.”