The first Masonic meetings in Ontario were probably held by Lodge No. 156 attached to the Eighth Regiment of Foot at Fort Niagara between 1775 and 1780. On March 7, 1792, Brother William Jarvis was appointed Provincial Grand Master of Upper Canada by the "Ancient" Grand Lodge of Canada. He angered the Brethren, however, by refusing to assemble the Grand Lodge at Niagara, and they met together in 1803 and elected Brother Forsyth Provincial Grand Master. The other Lodges in Ontario attended meetings of a Grand Convention under Brother Ziba M. Phillips during the years 1817 to 1822.
Harmony seemed in sight when Brother Simon McGillivray arrived in September of 1822 with authority to reorganize the Craft in Upper Canada. A second Provincial Grand Lodge was formed and met regularly from 1822 to 1830 when it became dormant owing to the Morgan excitement which even here had a widespread influence. In 1845 a Third Provincial Grand Lodge was organized and continued work until 1858.
A Grand Lodge was formed by Irish Lodges in 1853. After all these attempts at creating a governing body, finally, on October 10, 1855, the Grand Lodge of Canada was established at Hamilton by representatives of forty-one Lodges. Brother William Mercer Wilson was elected Grand Master. The Provincial Grand Lodge of England met and became an independent Grand Lodge in 1857. Next year, however, it united with the Grand Lodge of Canada. The Quebec Lodges withdrew in 1869 to form the Grand Lodge of Quebec and in 1886 the Grand Lodge of Canada added the words "in the Province of Ontario" to its title.
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