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24 Famous Canadians You Didn't Know Were Freemasons part 1 of 3

by J. Paul Gomez June 30, 2019

24 Famous Canadians You Didn't Know Were Freemasons part 1 of 3

Tomorrow my adoptive mother Canada turns 152. As a family man and an immigrant (who became a citizen very recently), I am feeling an intense sense of gratitude towards this beautiful country and her citizens. I hope that everyone in my family lives up to the standards set by all good and law-abiding Canadian citizens and serve the country well. As a Freemason, I am feeling very proud to be a member of this Brotherhood (or Gentle Craft, as some Masons endearingly call her) that seem to attract men of respectable character. Us younger Masons will never run out of inspiring men to look up to.

Without further adieu, I present to you part 1 of 24 Famous Canadians You Didn't Know Were Freemasons.

  1. Sir John A. MacDonald – First Prime Minister of Canada

    John MacDonald Canadian Freemasons
    Tomorrow's celebration would have not been possible if not for this guy- Sir John Alexander Macdonald. The dominant figure of the Canadian Confederation, he had a political career that spanned almost half a century. He was the leading figure in the subsequent discussions and conferences, which resulted in the British North America Act, 1867 and the birth of Canada as a nation on 1 July 1867- a day that we now call Canada Day. He was a member of St. John's Lodge No. 758, Kingston, Ontario.

    Edit: I recently learned through a fellow Canadian Brother that the legacy of John A. Macdonald is wrapped in controversy
  2. John Molson – Founder of Molson Breweries

    John Molson Sr. Canadian Freemason
    Well, what would Canada Day be without a cold one? For that, we have Brother John Molson to thank. While his name is synonymous with the refreshing Canadian beer brand, did you know that he also built the first steamship and the first public railway in Canada? He was a member of St. Paul's Lodge, No. 374 UGLE in Montreal and served as Past Provincial Grand Master.
  3. James A. Naismith – Inventor of Basketball

    James Naismith Toronto Raptors Canadian Freemason
    On June 2019, everyone in Canada literally became basketball fans. But not many knew that the inventor of basketball was a Canadian. Even within the Masonic community, not many knew that he was quite an active Freemason (see that Square tool fob around his waist on the photo above- this indicates that he served as Master of his lodge).

    How did the game come to be? While looking for creative ways to keep his class of rowdy students pre-occupied, Brother Naismith invented an indoor game that is meant to provide an "athletic distraction" to keep track athletes in shape. Using a soccer ball and a peach basket, he created a game that later on became beloved all over the world! He was a member of Roswell Lee Lodge in Springfield, Massachusetts and affiliated with Lawrence Lodge No. 6 in Kansas City.
  4. Nathan Phillips – Beloved Toronto Mayor. Nathan Phillips Square was named in his honour

    Nathan Phillips Canadian Freemason Toronto City Hall
    Last year I had the privilege of delivering the 2nd Degree Final Charge to a Brother that is related to Brother Phillips. I arrived late and had a chit-chat with an elderly Brother serving as the outer guard that night. He told me a story that happened when he was a young man in his teens. A chance encounter with the white-haired mayor who spoke to him in such a way that made him feel mature and in charge of his own life. He attributed his quest to become a better citizen as well as his Masonic journey to Worshipful Brother Phillips.

    Canadian Freemasons Nathan Phillips Toronto New City Hall 1965
    Nathan Phillips is best remembered as the driving force behind the construction of Toronto's New City Hall and the selection of a striking avant-garde design by Finnish architect Viljo Revell. Nathan Phillips Square was named in honour of the mayor. Does the building look familiar to you? It's because it was featured on a number of Hollywood films such as Resident Evil: Apocalypse and The Sentinel.

    John Tory Nathan Phillips Square
    Mayor John Tory at the Nathan Phillips Square during the Toronto Raptors' NBA Champions Parade. 
  5. Tim Horton – Hockey Star and Businessman

    Tim Horton Canadian Freemasons
    As of late, it became fashionable among some Canadians to bash the ubiquitous Tim Horton's coffee and donut shop but nobody can't deny that it's an iconic brand that is synonymous with Canada. The founder Brother Miles Gilbert "Tim" Horton a.k.a. the likeable "Ice General" was considered by many as the "the strongest player ever to play professional hockey". He was a member of Kroy Lodge No. 676, Thornhill, Ontario. Kroy Lodge is still alive today. My mother lodge Doric No. 316 shares building with them.
  6. John B. MacLean – Founder of MacLean’s Magazine

    John B Maclean Canadian Freemason FraternalTies
    You see this magazine everywhere there's a newsstand in Canada. It was founded by Brother Lieutenant Colonel John Bayne Maclean. He was a member of Ionic Lodge No. 25 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This lodge is still around and I personally know some members. One of them, in particular, inspired me to be good at ritual delivery. Thanks, Brother Art D!
  7. Colonel R. S. McLaughlin – General Motors of Canada

    McLaughlin General Motors Canada Canadian Freemason
    Brother McLaughlin was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist. Founder and President of the McLaughlin Carriage Co. (later became General Motors of Canada). He developed and patented a fifth-wheel mechanism which greatly improved the comfort and safety of vehicles. He was a member of Cedar Lodge No. 270, Oshawa, Ontario and served as Grand Steward in 1945.
  8. Thayendanegea – The Noble Savage

    American Indian Freemason
    Brother Thayendanegea, meaning "he places two bets", or Joseph Brant was a Mohawk interpreter and war chief served who as Principle Chief of the Six Nations Indians. He famously saved the life of war prisoner Capt. John McKinstry, a member of Hudson Lodge No.13 of New York, after McKinstry gave him the Masonic sign of appeal at the hour of danger. They became friends for life and together visited the Masonic Lodge in Hudson, New York. Thayendanegea's portrait still hangs there.

    He translated the Gospel of St. Mark into the Mohawk language which was published in 1787. He received his Masonic degrees in either Falcon Lodge or Hiram's Cliftonian Lodge in London in April 1776. He had the distinction of having his Masonic apron given to him from the hand of King George III. He became affiliated with Lodge No. 11 at the Mohawk village at Grand River of which he was the first Master and he later affiliated with Barton Lodge No.10 at Hamilton, Ontario.

Stick around for parts 2 and 3.

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J. Paul Gomez
J. Paul Gomez


W. Bro. John Paul Gomez (aka Paul, JP, JPG) is an artist by trade and a full-time father-of-4. He currently serves as the W.M. for Doric Lodge No. 316 AF&AM in Ontario, Canada. He is a Senior DeMolay and an honorary member of Harmonie Lodge No. 699 F&AM in Buffalo, New York. He enjoys cooking, gardening, boxing and skateboarding.

2 Responses

Harold Rhyno
Harold Rhyno

January 07, 2021

Any male can become a mason. The qualifications are a man, of good moral character, who believes in one God, no matter what he calls his God. I have sat lodge with Native people, African Canadians and Americans, Arabs, Indians form India, Chinese, and Russians. All men are equal under one God in our Great Fraternity.

Eskimo Dave
Eskimo Dave

April 29, 2020

I didn’t know natives could become Mason’s.😳

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