The initial steps for the creation of Park Lodge 63 began over a century ago in the rural Central Park area of Burnaby. The City of Burnaby is named after MW Bro. Robert Burnaby, PGM. Who was instrumental in the founding of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon.
A number of Freemasons considered the time appropriate and W. Bro. William W. Burke, for whom Burke Street in Burnaby is named after, initiated a meeting which was held in the Central Park Agricultural Hall on the 18th.of April, 1911 to discuss the matter. The question of the formation of a lodge was fully discussed and it was decided to proceed with the necessary steps to constitute a Lodge at Central Park. The name of Park Lodge was adopted because of its proximity to Central Park.
On July 4, 1911, permission was sought from Francis J. Burd; the then Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia, Burd was the publisher of the Province newspaper at the time, to hold a lodge of Instruction. Permission was granted and on Monday, Sept.11th, 1911 Park Lodge held its first meeting in rented premises at Inman and Westminster Road.
At the meeting of Grand Lodge in June 1912, the petition for a warrant was favorably received, and on the 11th, day of July, 1912, Park Lodge was duly constituted. During this period temporary arrangements were made with the Central Park Agriculture Society for the use of their hall.
Park Lodge continued to meet in these premises until September 14, 1914, when the Lodge moved to more convenient premises at Park Ave (now Boundary Rd.) and Kingsway. The new Lodge Hall was dedicated by the Grand Master James Stark on the evening of Sept.14, 1914. This property was owned by Charles G.L. Reid a Realtor and member of Park Lodge who remodeled it to accommodate Park Lodge. Reid had his real estate office on the lower level of the premises at that time.
On Monday evening, October 13th, 1924, a Lodge meeting was held and shortly after 1 a.m. that morning a disastrous fire destroyed the Lodge Hall and all its contents including all Lodge records and furnishings with the exception of a minute book, the square and compasses which was found among the ashes. In June 1925 the Lodge moved to their newly rebuilt premises. Park Lodge purchased the property from Charles Reid in April 1951 and remained at this location until 1974 when it sold the property to B.C. Telephone Company for their new headquarters which is named after Chairman of the Board and a Freemason Brian Canfield. His predecessor Lyn Patterson was also a Freemason.
Another memorable event in the history of Park Lodge took place on September 27th, 1993 when the Lodge hosted an Ancient Table Lodge that was conducted by the presiding Grand Masters of Washington, Alberta and British Columbia. Guest’s that evening included RW Bro. Peter Wong, District Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Hong Kong and the Far East and RW Bro H.H. Leviston, of the United Grand Lodge of England.
Meanwhile, W. Bro. M. R. Wells and a number of brethren from Acacia Lodge #22 who were resident in the Eburne and Point Grey areas, then suburbs of Vancouver, saw a need for a Lodge in the Eburne area. The Eburne area included what is now Marpole and the North East area of Sea Island, now the site of the Vancouver International Airport, areas.
They met in the early fall of 1912 to consider the formation of a Masonic Lodge in that district. Their unanimous decision was that a Lodge should be formed and on December 26th, 1912, a petition for dispensation to form a Lodge was presented to Most Worshipful Grand Master John M. Rudd.
The first meeting, as a Lodge of Instruction, was held in the I.O.O.F. Hall in Eburne, B.C. on February 27th, 1913. Most Worshipful Brother F. Bowser, P.G.M. presiding. The following were appointed and other preliminary matters considered: Worshipful Master -- Worshipful Brother M. R. Wells, Senior Warden -- Worshipful Brother John Gavin, Junior Warden -- Brother L. J. M. Darcy.
The Grand Master considered the petition and on May 26th, 1913, he issued a dispensation to form the Lodge to be known as Mount Lebanon Lodge U.D. On May 30th, 1913, the work was exemplified to the satisfaction of the D.D.G.M., Right Worshipful Brother W. C. Ditmars, who then, ably assisted by Most Worshipful Brother F. J. Burd, I.P.G.M., invested the officers.
The first candidate initiated was Brother Samuel G. Churchill, a local merchant. He was the postmaster at the Eburne Post Office 1894-1903, and a director of Greenwood Canning Company. He became a councillor in Point Grey, 1909-11 and served as Reeve (Mayor) in 1913 and 1914. Churchill Street in Vancouver is named after him. The degree was conferred by Most Worshipful Brother F. Bowser, P.G.M.
Mount Lebanon first met in the I.O.O.F. Hall in Eburne, just east of what is now the Metro Theatre. The Lodge from its institution met in the I.O.O.F. Hall, Marpole, B.C., until September 1956, when it moved to the new Masonic Hall at 8486 Granville Street. This new Masonic Hall was built through the efforts and energy of a group of dedicated Freemasons under the leadership of R. W. Bro. J.G.C. Hogg. In May of 2013, the Marpole Masonic Lodge Hall was sold and in September of 2013 Mount Lebanon Lodge moved to the Park Masonic Hall at 4474 Rupert Street in Vancouver. The Grand Lodge History Book has Mount Lebanon moving from Richmond (Eburne on Sea Island) to Marpole in 1918. Mount Lebanon did not in fact move, it still met in the same I.O.O.F. Hall. The Vancouver side of Eburne was renamed Marpole and Mount Lebanon remained where it was.
On October 6th, 1913 members of Park Lodge and Mount Lebanon trekked to South Vancouver for the first meeting of Maple Leaf Lodge 74. Maple Leaf held its first meeting in the Oddfellows Hall, 30th Avenue and Main Street, South Vancouver, B.C. There were 38 Charter Members amongst whom was Rt. Wor. Bro. L.R.C. Hodgson, the first Worshipful Master, an office which he held for three years, and who is referred to in the early records as “The Father of Maple Leaf”. The Lodge was constituted on July 6th, 1914 and it is interesting to note that the Charter reads “In the Municipality of South Vancouver” and was the first Lodge in that Municipality.
Ninety one years later on December 13th, 2004 Park and Maple Leaf would merge to form Maple Leaf Park Lodge No. 63. In 2015 Mount Lebanon joined with Maple Leaf Park Lodge to form Heritage Lodge 63. The new Lodge was constituted on May 25, 2015 and officers installed by Heritage Lodge member M.W. Bro. Phillip Durell, Grand Master
The word lodge really has two meanings to a Freemason. It is both a place where Masonic meetings are held and a collective term for the members who meet there. Since their inception more than 100 years ago many of the founding lodge members have been associated, not only in the history of the lodges, but also have had a tremendous impact of their communities and the country. Notable members associated with Burnaby are three Mayors, Alexander K McLean, Charles W MacSorley and Thomas Sanderson for whom Sanderson Way in Burnaby is named. He served as Master of Park Lodge for two terms 1915 and 1916 and as Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of BC. Burnaby Councilor John Rumble, for whom Rumble Street is named, was one of the first initiates of Park Lodge, and M.L.A.., William Burke for whom Burke street is named and Labour Activist and MLA Ernie Winch, a founding member of the Lodge.
Past Heritage Lodge 63 members now include three Order of Canada recipients, four MLA’s, six Mayors, a Canuck Goalie, a member of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, two University Chancellors, a Supreme Court Judge and an Attorney General. Heritage Lodge continues to attract leaders and active men as they have done in the past. In 2008 the first Grand Master from Maple Leaf Park lodge, MW. Bro Glenn Allen was installed and in 2014 MW Bro. Philip Durell was elected Grand Master.