Freema­sonry is the old­est and largest world wide fra­ter­nity ded­i­cated to the Broth­er­hood of Man under the Father­hood of a Supreme Being. Although of a reli­gious nature, Freema­sonry is not a reli­gion. It urges its mem­bers, how­ever, to be faith­ful and devoted to their own reli­gious beliefs.

The orga­ni­za­tion of Freema­sonry is based on a sys­tem of Grand Lodges, each sov­er­eign within its own ter­ri­tory. There is no cen­tral author­ity gov­ern­ing all Grand Lodges. How­ever, to be acknowl­edged by oth­ers, accept­able tra­di­tions, stan­dards and prac­tices must be maintained.

In our Province– the gov­ern­ing body is called the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. It is under the lead­er­ship of a Grand Mas­ter. He pre­sides over the 62,000 Masons who belong to one or more of the 625 lodges in our juris­dic­tion. Each of these lodges is under the direc­tion of a Master.

Masons are encour­aged to prac­tice char­ity in their daily lives. Char­ity is a tan­gi­ble way in which Masons help those whose cir­cum­stances in life fairly war­rant it.

The fra­ter­nity does not con­ceal its exis­tence, pur­pose, aims or prin­ci­ples. Masonic Halls bear­ing the lodge name and emblem are famil­iar sights in towns and cities through­out Ontario. Many mem­bers proudly wear Masonic insignia on rings and lapel pins.

As a fra­ter­nity, Freema­sonry pro­vides an oppor­tu­nity for men to meet and enjoy friendly com­pan­ion­ship. In the spirit of help­ful­ness and broth­erly love and guided by strict moral prin­ci­ples it encour­ages good­will toward all mankind. Freema­sonry is of a per­sonal nature in its pri­vate cer­e­monies. Its rit­ual dra­ma­tizes a phi­los­o­phy of life based on moral­ity. It pro­motes self-improvement. The tools of oper­a­tive masons are used to sym­bol­ize and teach the basic prin­ci­ples of broth­erly love, char­ity and truth of which Masons endeav­our to fash­ion their daily lives.

Our tra­di­tions can be traced directly to the asso­ci­a­tions of oper­a­tive masons. They were men of out­stand­ing char­ac­ter and high ideals, who built the cathe­drals, abbeys and cas­tles of the mid­dle ages.

With the decline of cathe­dral build­ing in the 17th Cen­tury, many guilds of stone­ma­sons, called “Oper­a­tive” masons, started to accept into their mem­ber­ship those who were not mem­bers of the masons’ craft and called them “Spec­u­la­tive” or “Accepted” masons.

It was in these groups, called lodges, com­prised mainly of “Accepted” masons that Freema­sonry, as we know it today, had its beginning.

In 1717, four such lodges, which had been meet­ing reg­u­larly in Lon­don, united to form the first Grand Lodge of Eng­land under the direc­tion of a Grand Mas­ter. From that first Grand Lodge, Freema­sonry has spread through­out the world. Today, some 150 Grand Lodges have a total mem­ber­ship of approx­i­mately four mil­lion Masons.

One of Freemasonry’s cus­toms is not to solicit mem­bers. How­ever, any­one should feel free to approach any Mason to seek fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the Craft.

Mem­ber­ship is for men, 21 years of age or older, who meet the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and stan­dards of char­ac­ter and rep­u­ta­tion, who are of good moral char­ac­ter, and who believe in the exis­tence of a Supreme Being.

A man who wants to become a mem­ber of a lodge must be rec­om­mended by two mem­bers of that lodge. He must under­stand that his char­ac­ter will be inves­ti­gated. After approval by the mem­bers of that lodge, he will be accepted as an appli­cant for mem­ber­ship in Freemasonry.

The doors of Freema­sonry are open to men who seek har­mony with their fel­low man, feel the need for self-improvement and wish to par­tic­i­pate in mak­ing this world a bet­ter place in which to live.

Any man who becomes a Mason is taught a pat­tern for liv­ing – rev­er­ence, moral­ity, kind­ness, hon­esty, depend­abil­ity and com­pas­sion. He must be pre­pared to hon­our his coun­try, uphold its laws and respect those in author­ity. He must be pre­pared to main­tain hon­ourable rela­tions with oth­ers and be will­ing to share in Masonic activities.

Pub­lished by
Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Canada

in the Province of Ontario

363 King St. W, Hamil­ton, Ontario L8P 1B4