The present County Orange Lodge of Toronto was formerly a District Lodge in the original County of York. At the County of York meeting in February, 1859 held in Holland Landing, the County of York was divided into four counties; namely, York East, York West, York North and Toronto. There were 96 brethren present at that meeting, the largest meeting of the County of York up to that time. The motion to divide the County into four was to properly reflect the federal electoral districts at that time. The motion was put by Brother Rev. Harry Bath Osler and seconded by Brother Harcourt P. Gowan and passed unanimously.
The Notice Calling First Meeting
The following advertisement published in The Patriot called together the first meeting of the County Orange Lodge of Toronto.
Loyal Orange Institution of British America
County Lodge of Toronto
“Notice is hereby given to all whom it may concern that the approval and ratification to form the County Orange Lodge of Toronto has been duly received. And in accordance with the vote of the last meeting of York County Lodge, the annual meeting for 1860 shall be held in the George Street Orange Hall, in this city on Monday the 6th day of February next, commencing at half-past seven o’clock p. m. Of all which every brother concerned will take notice and govern himself accordingly. The lodge will, as usual, be opened in the Royal Arch Purple Mark Degree.
God Save the Queen
F. Medcalf W.M.275 – County Master H. P. Gowan W.M.4 – County Secretary
Lodges Composing the County of Toronto
The lodges composing the County of Toronto, therefore, in 1860 were No.’s 4, 136, 137, 140, 212, 275, 287, 301, 328, 375, 396, 404, 506, 551, 588, 621, 657 and 781. The total membership was 1140 an average of 60 members to each lodge. It is noted here that the warrants of four of these lodges (4, 136, 137 and 140) pre-date the incorporation of Toronto itself in 1834.
The first officers of the County Orange Lodge of Toronto were as follows: Francis H. Medcalf, County Master; James Burns, Deputy County Master: Robert Bell, Chaplain; Harcourt P. Gowan, Secretary;John Carr, Treasurer; W. Nichols, Director of Ceremonies; John Rogers, County Proxy.
Following Brother Medcalf, William Adamson filled the chair of County Master for 19 years to January, 1880, when he was succeeded by Brother E. F. Clarke, followed by Worshipful Brothers Frank Somers,William Bell, H. A. E. Kent, J. L. Hughes, John McMillan, W. D. McPherson, John Hewitt andHarry Lovelock.
The County Orange Lodge grew significantly for the next several years and was sub-divided itself into three District Lodges (Centre, Eastern and Western) in 1876.
Submitted by John Wells – County Secretary – Feb 28th/2011
Source: “Reminiscences of Toronto Orangeism” Article by Harry Lovelock (County Master 1900 – 1902) and taken from the 1902 Toronto County Parade Programme.
The article was republished in the 2010 Toronto County Parade Programme.