Victoria Lodge No. 56 - Sarnia, Ontario - Established 1854
Located at 245 Essex Street, Sarnia, Ontario N7T 4S3 our meeting is the first Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm
W.M. Art Payne
S.W. Marshall Kern
J.W. Rick last
SEC. Jamie Spelay
Victoria Lodge No. 56 - Whence Come We?
A Brief History
In 1854, two years before Sarnia was a Town and twenty-two years before Confederation, Victoria Lodge No 56 planted its Masonic roots in the fertile soil of Lambton County. Having held its first meeting in Port Huron, Michigan, it moved to Port Sarnia on August 7, 1854 in what was known as Canada West.
Warranted as Victoria Lodge 950 on the E. C., it became Victoria 47 under the auspices of the Third Provincial Grand Lodge (PGL) of Canada and achieved the status of Victoria Lodge No 56 under the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in the Province of Ontario. This means that Victoria Lodge has worked under three Grand Lodges and was there in the midst of the foundation of what was to become the very Grand Lodge under which we all function to this day. Victoria’s original warrant, under the Third Provincial Grand Lodge, was actually signed by Sir Allan Napier McNab who was the first Prime Minister of Upper Canada in 1830. The original 1854 seal of Victoria Lodge is still in the Victoria Archives at the Masonic Hall in Sarnia. It bears the likeness of a young Queen Victoria.
Association with the founding fathers of Canada and Sarnia/Lambton was the norm for Victoria Lodge. It can proudly count as its first Master none other than William Penrose Vidal, a prominent lawyer in his time and whose name graces a well-known street in Sarnia. Thomas Forsythe, the first Mayor of Sarnia is also numbered among the brethren of this historic lodge of Freemasons and also has a street named after him. Other street names that are associated with Victoria Lodge and Masonry are Cameron, Mackenzie, Durand and Mitton. All in all, eleven Mayors have been members of Victoria Lodge as well as five Wardens of the County and eight members of parliament. Victoria Lodge can count among its brethren many of Lambton County’s founders who helped bring Sarnia to prominence through the years.
Indeed, the cornerstone of the Sarnia General Hospital was laid by the Masons of Victoria. The first Board of Directors of this institution was made up of Judge John H. Mackenzie, Charles Mackenzie and Dr. Thomas W. Johnston who were all members of Victoria Lodge. Dr. Johnston was also at one time, the Mayor of Sarnia. Victoria Lodge has also had a hand in the work of Grand Lodge over its history with thirty of its brethren wearing the gold and blue of Grand Lodge officers. We also take great pride in Bro. Clarence Atmore, our brother who was awarded theWilliam Mercer Wilson Award in 1969.
It is with considerable pride that Victoria Lodge looks back over its long and honourable history and recognises that certain of its brethren have contributed to the very foundations of many of our most cherished institutions and played substantial and active roles in the growth of Sarnia/Lambton. As it is today, in the new millennia, 150 years from its humble beginnings in Port Sarnia, it is safe to say that the roots of Victoria Lodge and Masonry are very deep and very well established. Even after a fire in 1867 that saw the destruction of its property and, most importantly its warrant, Victoria Lodge rose from the ashes of its misfortune to reassert itself as one of the foremost lodges in the SarniaDistrict and it continues to do so to this very day. It can truly be said that we are limited only by the degree of our own willingness to assure that Masonry continues to maintain as prominent a place as it has in the past in Sarnia Lambton. Victoria Lodge No 56 is very proud to have had the opportunity and consideration of its brethren to play such an esteemed role in Freemasonry in Sarnia for 150 years.
By W. Bro. Paul J. Pinel