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The presence of Freemasonry in the Red River Settlement may be traced back to John Palmer Bourke who arrived with the second group of settlers in the summer of 1813.  He had arrived at York Factory the previous year and, because of their late arrival, had been forced to winter-over at that desolate place until the following spring.  He was a survivor of the Seven Oaks Massacre.  Following that battle he was arrested by the North West Company on the charge of having participated in the destruction of Fort Gibraltar and taken to Montreal for trial.  While there he became a member of Wellington Persevering Lodge No. 20 on the Register of Lower Canada.  He died just a few short years prior to the formation of Northern Light Lodge which took place in the fall of 1864.  Among the founding members of this Lodge were John Schultz, who was later to become Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Manitoba, A.G.B. Bannatyne, a prominent merchant, and William Inkster.  The formation of this Lodge was the beginning of organized Freemasonry in the Red River Settlement and, ultimately, in the prairie provinces of Canada.  Today approximately 2,475 Members of the Craft meet in the 44 Lodges spread out throughout Manitoba to practice their ancient ritual, study the symbolic meaning and history of the Craft, and determine ways or means to improve themselves, and contribute to their community.




“The origin of Freemasonry is one of the most debated, and debatable, subjects in the whole realm of historical inquiry. One has to distinguish between the legendary history of Freemasonry and the problem of when it actually began as an organized institution. According to Masonic legend, Freemasonry is as old as architecture itself.”    Prof. Francis A. Yates

The origin of Freemasonry has variously been attributed to a number of sources stemming from King Solomon, and the construction of the Temple at Jerusalem, to Euclid, or Pythagoras, The Patriarchal Religion, Moses, the Pagan Mysteries, the intellectual descendants of Noah, an institutional outgrowth of the medieval guilds of stonemasons, an administrative arm of the Priory of Sion, the intellectual descendants of the Roman Collegia, the German Steinmetzen, or the French Compagnonage, Oliver Cromwell, or the Stuart Pretender to the British Crown; Lord Francis Bacon,  to Sir Christopher Wren and the rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral.

In the ritual context Freemasonry employs an allegorical foundation myth - the foundation of the fraternity by the builders of King Solomon’s Temple.  Beyond myth, there is a distinct absence of documentation as to Freemasonry’s origins, which has led to a great deal of speculation among historians and pseudo-historians alike, both from within and from outside the fraternity.  Hundreds of books have been written on the subject.  Much of the content of these books is highly speculative, and the precise origins of Freemasonry may very well be permanently lost to history.  The scant evidence that is available, points to the origins of Freemasonry as a fraternity that simply evolved out of the Operative Lodges of the middle ages.





·  Sir John A. MacDonald - First Prime Minister of Canada
·  John B. MacLean - Founder of MacLean's Magazine
·  John Molson - Founder of Molson Breweries
·  General James Wollfe
·  John D. Eaton - President, T. Eaton Company
·  Gordon Sinclair - Journalist, Writer, CBC Broadcaster
·  James A. Naismith - inventor of Basketball
·  Hart Massey - Founder, Massey Ferguson Equipment
·  John Deifenbaker - Prime Minister of Canada
·  Harold Ballard - Entrepreneur and Businessman
·  Reveen - Canadian Entertainer and Hypnotist
·  Oscar Peterson - Musician
·  Duff Roblin - Premier of Manitoba
·  Peter Lougheed - Politican/businessman
·  William Davis - Ontario Premier
·  Douglas Campbell - Premier of Manitoba
·  Tim Horton - NHL Hockey Player & Businessman





·  George Washington
·  Thomas Jefferson
·  Benjamin Franklin
·  Franklin D. Roosevelt
·  John Wayne
·  Oscar Wilde
·  Harry Houdini
·  Voltaire
·  Mark Twain
·  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
·  Nat King Cole
·  Arnold Palmer
·  Ty Cobb
·  Willie Mays
·  Thomas Edison
·  Ludwig van Beethoven
·  Alexander Pope




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