St-John’s No. 21a

A.F. & A.M. G.R.C in the Province of Ontario (Instituted 1844)

Civic Address: 94 Main Street, Vankleek Hill, Ontario,
CanadaMailing Address: Box 519 Vankleek Hill, On. Canada K0B 1R0

Meets: First Tuesday  at 7:30pm
Except July and August

For more information contact:

V.W. Bro. Mike Purvis –

St Johns 21a


St. John’s Lodge No. 21a, G.R.C. is the oldest Lodge in The Eastern District of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario. It was Instituted by the Grand Lodge of Ireland as St John’s No. 159 I.R. on March 15th, 1844, and was present at the founding convention of the Grand Lodge of Canada at Hamilton Ontario in 1855 , but did not formally join G.R.C. until 1888. St. John’s was  the last of the “Irish Lodges” to join the Grand Lodge of Canada. It should be noted that St. John’s had requested that it be given No. 7a, 8 or 8a as representative of its’ age. The number  21 was the lowest number available at the time, the previous holder of that number having gone into darkness. The number 21a was  therefore issued .

Significant Dates in the History of St. John’s 21a

March 16, 1844
Initial charter issued to St. John’s Lodge # 159 under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Meetings were held at Bro. C. Ouimet’s hotel in Hawkesbury.

February 18, 1846
Following a reorganization, the meetings were moved to Bro. Robinson’s house at pleasant Corners where they met regularly until 1853.

October 14, 1853
It was resolved to relocate the Lodge to Vankleek Hill.

It was resolved to construct a building which was completed in 1860 and located on the west side of John Street just South the corner of what is now County Road 10.

April 29, 1870
It was resolved to sell the property to Bro. R.W. Lendrum for the sum of £50.By December 2nd the Lodge was renting premises from James Stewart (innkeeper) across the street at the southeast corner of Main and John Streets.

June 24, 1871
The lodge was relocated to the home of James O’Brien where, with permission from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, communication would be held in alternate years. During this period there was intense pressure to have St. John’s Lodge come under the wing of the Grand Lodge of Canada.

March 14, 1872
At this time R.W. Bro. Barbour, D.D.G.M. of Ottawa District, G.L.C. ruled that Lodges under his jurisdiction were not to admit as visitors, members of St. John’s Lodge and the secretary was directed to communicate with the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The discussions, motions, and counter motions as to which Grand lodge to belong to were to continue for many more years.

The Lodge moved into the Lodge Hall at L’Orignal and in 1874 the building was leased from John Miller.

November 26, 1887
After many surrenderings of the warrant and reversals, the following was passed. “Resolution passed 8-2 that the present warrant be surrendered and come under the Grand Lodge of Canada… It was also resolved to move to Vankleek Hill.”

December 27, 1887
Last meeting under the Irish Charter. Held at L’Orignal. Ontario.

December 18, 1888
R.W. Bro. David Taylor and other Grand Lodge of Canada officers were received with grand honours and warrants were exchanged.

The Lodge moved several times within Vankleek Hill. From the Orange Hall to McCallum Hall in 1898. Special meetings were sometimes held in Hawkesbury. The Lodge moved to Farmers block in 1910 and finally to the present location in 1930.

The Lodge purchased the present building from the Bank of Nova Scotia and transferred the property to the Town of Vankleek Hill in return for a 99 year lease. The building now houses the Champlain Public Library on the main floor with the lodge and banquet rooms on the second level.

September 2004
St John’s held a gala 160th anniversary dinner  where the guest of honor was M.W. Bro. Donald H. Mumby, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario.