Allied Masonic Degrees in Canada
The first mention of an AMD Council in Canada was (according to Prestige’s history) Badgley Council No. 9 in Montreal, Canada which was granted a charter by the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of England on June 10, 1884. It seems to have disappeared in 1893 or 1894.
The next appearance of the AMD in Canada is that Charles Fotheringham, who lived in Kitchener Ontario, called a group of seven interested brethren to his home on March 29, 1963. He had joined Grand Master’s Council “A” of the Grand Council of the AMD of the USA. From this start, Medwayosh Council U.D. (later #62) was instituted on July 13, 1963. Those eight members then brought in others and by the early 1980’s there were nine councils in Ontario. At least four other councils were being planned, including two more in Ontario, one in Winnipeg, Manitoba and one in Vancouver, British Columbia.
At this point it was suggested that the Constitution of the Grand Council of AMD of the USA did not authorize them to operate outside of the USA and several groups started planning for Grand Councils in Ontario and in Canada.
On July 28, 1982, a “General Assembly of Canadian Brethren AMD” was held in Toronto at the request of the SGM, M.Ven. Bro. William B. Smith with the Senior Grand Deacon, R.V.Bro. Raymond Loose, to act as his Commissioner. The Commissioner was to inquire into the advisability of the formation of an Association of Canadian AMD Councils. The meeting voted in favour of the formation of the Association and approved a draft set of bylaws.
The following were elected as officers of the new Association. Reg Forest-Jones (President), James Shaw (Vice-President) and Norman Robertson (Secretary). To mark the occasion, the SGM appointed three Canadian Brethren (R.Ven. Bros. Ronald Groshaw, Gerald O. Smith and Ralph Howard) to the honorary rank of Past Grand Senior Warden.
In Sept 1983, the Association published its first newsletter, The Architect. It was the brainchild of Ven. Bro Glenson Jones. The purpose was: to keep brethren informed of the AMD events occurring within Canada; to promote interaction and exchange of visits among our Councils; to encourage holding of field days for the exemplification of the AMD degrees; to provide a forum for the exchange of information and to publish extracts of papers.
On October 13, 1984, the Founding Convention of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of Canada took place in Toronto Ontario to which all Canadian Councils were invited. Eleven of the 19 Councils in Canada attended. Those were: Medwayosh #62, London #68, Ontario Shores #151, Capital City #154, Richmond Hill #168, Willowdale #170, Keystone #172, Scarborough #175, Peel #183, Yellowhead #187 and Bridge City #197. Twenty-two names had been submitted for the Ballot. After the ballot, the SGM, M.Ven. Bro. Charles Glassmire constituted the new Grand Council and Installed its first Grand Officers.
The first officers were: John Carson of London Council (SGM), Reginald Forest-Jones of Medwayosh Council (Dep.GM), Leslie Davies of London Council (S.G.W.), Glenson Jones of Capital City Council (J.G.W.), Allan Baumbick of Keystone Council (Board of G.P.), William Dixon of Scarborough Council (Board of G.P.), Thomas Berry of Yellowhead Council (Board of G.P.), Norman Robertson of Ontario Shores Council (G.Secretary-Treasurer), Harold Whalley of Keystone Council (S.G.D.), Marcus Klawieter of Richmond Hill Council (J.G.D.), Albert Sewell of Capital City Council (G. Chaplain), Russell Varley of Peel Council (G.D.of C.) and Peter Maydan of Yellowhead Council (G.Tyler). The new SGM appointed R. Ven. Bro. Glenson Jones as the first member of the Council of Nine Muses.
The Architect continued to be produced under the banner of the Association until 1989 when it was absorbed as a Committee of Grand Council.
It might appear that all the problems had been resolved but not quite. It came to light that certain AMD members had applied for, and had been granted, letters patent of “The Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of Canada in the Province of Ontario Incorporated”. This impasse was eventually resolved and the Corporation was dissolved.
The Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of Canada was Instituted on October 13, 1984 in Toronto Ontario. Eleven Councils, who had been chartered by the Grand Council of AMD of the USA, assembled to create the Grand Council of AMD of Canada and to elect the first Grand Officers.
On April 2, 1985, the Grand Council of England and Wales formally recognized the Grand Council of Allied Masonic Degrees of Canada.
The jostling for position that had accompanied the creation of the Grand Council had resulted in a number of disappointments, disagreements and alliances being developed. These worked themselves out over the next few years with the accompaniment of some heat and noise.
Over 30 AMD Councils have been created in Canada during the forty-five years since that meeting in Kitchener. Most of their individual histories are described in the 2009 Edition of The Architect. Some were very successful and some survived only a few years; some simply drifted into darkness while others amalgamated to produce stronger and more viable units.
Our Grand Council is still very young and, although there are still a few growing pains, the organization is stable. We have had a number of good leaders and should be proud of what we built.
1 A Century of theAllied Masonic Degrees by H.H.C. Prestige, CBE, MA published in London, England in 1979.
2 Centennial History of the Allied Masonic Degree of the United States of America 1892-1992 by William G. Peacher, MD, MA, PSGM, KGC.
Prepared by M. Ven. Bro. Glenson T. Jones, Capital City Council, #154. (For more details see the papers in the 2009 issue of The Architect.)