History of St. James

St. James Lodge 121
G.R. Manitoba A. F & A. M.
Instituted March 13th 1912
Mother Lodge #93 King Edward

This Lodge was instituted on March 13th 1912 by The Grand Master M.W. Bro  J. Wemyss. Our First Master was W. Bro. Joseph Cotter, a Past Master of King Edward Lodge. Our Senior Warden was Bro G. I. Armstrong the Rector of St. James Anglican Church a well respected member of the Community and was influential in establishing a meeting place for our Lodge in the Parish Hall of the Church, known as Roseberry Hall, where we met for the first 15 years. Unfortunately he died Suddenly on November 8th 1912.


Our First 5 Candidates were initiated on May 15th 1912

  • William McTavish Bannatyne
  • Herbert Chapman
  • BenjaminStockdale
  • John George Smith
  • John Watson


Brother Bannatyne was the son of A.G.B. Bannatyne, the first Senior Warden of Northern Light Lodge #1 in 1864.He served as WM. in 1917 and was the first WM of Sturgeon Creek Lodge #145 in 1924. Growth in the early years was low due to the world’s preoccupation to what we refer to as the Great War. Our membership in 1914 was 60 and 22 Served in our Armed Forces


Two paid the Supreme Sacrifice.
Bro.Sgt. Mjr. F.G.Robertson and Bro. Lt. S.S.Smith.

In 1922 the first appearance of The Choir. This Choir was originally organised to perform at our 10th Anniversary Meeting but they were so successful that the Choir continued for many years
In 1927 we held our Last meeting in Roseberry Hall and moved to Smith Hall on Portage Avenue. The owner of this three storey building was a Member of our Lodge, Bro Harris Smith. We held our meetings at this location for the next 47 years and for 43 of these years Mrs. Irene Dickson was our caterer and she never missed a meeting.

Large Gatherings were recorded on Anniversary Meetings;

  • 160 on our 25th Anniversary in 1937
  • 307 on our 40th Anniversary in 1952
  • 281 on our 50th Anniversary in 1962
  • 134 on our 60th Anniversary in 1972

Our membership peaked in 1960 with 321 on our roster.

In 1960, the Grand Lodge of Manitoba was presented with a Demit issued to Bro. John Palmer Bourke in 1818 by Wellington Preserving Lodge #20 of Montreal. It was presented by two Brothers, Trenwith & Arthur Bourke, both of whom are Past Masters of St. James #121. John Palmer Bourke was their Great Grandfather

In 1973 the hardwood floors of Smith Hall echoed the Bootheels of the R.C.M.P. Degree team who conducted the Third Degree, Master Masons degree with 187 Brothers in attendance.

In 1974 we held our First Meeting in Sturgeon Creek Masonic Temple, 2764 Ness Avenue where we have been Tenants of our Daughter Lodge ever since.

Our 75th Anniversary Meeting was attended by 91 Brothers in 1987.

Our Most Famous Brother was M.W. Bro Robert Eric Emmett.

  • Initiated at Ophir Lodge #112 in 1921
  • Joined us in 1934 and became our W.M. in 1940
  • DDGM in 1948-49
  • M.W. Grand Master of Manitoba in 1955-56
  • The Grand Historian from 1957-1975
  • Author of Masonry in Manitoba 1972
  • Received 50 Year Pin in 1971
  • 60 Year Bar in 1981
  • 70 Year Bar in 1991
  • 75Year Bar in 1996
  • Passed to The Grand Lodge Above August 31st 1996
  • 100 Years Old.

V.W. Bro Arthur Bourke was awarded the Grand Master’s Award for Meritorious Service in 1992. This award was for initiating and conducting the Masonic Forum,a monthly Educational Meeting for 16 years.

Bro. Walter Lindeblom was awarded the William Douglas Medal in 1995 for his contributions to his Lodge over a period of time. This award is not given to Past Masters.

Today, 2017, our Lodge Membership is 55 Strong and we are still active visiting other Lodges and receiving Lodges. The Decline of our Membership is partly due to the age of the majority of our Lodge.

Our Charitable Projects, directed mainly to The Grace Hospital has been a source of pride to our Lodge.

Composed originally by R.W. Bro. Richard Whitlaw,

Now Deceased.