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A History of True Blue Lodge - Worshipful Masters, 1983 - 2008

Master's List

W.Bro Lloyd Bittle1983 - 84
Worshipful Master Lloyd Bittle

W Bro. Lloyd Bittle is certainly a master cut from the mould of one of us "old time masters". A master should lead with passion and enthusiasm and W Bro. Bittle does that with a zeal that reminds me of myself - by gosh though, I wish I had used W Bro. Bittle's now famous utterance of "SHABOOM", it certainly would have gone well during my times in the East! Indeed, from my vantage point, I have observed W Bro. Bittle fill meetings that go on until past 11:00 p.m. with so much excellence happening that the brethren on those old side benches completely forget that their nether regions went to sleep a good hour before. Why, he also had one meeting when one Third Degree and two Second Degrees were conferred and another night saw a triple Third Degree. That's just like we used to do in True Blue back in the 1800's!

A true highlight of this year for me was the Emergent Meeting in September when V Wor. Bro. Lorne Whetstone was invested with his Grand Lodge Regalia as Grand Steward. The investiture was handled by RW Bro. Paul Egan, True Blue's very own DDGM from the previous Masonic year. It's great to see members of True Blue following in my own footsteps as a member of Grand Lodge. Our lodge has always had so many brethren with so much to offer to the Craft!

This year, I witnessed a total of 15 degrees completed in True Blue Lodge for the following brethren : Bro. Joseph Oakley (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Ronald McLean (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Richard Gowdy (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Ian Dinsdale (2nd, 3rd), Bro. George Cox (1st), Bro. William MacGibbon (1st, 2nd), Bro. Robert Vickerman (1st), Bro. Malcolm Cole (1st), and father and son tandem Bro. John Fennell (1st) and Bro. David Fennell (1st). In addition, True Blue "farmed out" two Second Degrees to neighbouring lodges (Bro. George Cox at Robertson Lodge and Bro. Malcolm Cole at Union Lodge) and accepted affiliates Bro. Gilbert Watson and Bro. William Manuel. Three special degree teams consisting of the Past Masters of True Blue led by W Bro. Hilliard Matson, the Senior Wardens of District 7 under the guidance of the Master of the Evening, W Bro. Donald Wylie, and the Firefighters from Rameses Temple in Toronto brought their excellence to True Blue Lodge in 1983-84.

Significant improvements made to our lodge building during W Bro. Bittle's year in the East included a new floodlight at the front entry installed by Bro. John Stewart, a post office box placed in the lower level of the building, an electric washroom heater added by W Bro. James Maw, the painting of the exterior of the building and repairing of the existing eavestrough, the refurbishing of the Western Light Banner, the purchase (for a total of $5000.00) of the land behind the building from a Mr. John Black (primarily brought to fruition through the outstanding efforts of VW Bro. William Dick) and the construction of a fence at the rear of the newly-acquired property. The brethren also donated the original altar and a round table to the Heritage Lodge which was then being constructed at Black Creek Pioneer Village. A "Step Up Night" was held at which time the Officers moved up a chair to get a taste of life next year and I really wish someone had taken me down off the wall and carried me to the Albion-Bolton Community Centre for True Blue's wonderful Ladies' Night; by all accounts it was a splendid affair.

As is the usual custom in True Blue, the Installation of the Master Elect took place in June 1984. This W Bro. Peter Wohlert fellow looks like another good one to sit under my gaze - he certainly had the full support of his Installing Master, W Bro. Thomas Carberry.

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W.Bro Peter Wohlert 1984 - 85
Worshipful Master Peter Wohlert

W. Bro. Peter Wohlert strikes me as being a highly organized individual who certainly seems to be a natural leader. The very fact that I see him taking so much time to honour his brethren and to take care of their needs before his own shows me that he views the role of Master as one of service to the lodge's members. This is an important quality for a leader to possess. I feel very good about what could happen this year.

Indeed, 84-85 has really had a spotlight on members. Bro. Edward Gill was so moved by his membership in True Blue that he donated a wonderful Masonic clock to grace the lodge's walls. Also going up on the wall was a framed photograph of RW Bro. Paul Egan to commemorate his year as the District Deputy Grand Master of Toronto District 7. Special evenings were put on to honour 40-year members of True Blue W Bro. John Turner and Bro. Stewart Mellow, while Bro. Harry Brown received his 50-year pin. Other special events included a Past Masters' Night with VW Bro. William Egan in the Chair of King Solomon, A senior Wardens' Night with W. Bro. Hilliard Matson as the Master of the evening, a Step Up Night and another one of those wonderful Ladies' Nights.

An even dozen degrees were performed this year. The following brethren were recipients: Bro. George Cox (3rd), Bro. John Fennell (2nd, 3rd), Bro. William MacGibbon (3rd), Bro. Robert Vickerman (3rd), Bro. Malcolm Cole (3rd), Bro. Santo Calitri (1st, 2nd), Bro. Gary Boose (1st), Bro. Harold Archdekin (1st), Bro. David Fennell (3rd) and Bro. Malcolm Randall (1st). Also swelling the ranks were affiliates Bro. Alastair Broome and Bro. John Gallacher.

Sadly, I also witnessed very moving memorial services for some true pillars of True Blue who passed to the Grand Lodge Above this year in the persons of W. Bro. Fred Thoms who was Master of True Blue in 1955, Bro. Donald MacKenzie and Bro. John Jordon.

W Bro. Wohlert's year included two rather significant changes to True Blue Lodge. First of all, the brick on the front of the building was repaired and replaced where necessary. Secondly, a motion was passed in lodge to amend the By Laws so that the Initiation Fees rose to $200.00, the Affiliation Fee became $50.00 and member's yearly dues were increased to $50.00. All in all, I believe my take on W Bro. Wohlert was right on - he was all about honouring and taking care of his followers.

One of those followers was destined to step into the role of Master after he was unanimously elected to that position in the May Elections, and, in June, W Bro. Ross Taylor, as the Installing Master, made it official that W Bro. Alex Cain was the new Master of True Blue.

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W.Bro Alex Cain1985 - 86
Worshipful Master Alex Cain

Every so often, a lodge undergoes significant change. I know full well how that can tax the emotions of the Master. Why, back in 1858, I was embroiled in such a change - but, that's another part of history that would do well to remain the subject of another history book. Suffice it to say that W Bro. Alex Cain definitely proves himself to be the type of leader who calmly and responsibly handles change. It is a quality that others who follow him would do well to emulate.

The first change occurred even before W. Bro. Cain opened his first meeting. On August 30th, the old Wesleyan Methodist Zion Church, which since 1875 sat just 5 feet from the rear wall of True Blue Lodge (on which I hang out), was demolished. The historic building was built in 1852 on the site of the current Bolton United Church. It was relocated in 1875 when the United Church was constructed. I actually remember the Zion Church when it was an operating place of worship and know for a fact that the old building was double plank on end with lath and plaster on interior and exterior. It is indeed a loss of a true heritage structure, but, as W Bro. Cain pointed out to the brethren, "True Blue needs to prepare for the future and that land could become very valuable to our existence." To commemorate the Zion Church, local Bolton artist Cyril Wallace produced a pen and ink drawing of the structure, of which the lodge procured one copy for its archives and another for presentation to Mr. John Black (the previous owner of the property).

Changes continued as True Blue voted in favour of Robertson's Lodge's suggestion of establishing an annual "Urban Night" when the seven rural lodges in Toronto District 7 would alternate hosting a degree team consisting of members of the District's city lodges. Also, True Blue received notice of the Grand Lodge's "Mentors Program" which would prove to become a favourite of W. Bro. Lloyd Bittle. Yet, perhaps the most moving change occurred when, led by the extreme caring and brotherly love of W Bro. Cain, True Blue Lodge received special dispensation from Grand Lodge to confer an unusual Third Degree. Owing to seriously deteriorating health, Bro. Harold Archdekin was only able to participate in a few sections of the Raising Ceremony. In the true spirit of Masonry, the members of True Blue put on an evening that meant a great deal to their ill brother.

Change also happened at the Secretary's Desk when long-serving scribe, VW Bro. William Dick decided that it was time for him to return to one of the side benches and to pass the duties of Lodge Secretary to Brother Dan Sweet. A definite era in True Blue had come to an end.

Another full year of degree work took place during 1985-86 with the following brethren proving their proficiencies: Bro. William Currie (1st, 2nd), Bro. Gary Boose (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Santo Calitri (3rd), Bro. Neil Pynn (1st, 2nd), Bro. Harold Archdekin (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Vincent Mullarkey (1st) and Bro. Allan Profit (1st). New members were also added through affiliation as positive votes were held for Bro. Daniel Sweet and Bro. George Ledson.
Special events this year included 40-year life membership presentations to W Bro. Howard Keena, VW Bro. Robert Walton and W Bro. Kenneth Mactaggart. W Bro. James Witherspoon was recognized by the District for his outstanding support of the Masonic Blood Donor Clinics, and W Bro. Harold Long (during Past Masters' Night) and VW Bro. Lorne Whetstone (during Senior Wardens' Night) both had an opportunity to bore sway as the Masters of the respective evenings. The annual Step Up Night took place in April and, once again, I only heard about the great time that everyone enjoyed at the True Blue Ladies' Night held at the Nobleton Community Centre.

Unfortunately, we lost another of our stalwart True Blue members to the Grand Lodge Above at the passing of W Bro. William Bruce Clark, Master of the lodge in 1964.

Being myself now an ornament gracing True Blue's dwelling, I truly appreciate when something happens to improve this great old building. This year saw W Bro. Kenneth Mactaggart enrich the lodge with the presentation of his hand-crafted wall hanging of the Masonic emblem. "Expert carpenter-in-charge", Bro. Bruce Wilson worked with VW Bro. William Dick to install the materials supplied by Bro. David Wright in order to enclose the furnace in a room that will, no doubt, prove to be a much-needed storage area for years to come.

RW Bro. Paul Egan enjoyed the honour of installing W Bro. Charles Strong as True Blue's Master for 1986-87. I was really impressed looking over the Right Worshipful Sir's shoulder and noting how darn punctual he is - he had the lodge opened at 7:30 p.m. on the dot even with all of that gold braid hanging around the anteroom!

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W.Bro Charles Strong1986 - 87
Worshipful Master Charles Strong

W Bro. Charles Strong has deep roots in the Bolton Community having been born here in 1913. He has the distinct privilege of being the most experienced Mason to have ever been installed in the Chair of King Solomon at True Blue Lodge - W Bro. Strong was in his 50th year as a member of our lodge before he first sat below me in the East.

A year such as this, when very few candidates were available to receive degrees, comes along every so often. It could have left the Master with a very hollow year; however, W Bro. Strong used the lack of impending degree work to open the door to a wonderful celebration of Masonic Education. While only overseeing a total of four degrees with Bro. Allan Profit receiving his 2nd and 3rd, Bro. Neil Pynn being Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, and Bro. David Fennell standing in as an exemplary candidate for a 1st Degree team made up of Senior Wardens, W Bro. Strong arranged a series of Masonic presentations of which this lodge had never before witnessed.

Two of the education evenings were presented by visiting brethren W Bro. Harry Burridge from Alpha Lodge and W Bro. John Boersma from Occident Lodge. Members of True Blue taking a turn as "educator included VW Bro. Lorne Whetstone, VW Bro. Donald Wylie, W Bro. Lloyd Bittle, VW Bro. William Dick (who, without previous notice, gave an extremely interesting short history of True Blue from 1858 to the present) and RW Bro. Paul Egan who, from my vantage point of observing happenings in True Blue since that very first meeting back in 1858, was the first and only member to present three different pieces of Masonic Education (one in each of the three degrees) during the same evening.

Although we gained yet another member through affiliation, W Bro. Ernest Lane, all the members were very saddened with the passing of more "Pillars of True Blue" in the persons of VW Bro. Harold Taylor (Master of True Blue in 1946), Bro. Harold Cain and W Bro. Ross Taylor (Master of True Blue in 1968).

Two motions of note put forth during lodge meetings this year were one indicating that True Blue did not support a movement within District 7 to reduce the number of member lodges and a motion by W Bro. Harold Egan to install an exit door at the rear of the lodge's basement. On special evenings, three Past Masters again sat in the Chair of King Solomon as the Master of the Evening: W Bro. Lloyd Bittle for Past Masters Night, W Bro. Thomas Carberry for Senior Wardens Night and RW Bro. Paul Egan who once again kept things rolling at the Installation of W Bro. David Wright.

Before we get to W Bro. Wright's year in the East, I must point out one additional highlight of 1986-87. Following Bro. Allan Profit's Third Degree, as congratulatory comments were being made, something called a "tape player" was used to broadcast a recorded message from VW Bro. William Egan who was in Florida at that very moment. I do believe that that was the first recording of a recorded message in the records of True Blue.

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W.Bro David Wright1987 - 88
Worshipful Master David Wright

W Bro. David Wright is another in the long line of True Blue Masters who totally understand the need to honour the accomplishments of others. Indeed, his year as Worshipful Master could be entitled "The Year of Honours".

In September, a "True Blue Honours Night" was held at the Albion-Bolton Community Centre with Grand Master MW Bro. William Pellow in attendance. On that occasion, I heard that VW Bro. Lloyd Bittle was presented his regalia as Grand Sword Bearer, a 50-year Past Master pin was awarded to VW Bro. William Egan, 50-yearmembership pins were given to W Bro. Cal Daines, W Bro. Charles Strong, Bro. Murray Tindale and W Bro. Harold Egan, and both W Bro. Forest Mactaggart and Bro. Murray Irwin had 40-year membership pins attached to their lapels.

In October, the Shriners Degree Team paid honours to our Entered Apprentice candidate of the evening, Bro. Ralph Botting who had spent a considerable part of his youth in the Montreal Shriners Hospital. November saw True Blue host the first Annual Urban Night with W. Bro. Peter Wohlert in the Chair of King Solomon overseeing the Initiation of Bro. Michael Carter. In a twist of fate, the future will show that these two new members would, themselves, bestow great honour on old True Blue!

Other special evenings had Senior Wardens Night led by W Bro. Hilliard Matson and W Bro. Peter Wohlert, for the unique privilege of sitting in the East as a Master of the Evening for the second time in a single year, ruled during Past Masters Night, while Ladies Night took place at the Albion Hills Steak House. The recognition of True Blue continued when W Bro. Edwin Drew, on behalf of Grand Lodge, presented a framed photo of the Heritage Lodge at Black Creek Pioneer Village to commemorate True Blue's donation of its Altar and a round table.

This Masonic year could also be termed "The Year of the Brooksbanks" with Bro. Jack Brooksbank joining (through affiliation) followed by his sons Bro. Charles Brooksbank (through affiliation) and Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank (as an Entered Apprentice). Again, just wait until future years prove the significant impact that this family will have on True Blue!
A total of seven degrees were conferred during 1987-88 including Bro. Ralph Botting (1st, 2nd), Bro. Michael Carter (1st, 2nd), Bro. Robert Fraser (1st), Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank (1st) and Bro. Blair Berrouard (1st). Bro. George Mathew also joined as a new member through affiliation.

I was remiss in pointing out that my summer rest was again disturbed leading up to this year when a number of True Blue brethren combined their efforts to pound through the basement wall and install an exit door. I really want to thank the following brethren for keeping me entertained: VW Bro. William Dick, W Bro. Harold Egan, W Bro. Thomas Carberry, W Bro. James Maw, Bro. Donald Clarke and W Bro. Hilliard Matson.

The year concluded with W Bro. Peter Wohlert taking over the Chair of King Solomon for a record third time as Master of the Evening, this time to install newly-elected Master W Bro. Michael Walmsley.

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W.Bro Michael Walmsley1988 - 89
Worshipful Master Michael Walmsley

It struck me as rather interesting that, upon opening lodge for his first time, W Bro. Walmsley would remark that he definitely felt the presence of the many Worshipful Masters of True Blue who had preceded him in the Chair of King Solomon. You see, that is the very reason that I have been hanging around for so long; every one of the masters leaves a little bit of himself to the betterment of this lodge and, combined, it really is our presence that ensures the continued excellence of True Blue.

In light of the aforementioned significance of Worshipful Masters in True Blue, it seems especially significant that W Bro. Walmsley chose to have the most important event of this year surround a brother who has never indicated any interest in becoming an Installed Master. From my vantage point on the wall, at virtually every meeting for the past couple of decades, I have observed Bro. Bruce Wilson stand at his usual side bench position and report to the brethren on the health of members who have been ill or in distressed circumstances. Bro. Wilson, indeed, goes beyond mere reporting - he regularly visits these ailing brethren and is their living link to True Blue. For his wonderful caring and dedication, Bro. Wilson had a special presentation made to him on behalf of all of the members of True Blue Lodge - a plaque denoting his excellent Humanitarian Service. This certainly proves that every brother's efforts make True Blue special - one does not have to sit in the East to be a respected leader!

Other special occasions this year saw W Bro. Cain become the Master of the Evening for Past Masters Night, W Bro. Donald Wylie assume the gavel during Senior Wardens Night. An emergent meeting was conducted for the purpose of recommending to Grand Lodge that, if a realignment of District 7 were to become a reality, then True Blue requests to be included with the Brampton lodges and the seven rural lodges. Ladies' Night was a combined affair at the Nobleton Community Centre when True Blue and its Daughter Lodge, Peel joined forces. W. Bro. Donald Wylie received a sincere True Blue congratulations for his outstanding work on the District's Drug Abuse Awareness Program. The lodge building itself was enriched when Bro. Vern Fry refurbished the Tyler's Chair and its coffers were enriched when the brethren voted to increase the annual dues to $60.00.

Degree work was conducted for the following brethren: Bro. Michael Carter (3rd), Bro. Ralph Botting (3rd), Bro. Robert Fraser (3rd), Bro. Blair Berrouard (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Fred Wegner (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Bro. Jan Petersen (1st) and Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank (2nd, 3rd). From a historical perspective, this was a real "bumper crop" for True Blue - Brothers Carter, Botting, Berrouard, Wegner and Brooksbank would each go on to one day sit as Worshipful Master of True Blue!

The year was not without its losses as Masonic Services were conducted for Bro. William Manuel and Bro. Harold Archdekin (who passed from this subluminary abode as a Master Mason because of the aforementioned respect and caring of True Blue Lodge).

The year concluded with W. Bro. Charles Strong enjoying the wonderful privilege of installing his son, W Bro. Raymond Strong in the Chair of King Solomon.

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W.Bro Raymond Strong1989 - 90
Worshipful Master Raymond Strong

W Bro. Raymond Strong's first evening as Worshipful Master of True Blue was, indeed, an "evening of firsts". The Lodge received its first request ever to have its history recorded outside Masonic boundaries when the Region of Peel Heritage Complex asked True Blue to submit copies of its historical anniversary booklets to be added to the Peel Region archives. Also, after conducting a First Degree for Br. Les Cribb, Bro. Allan Profit conducted the Entered Apprentice through the first "walk around" as per the new Mentors Program.

This year also marked the beginning of the profound impact that Bro. Jack Brooksbank would have on the history of True Blue. His great artistic talent was revealed when he completed two special renderings for the lodge building. His sketch of the building itself was presented to the brethren as a fundraiser that would eventually accumulate more than $900.00 which was used to purchase new Officer collars and to refurbish the Master's collar. Bro. Brooksbank's second sketch, of "an ear of corn by a stream of water" was given a place of honour on the North wall of the lodge room. I've often caught Bro. Brooksbank sneaking glimpses at my own framed likeness and his knowing smile confirms the excellence of the image that I reflect back to him.

The usual "ups and downs" of a Masonic year continued during 1989-90 as 40-year membership pins were awarded to Bro. Ken Goodfellow, W Bro. Harold Long and Bro. Bruce Cameron, and Bro. Walker Duffy received his 60-year pin in open lodge. Shortly after receiving his 50-year pin, Bro. Gordon Monroe, sadly, passed to the Great Lodge Above. We also lost another of our former Masters when W Bro. John Turner (Master in 1960) passed away.

Special meetings occurred during the Past Masters Night with W Bro. Charles Strong receiving the gavel from his son and during the Senior Wardens Night with RW Bro. Paul Egan as the Master of the Evening. The January Meeting saw Bro. Michael Carter and Bro. Ernie Keasy accepted as volunteer guides at Black Creek Pioneer Village's Heritage Lodge. This year the Caledon Community Complex hosted the dinner/dance for the ladies.

This was another banner year for degree work with W Bro. Raymond Strong overseeing degrees for Bro. Les Cribb (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Bro. Robert Ottaway (1st, 2nd), Bro. Jan Petersen (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Morgan Kinsella (1st), Bro. Glen Rescorl (1st), Bro. Steven Livesly (1st) and Bro. David Syme (1st, with his 2nd conducted at Peel Lodge). The lodge building also continued to get some more "sprucing up" when the basement walls received a fresh coat of paint and the washroom facilities were improved.

At June's Installation, W Bro. Raymond Bottoms was placed in the Chair of King Solomon by Installing Master W Bro. Donald Wylie.

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W.Bro Ray Bottoms1990 - 91
Worshipful Master Raymond Bottoms

As I watch Master after Master lead True Blue Lodge throughout the years, one sometimes emerges as a soft-spoken, very caring man whose leadership is founded on a deep respect for everyone surrounding him. W Bro. Raymond Bottoms is such a Master. He quietly goes about the business of making those around him feel appreciated and able. It only, then, seems appropriate that W Bro. Bottoms would have started his year in the East by presenting Bro. Michael Carter with a special certificate from the College of Free Masons for his outstanding work on Masonic Education. It is also ironic that W Bro. Bottoms, although he did not know it at the time, would have the distinct privilege to Raise to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, Bro. David Syme, who history would eventually record as the final District Deputy Grand Master of Toronto District 7. I have no doubt that W Bro. Bottoms' strong character and love for Masonry made an indelible impression on both Bro. Carter and Bro. Syme as their own Masonic careers were moving along the path to excellence.

During this year, a total of ten degrees were conferred on the following deserving brethren: Bro. David Syme (3rd), Bro. Morgan Kinsella (2nd, 3rd - at Victory Lodge), Bro. Glen Rescorl (2nd), Bro. Steven Livesly (2nd, 3rd)), Bro. Ron Rescorl, Sr. (1st), Bro. Fred Harms (1st), Bro. Michael Tobin (1st) and Bro. David Mabee (1st). Special presentations were made to Bro. Alex Currie (a print of True Blue Lodge building was given to him on the occasion of his 100th birthday), Brothers John Lindsay and Harold Brown received their 40-year membership pins and Brothers Michael Carter and Blair Berrouard had the District Deputy Grand Master RW Bro. George Burt present them with awards for their outstanding work on the Mentors Program. A sad event occurred when Bro. Wes Rowe passed to the Grand Lodge Above.

Traditional highlights of the Masonic years in True Blue were continued during W Bro. Bottoms' time in the East when Ladies' Night was combined with members of Peel Lodge, our Past Masters Night occurred with W Bro. Charles Strong in the Chair of King Solomon for the second year in a row and the Senior Wardens of Toronto District 7 were put through their paces under the guidance of Master of the Evening W Bro. Alex Cain.

In June, RW Bro. Paul Egan resumed his role of Installing Master and, I must note, still exhibited his uncanny ability to move things along at a quick speed as he installed W Bro. Allan Profit in the role of Worshipful Master for 1991-92.

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W.Bro Allan Profit1991 - 92
Worshipful Master Allan Profit

W Bro. Profit looks as though he is an enthusiastic and organized leader. I have a sense that he will need to have those qualities in abundance because the Officers supporting him this year appear to me to be a particularly energetic bunch who are quite determined to have the rest of Toronto District 7 take note of True Blue's excellence. Indeed, the year will turn out to be quite spectacular despite the rising cost of regalia because of some new-fangled tax called the GST and the cancellation of Ladies' Night because of dwindling ticket sales - I don't doubt that these two items might be linked!

W Bro. Profit set the year in motion with an Emergent Meeting dedicated to an open discussion of what members could do to make True Blue even better than what it was. From that brainstorming session, fueled with Bro. Blair Berrouard's "meat pies and mushy peas", the brethren laid the ground work for the True Blue Strategic Plan (a blueprint regarding budgeting for future needs), a Membership Phone List to expedite the communication of important information to all members, and the formalization of dues collection through a Membership Committee spearheaded by W Bro. Peter Wohlert. Changes to the Lodge By-Laws included hikes in the Initiation Fee (to $300.00), the Affiliation Fee (to $70.00) and the Annual Dues (to $70.00).

Other notable occurrences during 1991-92 included a "Family Barbeque" organized by Bro. Jack Brooksbank, a presentation at the Toronto Masonic "Mentors Education Night" by W Bro. Allan Profit and a special degree evening in True Blue presented by the Peel Shrine Club. Although Ladies' Night did not occur, True Blue continued to recognize the widows of past members by sending flowers to their homes, a wonderful gesture funded personally by Bro. Jack Brooksbank.

Degree work continued to be an important part of this already busy year with eleven degrees conferred: Bro. Fred Harms (2nd), Bro. Robert Lee (1st), Bro. Daniel Mabee (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Michael Tobin (2nd), Bro. Leonard Gould (1st), Bro. David Wedgbury (1st), Bro. Colin Meakin (1st), Bro. Ron Rescorl, Jr. (1st, 2nd) and Bro. Frank Miller (1st).

Senior Wardens Night had W Bro. Donald White as the Master of the Evening and Past Masters Evening saw many excellent brethren supporting W Bro. Michael Walmsley as he sat in the East. Memorial Services had to be convened as the lodge lost two brethren this year in the persons of W Bro. Harry Brown and Bro. Horst Wetzel.

The excellence of 1991-92 also had many members of True Blue honoured within its walls. Bro. Charles Strong was recognized for his five years of service on the Masonic Bureau and Guild. Bro. Gilbert Wellington and W Bro. Fergus Mactaggart were presented with their 40-year pins. On a special "Very Worshipfuls Evening", Bro. Michael Carter and Bro. Jack Brooksbank recognized the past and present Very Worshipful Brethren of True Blue:
Past - VW Bro. William Graham (Master of True Blue in 1858-59, 1865-68), VW Bro. F.N. Leavens (1897), VW Bro. R.H. Turner (1923), VW Bro. B.R. Leavens (1926), VW Bro. Harold Taylor (1946), VW Bro. Hilliard Matson (1953).
Present - VW Bro. William Egan (1937), VW Bro. Robert Walton (1957), VW Bro. William Dick (1966), VW Bro. Lorne Whetstone (1979), VW Bro. Lloyd Bittle (1983).

June's Installation Ceremony, led by VW Bro. Lloyd Bittle and seeing W Bro. Jack Brooksbank installed as Worshipful Sir, began with a very interesting greeting sent to True Blue from another Bolton lodge - and I knew even before they mentioned it that it was not Western Light Lodge because I saw that lodge warrant returned to Grand Lodge while I sat in True Blue's East! Indeed, the Bolton lodge sending its salutations was Anchor and Hope Lodge in Bolton, England. This makes me again ponder as to the rather ironic, even downright eerie, circumstances that often seem to hover around the True Blue Master's Chair. W Bro. Charles Brooksbank was born and raised in England and his bent for history often has him include the Masonry of Medieval England in his writings and presentations. Now why would Anchor and Hope's greeting arrive just in time for W Bro. Brooksbank's important evening? Very interesting!

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W.Bro jackbrooksbank1992 - 93
Worshipful Master Jack Brooksbank

By my reckoning, 1992-93 marks True Blue Lodge's 135th year of existence and it is certainly very fitting that the Master in this auspicious year should be a Mason who fully understands the significance of history. W Bro. Jack Brooksbank knows even more about the origins and heritage of Masonry than I do (or at least "did:)! W Bro. Brooksbank, you see, is a renowned scholar, author and artist who has dedicated much of his creative thought and energy to preserving Masonic lore. His leadership in this year and in years to come will rightfully raise the significance of historical perspective in True Blue.

The year began with a focus on history as Bro. Michael Carter presented lapel pins to the Worshipful Master, the Immediate Past Master, the Senior Warden and the Junior Warden in order to revive an old True Blue tradition of passing their pins of office on to their successors at Installation. On October 2nd, Bro. Carter followed up this action with a special certificate given to VW Bro. William Egan in recognition of his many contributions to True Blue Lodge and Masonry in general. That meeting, unfortunately proved to be W Bro. Fergus Mactaggart's (Master of True Blue in 1965) final time in True Blue Lodge as he passed away a week later. Also passing away this year was Bro. Gilbert Ferris.

Special events this year included an excellent presentation on the Mentors Program by VW Bro. Lloyd Bittle and Bro. Donald Wylie, a 40-year pin presentation to VW Bro. William Dick and a very interesting presentation by W Bro. Jack Brooksbank highlighting the "Speculative Perceptions of Medieval Operative Masons". (I told you he was a scholar!) Of course, regular occurrences such as Senior Wardens Night, with W Bro. Raymond Strong as the Master of the Evening, and Past Masters Night, with W Bro. Peter Wohlert wielding the gavel, continued True Blue's excellence and the "meat pies and mushy peas" even made another appearance thanks to the culinary abilities of Bro. Blair Berrouard. Even Ladies' Night made a triumphant return at the Bolton Legion.

Of course, as I mentioned previously, this year marked True Blue's 135th Anniversary and two sessions almost had me fall off the wall! Firstly, the Lodge held one of its meetings on March 5th which was the very night 135 years ago when a handful of brethren joined me in an upper room of the Masonic Arms Hotel to open a new Masonic Lodge that we named True Blue - I was almost overcome with memories. Secondly, at the urging of Grand Lodge, True Blue opened its doors to the public on May 15th to show off its beauty to the citizens of Bolton. Can you imagine non-Masons entering our building and looking at me on the wall! Like I said, it was almost too much for my aging picture wire!

Despite another busy year, the True Blue brethren prided themselves on their degree work. Degrees were completed for Bro. John Petrie (1st, 2nd), Bro. Colin Meakin (2nd), Bro. Robert Lee (2nd), Bro. Arnold Vos (1st), Bro. Craig Nogas (1st), Bro. Ron Rescorl, Jr. (3rd), Bro. Gordon Miller (1st), Bro. John Hoar (1st) and Bro. Leonard Gould (2nd at Victory Lodge).

The June Installation of W Bro. Michael Carter was handled by his good friend and mentor, VW Bro. Lloyd Bittle. It reminded me of my own Installation as Master of True Blue back on March 5, 1858 when my good friend and mentor, VW Bro. Solomon Stogdill placed me in the Chair of King Solomon. As I looked down upon W Bro. Michael Carter now sitting in the Chair, the memories came rushing back.

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W.Bro Michael Carter1993 - 94
Worshipful Master Michael Carter

W Bro. Carter is well known in True Blue for his dry sense of humour and his tremendous honouring of those around him. It was quite appropriate, then, that W Bro. Carter's year in the East should begin with a special evening honouring VW Bro. Donald Wylie on his appointment as Grand Junior Deacon. A real highlight of the ceremony was when RW Bro. Paul Egan presented VW Bro. Wylie with his regalia and proceeded to regale the assemblage with childhood stories of when he and VW Bro. Wylie were best friends growing up on the streets of Bolton and tobogganing down the North Hill on what is now Highway 50. When RW Bro. Egan went so far as to reveal that it was VW Bro. Wylie's father, Doctor Wylie who delivered the RW Sir as a newborn, W Bro. Carter was quick to reroute the business of the evening away from the escapades of "little Paul and Donnie". Said the Worshipful Sir, "There probably is a limit as to what the history of Masonry must endure."

The honouring of True Blue brethren continued this year when Bro. Harold Long and VW Bro. Lloyd Bittle were presented with their 40-year membership pins. In December of 1993, Toronto District 7 introduced the Travelling Gavel to recognize the lodge with the most brethren visiting another lodge's Installation and it was True Blue's honour to be one of the first recipients of the award. Under the direction of W Bro. Carter, visiting was a definite priority for the brethren of True Blue.

Degree work also received a great deal of attention this year as no fewer than a dozen degrees were conferred on our brethren. Degrees were earned by Bro. Gordon Miller (2nd, 3rd), Bro. John Petrie (3rd), Bro. Arnold Vos (2nd, 3rd), Bro. David Wedgbury (3rd at Mizpah Lodge), Bro. Harvey Rideout (1st), Bro. Jean Roger (1st), Bro. Craig Nogas (3rd), Bro. Bobby Tibbitts (1st), Bro. John Burton (1st) and Bro. John Hoar (2nd). Bro. Paul Sterritt became a new member through affiliation.

The Chair of King Solomon was occupied by VW Bro. Donald Wylie on Senior Wardens Night, while VW Bro. Lorne Whetstone took over as the Master of the Evening during Past Masters Night. Ladies' Night graced the Bolton Legion once again this year.

The Installation of W Bro. Blair Berrouard for the Masonic year 1994-95 saw RW Bro. Paul Egan resume his duties as the Installing Master and he surpassed his previous records for brevity when the assembled brethren found themselves on the way to the traditional banquet by 10:15 p.m.!

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W.Bro Blair Berrouard1994 - 95
Worshipful Master Blair Berrouard

W Bro. Blair Berrouard certainly is an organized young fellow. During what would become another year of significant changes in True Blue, he would rule with that strong guiding hand so necessary to move a group into uncharted territories - always positive and upbeat to support his brethren, but with a determination that left no doubt as to the achievement of a goal. Future Masters would do well to remember that effective leaders remain sure of their course.

The changes to which I allude were many during this Masonic year. It was decided by the brethren that Ladies' Night would be replaced with a family bus trip to Niagara-On-The-Lake wineries and, through the diligent efforts of SW Bro. Fred Wegner, the Saturday tour was an outstanding success. On the advice of Grand Lodge, October 7th marked the beginning of patriotism in True Blue Lodge with the singing of O'Canada at the conclusion of the evening's meeting. The new Canadian Masonic video, "Friend To Friend" was purchased by True Blue to be used during meetings with prospective members.

Special honours bestowed upon True Blue members began with the presentation of a 60-year membership pin to VW Bro. William Egan. Senior Wardens Night saw W Bro. Hilliard Matson sitting in the East as the Master of the Evening which was a role that W Bro. Raymond Bottoms fulfilled during Past Masters Night.

Degree work during 1994-95 was completed in an excellent manner for the following brethren: Bro. Bobby Tibbitts (2nd, 3rd), Bro. John Burton (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Jean Roger (3rd), Bro. John Hoar (3rd), Bro. William Linton (1st, 2nd) and Bro. Leonard Gould (3rd). I must point out that the brethren of True Blue did a wonderful job during the Raising of Bro. Gould - I was particularly so proud of VW Bro. Lorne Whetstone who so caringly explained the secrets of the Third Degree to the candidate who has some difficulties with memory work in general. Over the ensuing years, Bro. Gould would repay the lodge's caring by completing numerous caretaking jobs that kept the lodge building in immaculate condition. It just goes to prove what I have known for over 140 years - Masonry has a place for every good man.

Speaking of good men, True Blue again lost some stalwart members this year upon the passing of Bro. Morgan Kinsella, W Bro. Donald McKenzie (Master of True Blue in 1976) and a true pillar of True Blue in the person of VW Bro. William Dick (Master in 1966). VW Bro. Dick was actually a distant relative of mine and I cherish the many years that I was able to look over his shoulder as he sat at the Secretary's Desk. I know his spirit will join mine in overseeing the future excellence of True Blue.

The year ended with yet one more change for True Blue when the office of Lodge Historian was added to the roll call. W Bro. Michael Walmsley indicated his tremendous pride and privilege on becoming the first True Blue member to wear this new collar. It was especially fitting, in a historical sense that the Installing Master was none other than real-life historian W Bro. Jack Brooksbank who also enjoyed the privilege of installing his son, W Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank in the Chair of King Solomon.

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W.Bro Nicholas Brooksbank1995 - 96
Worshipful Master Nicholas Brooksbank

Inevitably, a year comes along that can test the very fiber of a lodge and 1995-96 would prove to be such a time for True Blue. The brethren were very fortunate to have W Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank occupying the Chair of King Solomon because his ability to problem solve and inspire the brethren to hold fast to the very principles that underlay this fine lodge would prove to be invaluable.

Owing to a low number of available candidates, W Bro. Brooksbank was forced to put a number of exemplary candidates in place in order to keep his degree teams "on their toes" with respect to their memory work. Indeed, the year proved to be another fine showing for the excellent degree work for which True Blue has always been known. The brethren rose to the occasion month after month and actually produced a very unique occurrence when Bro. William Smillie was able to experience the 2nd Degree on back-to-back months - in February as a true candidate and in March as a fill-in-candidate for Past Masters Night (the Senior Deacon uttered nary a prompt). Actual degrees were conferred upon Bro. Harvey Rideout (2nd, 3rd), Bro. William Linton (3rd) and Bro. William Smillie (1st, 2nd).

A controversy unfortunately arose when a brother demanded a demit based on his belief that he was wronged by True Blue. Supported by all of the pillars of True Blue, W Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank handled the issue with great fortitude and a maturity that belied his young age. After much discussion and attempts to reconcile differences in a truly Masonic fashion, the Master decided that it was in the best interests of both the lodge and the brother in dispute to grant the demit and move on. It was back in the 1860's when I, too, needed to move beyond a controversy and, ultimately, put the needs of True Blue in general ahead of individual contentions. Looking down upon W Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank, I was very proud of his actions - the spirit of his fellow Past Masters were with him.

The year, however, was not without a number of highlights. Past Masters Night with VW Bro. Lorne Whetstone as the Master of the Evening and Senior Wardens Night with W Bro. Jack Brooksbank in the East both proved to be memorable evenings of excellence. In March, VW Bro. Robert Walton, whose masterful work can be seen in the Mosaic Pavement that he so graciously installed many years ago, was presented with his 50-year membership pin. A "Buddy Night" was held in April at which time each member brought along a non-Mason friend to enjoy lodge fellowship after the closed meeting - what a great idea to boost the membership numbers! A new set of 2nd Degree Working Tools was presented to the lodge by W Bro. Michael Carter on behalf of the Carter and Brooksbank families, and necessary work was completed on the building's rafters, roof, windows and aluminum siding. I even heard a new term introduced into lodge when a visiting brother reported that a District 7 "web page" was being launched. It is beyond me why the Grand Lodge would want to throw a spider's work into the air, but I'll just hang out here on the wall and hope for the best!

Alas, True Blue lost two more members to the Grand Lodge Above at the passing of Bro. John Lindsey and W Bro. Harold Long (Master in 1962).

The annual Installation Evening had RW Bro. Paul Egan again reprise his role as Installing Master in order to place W Bro. Fred Wegner in the Chair of King Solomon.

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W.Bro Fred Wegner1996 - 97
Worshipful Master Fred Wegner

W Bro. Fred Wegner wears his enthusiasm for Masonry and life in general on his sleeve - his positive attitude and optimistic outlook are contagious and definitely will have a very positive impact on True Blue during his year in the East. I really believe that W Bro. Wegner is the epitome of the principle of brotherly love. As a leader, he definitely puts others way ahead of himself and seeks to ensure that everyone is appreciated for any and all efforts.

While the drought of candidates continued to have a profound impact on degree work, W Bro. Wegner did not let this cast a shadow over True Blue. Indeed, he oversaw some excellent floor work by the brethren as Bro. William Smillie (3rd), Bro. Grant Calhoun (2nd) and Bro. Neil Remnant (1st, 2nd - and another 2nd as the exemplary candidate) all continued their journeys in Masonry. W Bro. John Holding was voted in as an affiliate member.

Special events highlighting 1996-97 included the presentation of Grand Assistant Secretary regalia to VW Bro. William McBride, the awarding of 50-year membership pins to W Bro. Jack Brooksbank(by his son, W Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank) and W Bro. Forest Mactaggart, and the first use at the Altar of the Volume of the Sacred Law donated to True Blue by the family of VW Bro. William Dick. Past Masters Night was under the direction of Master of the Evening W Bro. Michael Carter, while W Bro. Peter Wohlert swung the gavel on Senior Wardens Night. The brethren, with their families, enjoyed a bus trip to St. Jacobs on a lovely October Saturday and the members of True Blue manned a Masonic Booth at the annual Bolton Cider Tyme. The December Meeting launched the campaign of W Bro. Michael Carter in his bid to be elected District Deputy Grand Master of Toronto District 7 and in May a rather unique custom made a return in True Blue when "Step Up Night" was revived and scheduled for the May Election Meeting, thereby putting the newly-elected Officers through their paces rather immediately.

W Bro. Wegner organized a very educational presentation at one meeting when he invited RW Bro. George Bert, Past District Deputy Grand Master of Toronto District 1 to enlighten the brethren regarding the Grand Lodge of England. Our Master also saw the necessity to initiate a True Blue Membership Drive to help swell the ranks and offset more than a $10.00 raise to the Annual Dues (now bringing them to $80.00 per annum). The lodge's membership numbers were dealt yet another blow when Bro. Murray Earle passed to the Grand Lodge Above.

In June, I observed a very special event when W Bro. Michael Walmsley had the distinct privilege of installing W Bro. Ralph Botting as the Ruling Master.

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W.Bro Ralph Botting1997 - 98
Worshipful Master Ralph Botting

The "special" aspect of W Bro. Ralph Botting's Installation concerns the man himself. One of W Bro. Botting's favourite pieces of floor work is the Charity Lecture in the First Degree. Indeed, he has, himself, raised a "super structure" of a life. Undaunted by obstacles and inspired by challenges this brother, who spent most of his formative years confined to the Shriners Hospital in Montreal, definitely leads by example. His fiery demeanor and attention to excellent detail will make 1997-98 a year to remember.

W Bro. Botting's leadership was called on many times during his year in the East in order to honour fallen brethren. True Blue lost a total of six brethren to the Grand Lodge Above in the persons of Bro. Walker Duffy, Bro. Leonard Gould, Bro. Gerald Patterson, Bro. Murray Earle, W Bro. Melville Hoover (Master of True Blue in 1952) and VW Bro. William Egan (Master of True Blue in 1937). Bro. Gould was remembered by the Master as "The Custodian of True Blue" for his dedication to keeping our building absolutely spotless. VW Bro. Egan was recognized as a Mason who comes along once in a lifetime - and True Blue was so very fortunate to have him as a pillar of our lodge.

Although the Membership Drive had not yet attracted many new brethren, the year had the following degrees conferred on True Blue brethren: Bro. Bryan Shapcott (1st, 2nd and 3rd - on consecutive months) and Bro. Neil Remnant (3rd). A very unusual happening occurred during the February Meeting when a 3rd Degree was performed for a visitor - Bro. Daniel Howard from Wellington Lodge. This was one of the very few times in the history of True Blue when a candidate was "borrowed" from another lodge.

On those occasions when a meeting was convened in the absence of a candidate, W Bro. Botting ensured that the brethren were enlightened through some "ground-breaking" presentations. During a Masonic Education Meeting in December, the Master employed a total of five separate brethren (Bro. Colin Meaking, W Bro. Michael Walmsley, Bro. David Syme, Bro. Craig Nogas and W Bro. Peter Wohlert) to increase the members' knowledge. After the January Meeting, Bro. Botting introduced a banquet speaker in the person of the former Chief of Police for Metropolitan Toronto, Mr. William McCormick.

The usual line-up of special meetings included Senior Wardens Night with W Bro. Hilliard Matson in the East, Past Masters Night under the leadership of W Bro. Blair Berrouard and Step Up Night with the newly-elected Officers once again being called upon to prove their proficiency in opening and closing in the three degrees.

The dogged determination of W Bro. Botting was never so evident as in the month of November when, owing to a postal strike, the Worshipful Sir played "postman" and personally hand-delivered as many summonses as he possibly could to the doors of members' homes! He also was instrumental in having True Blue not support a District motion to have the Senior Wardens Group visit only half of the District 7 lodges each year - nothing but total commitment was good enough for our Master!

At the annual Installation ceremonies, RW Bro. Paul Egan indicated to Installed Master, W Bro. David Syme that he "certainly had huge shoes to fill".

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W.Bro David Syme1998 - 99
Worshipful Master David Syme

W Bro. David Syme seems destined for more than the Master's Chair. He certainly comes into the role with a great deal of commitment and the ability to envision how things could/should be. It is that focus on the future that every master must possess in order to move his lodge beyond the moment. W Bro. Syme has the vision of a very bright future for True Blue and this year will stand as a time when events unfolded to put True Blue on that path from a great past to a great future.

Celebrations in True Blue occur regularly, which is a testament to the high Masonic values which its members espouse. In 1998-99, those celebrations were many in number. Forty-year membership pins were presented to W Bro. James Reid, Bro. William Lindsay and VW Bro. Donald Wylie. Two venerable members were honoured to receive in person their 60-year pins: W Bro. Charles Strong and W Bro. Harold Egan. In January, VW Bro. William McBride paid tribute to RW Bro. Claude Wilson and the Right Worshipful Sir's two sons, Bro. Bruce Wilson and W Bro. Murray Wilson, presented True Blue Lodge with a photograph of their father which was hung with pride on the South wall of the Lodge room (just over the seats where his two sons usually sit during meetings). W Bro. Syme extolled the virtues of W Bro. Peter Wohlert for his tremendous work as the Lodge's Chair of Membership, Bro. Bruce Wilson for his many, many years keeping in touch with ill or distressed brethren and W Bro. Donald Wylie on his appointment as District Chaplain. The athleticism of the brethren was also lauded when, rising to the challenge by Tottenham Lodge to compete in a bowling tournament, True Blue came away with the trophy.

Degree work continued to show an increase this year with work completed for Bro. Taj Esmail (1st and 2nd at Shamrock Lodge), Bro. Mark Kucharski (1st, 2nd), Bro. Patrick Clemence (1st and 2nd at St. Albans Lodge), Bro. Allan Mackie (1st, 2nd), Bro. Peter Trozzolo (1st) and Bro. Brian Whetsone (1st) who was initiated by his father VW Bro. Lorne Whetstone, at a special degree evening put on in True Blue by the Very Worshipfuls Association.

Three other special evenings included Senior Wardens Night led by Master of the Evening, W Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank, Past Masters Night (which was actually held at an Emergent Meeting) with W Bro. Michael Walmsley in the East and True Blue's first attempt at a Fellowship Evening. Organized by W Bro. Fred Wegner, the Fellowship get-together was held after a short Lodge Meeting that took place between 6:00 and 6:25 p.m. The brethren were joined at the Anglican Church Hall by their wives / significant others and the widows of past True Blue members.

Unfortunately, the year also saw the passing of some more stalwart brethren in the persons of Bro. Herb Morrison, Bro. Vern Fry, Bro. Robert Vickerman and Bro. Michael Tobin.

As a point of interest, 1998-99 was the final year when Life Memberships in True Blue were given to brethren receiving their 40-year pins. On a motion by VW Bro. William McBride and passed unanimously, the brethren believed that the lodge could no longer afford to continue the practice.

In June, True Blue witnessed Installing Master W Bro. Peter Wohlert place W Bro. Colin Meakin in the Chair of King Solomon to lead the lodge into the next millennium.

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W.Bro Colin Meakin1999 - 2000
Worshipful Master Colin Meakin

W Bro. Colin Meakin's vocation is that of a master cabinet builder and he certainly brings the qualities of that job with him to the Master's Chair. His year in the East will prove to be one in which renovations occurred in the basement of the lodge building, "lost" brethren were returned to the fold and pillars of the lodge were celebrated for their accomplishments. All of these happenings came about through W Bro. Meakin's meticulous attention to the details that make up the big picture. It is a focus that all masters would do well to employ.

In September it was reported that at the summer's Communication of Grand Lodge, True Blue had been singled out for the excellence of its monthly summons. It's about time! I've witnessed the True Blue summons being issued to brethren since 1877 making it the oldest, continuous publication in Bolton; and it's always been the best!

Those renovations that I previously mentioned resulted in the lodge basement becoming quite a refined place for the brethren to gather after meetings with the hands of W Bro. Colin Meakin putting together a wonderful kitchen and serving area. Indeed, the work crew assisting the Worshipful Sir also managed to introduce hot water to the washroom - something that DDGM RW Bro. William Chatwell, on his Official Visit to True Blue, noted had only taken 123 years to accomplish! Yet one more building addition saw additional insulation added to the attic in an attempt to reduce the heating costs now that the furnace was run all days of the winter months to help preserve the antique adornments of the lodge room.

The Year had four 3rd degrees conferred upon Bro. Mark Kucharski, Bro. Patrick Clemence, Bro. Allan Mackie and Bro. Brian Whetstone. Bro. Herb Fuller completed his 1st Degree in March. I was very impressed looking down upon a meeting between father and son when VW Bro. Lorne Whetstone presented a family Masonic heirloom to Bro. Brian Whetstone on the occasion of his raising to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason - the memento was the ring that the VW Sir's father had presented to him at his own 3rd Degree ceremony.

Highlights for a number of brethren occurred this year. VW Bro. Donald Wylie was praised for his yearly efforts chairing True Blue's efforts in support of annual District 7 fundraising projects. W Bro. Michael Carter was awarded a 10-year service pin for his volunteer work as an interpreter at Black Creek Pioneer Village's Heritage Lodge. Bro. Bruce Wilson had the brethren chuckling when he relayed a joke from W Bro. Forest Mactaggart, who is 94 years old: "What goes up, but never comes down?...Your age!"

A memorial service acknowledged the passing of Bro. Jack Stewart, True Blue's long-time Treasurer, and Bro. Bruce McCauley.

In an effort to reintroduce brethren back into the lodge who had, for various reasons, fallen into a pattern of non-attendance, True Blue initiated a Grand Lodge program entitled "Brother To Brother". The vision for the program was "Renew. Rejuvenate. Reactivate." And in True Blue it was to be led by W Bro. Michael Carter and W Bro. Jack Brooksbank.

At the annual Installation Ceremony, W Bro. Nicholas Brooksbank had the privilege of installing True Blue's Master for 2000-01, W Bro. Craig Nogas.

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W.Bro Craig Nogas2000 - 01
Worshipful Master Craig Nogas

Despite only being Raised to his 3rd Degree a mere 6 years ago, W Bro. Craig Nogas is ready to assume the leadership of True Blue. He is, as is every True Blue Master, surrounded by Past Masters who form a tremendously strong support network. Hey, if I could get off this darn wall, I'd be there for him too! It goes without saying that when a brother ascends the Chair of King Solomon in True Blue Lodge, he is never alone.

Significant happenings during 2000-01 began when Bro. Bruce Wilson announced his "retirement" as the Lodge Lawn Care Man. A replacement would be very difficult to find insomuch as whatever Bro. Wilson does is underlined with tremendous commitment to a job done in an excellent fashion - a quality that my generation certainly can relate to! Thus, in the midst of much longer grass, motions were passed to run a True Blue candidate for the position of Toronto District 7 District Deputy Grand Master in our 150th year and to publish a 150th Year History Book. A Christmas Open House was convened for the brethren of True Blue and their families, and the lodge was enriched with the donation of a Masonic Encyclopedia from the collection of departed member W Bro. John Hesp.

The Master kept the brethren busy with a wide range of degree work for Bro. Darin Horner (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Bro. Robert Wilkes (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and Bro. Herb Fuller (2nd, 3rd). Senior Wardens Night had W Bro. Michael Walmsley assuming the gavel as Master of the Evening and VW Bro. Donald Wylie did the same during Past Masters Night. The brethren also saw fit to pay a few more dollars for the privilege of carrying a True Blue Dues Card when they raised their dues to $120.00 per annum.

The year was certainly darkened at the passing of four stalwart members in the persons of Bro. Stewart Mellow, Bro. David Whistance-Smith, Bro. Harold Roberts and True Blue's current most senior Worshipful Master W Bro. Harold Egan (Master in 1945). The brother of VW Bro. William Egan, W Bro. Harold Egan's passing marked the end of an era in True Blue - a "brother act" that brought excellence not only to the lodge and Masonry in general, but also to the Town of Bolton.

At June's Installation Meeting, W Bro. Ralph Botting had the Master's Collar placed on his shoulders by Installing Master W Bro. Michael Carter.

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W.Bro Ralph Botting2001 -02
Worshipful Master Ralph Botting

The last time True Blue Lodge had a Worshipful Master sit in the East for a second term was way back in 1943 when W Bro. C. Chamberlain put his original gavel back into use. W Bro. Botting is a very fitting leader to follow in W Bro. Chamberlain's footsteps. Not only is W Bro. Botting always on top of his floor work, he also possesses the wonderful ability to remember more jokes than most professional comedians. When W Bro. Botting comes up to you with that wry grin on his face, you just know that your day is about to get even better. It's that "joy of life" that keeps all of his followers believing that every day is a great day!

Certainly, W Bro. Botting's caring was put to the test early in the year when True Blue lost two of its strongest members. W Bro. Forest Mactaggart (Master in 1958) was one of three biological brothers who had the privilege of sitting as Master of True Blue. He will be remembered for his tremendous enthusiasm for the Craft and his undying love for True Blue. W Bro. Hilliard Matson (Master in 1980) made part of the Third Degree work "his own" with his inspiring presentation of Ecclesiastics XII. Ironically, in years to come, it will be W Bro. Botting who will take on the challenge of matching W Bro. Matson's excellence at this part. A tragedy in New York City, something that became known as "9/11", had W Bro. Botting leading his brethren in a somber memorial for brethren who had lost their lives - a truly world-wide sense of brotherly love.

Degree work in 2001-02 had the following brethren proving their proficiency: Bro. George Temple (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Bro. Kenneth Dick (1st) and Bro. William Gordon Dick (1st). In November, RW Bro. Terrance Horner became a member through affiliation.

Special evenings that year included Senior Wardens Night with VW Bro. Donald Wylie as the Master and a degree put on by the Peel Shrine Club.
A highlight for the Worshipful Master occurred when the brethren passed a motion to raise $1000.00 for support of the Montreal Shriners Hospital, for which W Bro. Botting has dear affinity. Another notable event in 01-02 saw W Bro. Jack Brooksbank presenting to True Blue a copy of his recently published book, "Traditions of Masonry".

As is always the case, June rolled around all too quickly and W Bro. Botting handed the gavel over to Installing Master RW Bro. Paul Egan so that he might place True Blue's new (well, sort of new) Master, W Bro. Michael Carter, in the Chair of King Solomon.

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W.Bro Michael Carter2002 - 03
Worshipful Master Michael Carter

Another one of those eerie happenings in True Blue occurred when W Bro. Michael Carter resumed his role as Master after a hiatus of nine years. Two Masters in consecutive years returning to the Chair for a second turn last happened back when W Bro. C. Chamberlain and RW Bro. C.A. Leggett did the trick. That just happens to be, as indicated in my recount of W Bro. Botting's previous year, the last time True Blue ever had a Master return for a second term. Okay, so maybe its not all that eerie - it's just been such a long time hanging on this picture hook.

This year, True Blue became known to everyone in Bolton - well at least everyone who took note of the new signs that the Region of Peel gave permission to erect on the four main roads leading into Bolton. The new signs identified True Blue Masonic Lodge as existing in Bolton. Someone else who began a relationship with True Blue in 2002-03 was the man who reads the gas meter - a new gas line was installed in the building to feed the new furnace!

At one point during the year, W Bro. Michael Carter turned to Immediate Past Master W Bro. Ralph Botting and announced that True Blue Lodge had succeeded in raising a total of $1500.00 for the Shriners Hospital "Sneaker Fund". The monies were donated in memory of long-time Shriner Clown and True Blue member, Bro. Herb Morrison.

The lodge lost yet another Past Master when news of W Bro. James Reid's (Master in 1981) passing was sadly noted during the February Meeting. As I look down from my location, my gaze is always met by W Bro. Reid's masterful carpentry skills. The wooden Collar and Wand Stand remain as W Bro. Reid's gift to True Blue. Ironically, the minutes of 2002-03 would record that a motion was put forward to procure wands for True Blue's

Stewards - the only sections of the Stand to not have implements in its holders.

There was an increase in degrees conferred this year with Bro. Kenneth Dick (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Baha Hadi (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and Bro. Joseph Storr (1st) all being put through their paces. If we only had one more candidate, then during Senior Warden's Night, the Master of the Evening, W Bro. Fred Wegner would not have to have had substitute candidate W Bro. David Syme looking up at him from the Altar!

During April, the assembled brethren were duly impressed with a tremendous piece of Masonic Education presented by W Bro. John Holding - "Mozart the Mason: His Masonic Music" - and in May, W Bro. Peter Wohlert paid homage to VW Bro. William McBride through a motion to have True Blue procure and place in the lodge's display cabinet the original Jacob's Ladder made by the Very Worshipful Sir.

I know you probably expect me to say that RW Bro. Paul Egan oversaw the annual Installation Evening, but he did not! W Bro. Alex Cain was the Installing Master for his good friend and neighbour, W Bro. John Holding.

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W.Bro John Holding2003 - 04
Worshipful Master John Holding

One of the main differences between a Masonic Lodge and other organizations is the wonderful degree of precision that is placed on the historical aspects of the Order. The floor work dates back to Medieval times and is what links current members to our ancient brethren - the words are the same. An important aspect of leadership in a Masonic Lodge comes down to the Master's attention to ritual. W Bro. Holding sets a very high standard for Masonic practice and certainly follows my own adherence to perfecting the "art" of Masonry. That "art" involves paying due respect to the details of performance and W Bro. Holding is indeed a "Master" of that.

When W Bro. John Holding takes on a job, he can be counted on to complete it. Such was the case with last year's motion regarding those Steward Wands. At the September Meeting the wands were in use with the

bases cast by Tiffany Foundry in Orangeville (the owner of which had affiiations with Masonry and cast them at no cost), the wooden lengths from Bro. Robert Wylie's (a new affiliate member who joined True Blue's ranks) Mother Lodge, Willowdale #717 which was no longer under warrant, the tips were donated by RW Bro. Paul Egan and the wands were assembled by Bro. Gary Gauthier. Other additions to True Blue during 2003-04 were the information sign now adorning the outside entry of the building and the curtains hanging in the lodge room.

December was a very sad month when, on back-to-back days, True Blue lost VW Bro. William McBride (Master in 1959) on December 9th and VW Bro. Robert Walton (Master in 1957) on December 10th. The losses actually continued to mount this year as the following brethren also passed to the Grand Lodge Above: Bro. Donald Kaake, Bro. Harold Brown, W Bro. Murray Irwin (Master in 1961) and Bro. Robert Palmer.

The year, however, was not without its highlights. VW Bro. Donald Wylie moved that W Bro. David Syme be supported by True Blue in his bid to be made District Deputy Grand Master of Toronto District 7 in our 150th year - a motion unanimously supported by the brethren of True Blue. VW Bro. Lloyd Bittle was presented with his 50-year membership pin and a wonderful Ladies' Lunch was held at Carrying Place. Past Masters Night had VW Bro. Lloyd Bittle as Master of the Evening while Senior Wardens Night had W Bro. David Syme in the East. True Blue members decided to guild the Working Tools of their Daughter Lodge, Peel, on the occasion of its Centennial Year.

The degree work for 2003-04 was sparse, with very few candidates available from within True Blue. Beyond Bro. Joseph Storr (2nd, 3rd) and Bro. Ramesh Jolly (1st), the lodge had to look outside to supply two more degree presentations to Bro. Peter Gilberger (2nd) of Peel Lodge and Bro. John Imorbile (2nd) of Wellington Lodge.

The year wrapped up with Installing Master W Bro. Peter Wohlert placing W Bro. Harvey Rideout in the Chair of King Solomon.

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W.Bro Harvey Rideout2004 - 05
Worshipful Master Harvey Rideout

W Bro. Harvey Rideout is focused on having brethren visit other lodges. That is really the essence of Masonry - to visit, support others and spread the brotherly love. Far too often, the leading of a lodge becomes so targeted on the monthly meetings of the Master's own lodge that visiting is left to chance. W Bro. Rideout has chosen to not leave True Blue's support of other lodges to any such chance; he leads the visiting by example and puts the challenge out there to his brethren. It is somewhat ironic that such a master would be True Blue's leader in a year in which visiting other lodges in Toronto District 7 would ultimately be so important to one of True Blue's members who aspired to higher objectives.

Although a continuing lack of internal candidates continued to plague True Blue in 2004-05, with Bro. Ramesh Jolly (2nd, 3rd) being the only brother to be advanced, W Bro. Harvey Rideout was determined to make this year an excellent one for his lodge. It is a valuable lesson for future Masters to realize that Masonic Meetings can still be interesting and worthwhile without degree work. Masonic Education became a regular staple of the first Friday of the month with an array of accomplished Masons sharing historical and practical demonstrations throughout the year. Fellowship was also a focus with "Family Day In The Sugar Bush" and another Ladies Lunch at Carrying Place involving not just the brethren of True Blue, but also their families. The lodge also hosted an historical event on Saturday, May 28th when the Mayor of Caledon, Marolyn Morrison, in front of many brethren, their families and a contingent of Bolton community members, officially proclaimed our grand old lodge building a Heritage Structure. This was a culmination of many hours of persistence and dedication on the part of our Immediate Past Master, W Bro. John Holding.

Upon learning of a Grand Lodge decision to realign the Toronto Area lodges, and end the existence of Toronto District 7 after the 2005-06 Masonic Year, the brethren of True Blue confirmed that W Bro. David Syme would be better to stand for DDGM election for 2005-06 rather than waiting for the 150th Year of True Blue's existence. The aforementioned visitations were kicked into high gear to support this honourable cause.

Past Masters Night was led by W Bro. Ralph Botting with W Bro. Patrick Clemence standing in as the 2nd Degree candidate, and Senior Wardens Night also saw W Bro. Ralph Botting taking on the role of Master of the Evening. A special 3rd Degree was performed under the direction of Master of the Evening and the current Ruling Master of Peel Lodge, W Bro. Jeff Laceby for Bro. Grant Sherman of Peel Lodge when a Degree Team made up of Tecumseh Shriners, Peel Lodge members and True Blue members combined for an excellent display of Masonry in action. Another non-True Blue candidate to be honoured with a degree in True Blue during 2004-05 was Bro. Warren Martel (2nd) from Union Lodge.

The year drew to a close with a Memorial Service commemorating Bro. Malcolm Cole and Bro. Bruce Cameron, who both passed away during 2004-05, a 50-year membership pin presentation to RW Bro. Marshall Jess and a motion moved and carried which raised the annual dues to $125.00. Back in 1868, I certainly would have been hard pressed to come up with that kind of money!

A truly unique event occurred in June when a son, W. Bro. Jeff Laceby, installed his father, W Bro. William Laceby as the Ruling Master of True Blue.

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W.Bro William Laceby2005 - 06
Worshipful Master William Laceby

W Bro. William Laceby's contention is that "If it's worth doing, then you just have to have fun doing it!" He certainly put that motto into use when he transformed True Blue's annual "Summer Meeting" for Officers and Past Masters into a regal affair involving spouses / significant others at the Caledon Trout Fishing Club. As it turns out, this wonderful event was one of the Worshipful Sir's "must do things" in, what would ultimately become, a true memorial to his strong spirit and support for others.

The Masonic Year began with the tremendous news that W Bro. David Syme had become RW Bro. David Syme upon being elected the final District Deputy Grand Master of Toronto District 7. With his travelling companion, District Secretary W Bro. Michael Carter, the Right Worshipful Sir made his True Blue brethren very proud of his leadership of the District. Indeed, True Blue honoured RW Bro. Syme at a special evening on September 23rd, at which time, the Syme family entered the lodge room and added their pride to the assembly. Yet another of our True Blue brethren joined the ranks of Grand Lodge when VW Bro. John Holding was appointed as Grand Steward in Toronto District 5.

W Bro. Laceby's connection as a member of Peel Lodge certainly had an impact on True Blue's ranks as a record number of affiliations occurred when the following Peel brethren joined True Blue: Br. Edgar Cooke, Bro. Nathan Publow, Bro. Wayne Dobson, W Bro. Jeff Laceby and Bro. Michael Laceby. Degree work also rose significantly during W Bro. William Laceby's term in the East with the following brethren receiving degrees: Bro. Robert Hess (1st performed by the Scottish Rite Degree Team), Bro. Alfred Costar (1st, 2nd), Bro, Stuart Birnie (1st, 2nd), Bro. Derek Paterson (1st) and Bro. Sean Black (1st).

W Bro. William Laceby assisted Masters of the Evening VW Bro. John Holding (Past Masters Night) and W Bro. Ralph Botting (Senior Wardens Night), and also had the distinct honour of welcoming RW Bro. David Syme into his own lodge on the occasion of his Official Visit in December. Unfortunately, the Worshipful Sir also led the brethren in three Memorial Services during his term as Master when Bro. Donald Clarke, Bro. Arthur Betts and Bro. Murray Tindale passed away.

After a three-year hiatus from his typical June duties, RW Bro. Paul Egan once again sat as the Installing Master at the end of the 2005-06 Masonic Year and ensured that W Bro. Patrick Clemence was firmly installed as the Master of True Blue for the lodge's 149th year.

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W.Bro Patrick Clemence2006 - 07
Worshipful Master Patrick Clemence

W Bro. Patrick Clemence has the innate ability to bring a high level of formality to a proceeding. He is blessed with an excellent memory (as evidenced by the perfect detail presented in his typical floorwork), a fine sense of decorum (which always pays due honour to those around him) and impeccable timing underlying his dry sense of humour (which certainly mellows out every situation that might have a tendency towards tenseness). The fact that his vocation is that of a professional musician might just have something to do with his ability to grab hold of an audience and make it feel "taken care of". His year in the East will certainly prove to be one that very effectively leads up to True Blue's 150th Anniversary celebrations.

It's no wonder that W Bro. Clemence's first meeting in September was pushing the hour of 11:00 p.m. at its conclusion - he packed the evening with so many celebrations of True Blue's excellence! The brethren were thanked for the recent Lodge Open House held in conjunction with the Bolton Historical Society and for volunteering to run a Masonic information booth at the upcoming Bolton Fall Fair. The Western Light Banner was unveiled in all its new refurbished splendour thanks to the combined efforts of VW Bro. John Holding, W Bro. Thomas Carberry and W Bro. Alex Cain. A brand new banner depicting True Blue's upcoming 150th Year was donated by W Bro. Thomas Carberry's family and two scholarships donated by True Blue to graduates of Bolton's Humberview Secondary School were initiated by W Bro. Thomas Carberry, VW Bro. John Holding, W Bro. Patrick Clemence and W Bro. Michael Walmsley. The evening also marked the first time True Blue was a member of the newly-formed Toronto York District. I was absolutely delighted to also witness a presentation on my good friend and the person who installed me as True Blue's first Master back in 1858, VW Bro. Solomon Stogdill.

The highlights just continued happening in 2006-07. VW Bro. Michael Carter was presented with his Grand Steward regalia, the new True Blue Banner was initially used in the Bolton Remembrance Day Parade, W Bro. Clemence's efforts resulted in the True Blue website being up and running, the remaining 7 Founding Members of True Blue were highlighted at various meetings (that certainly brought some wonderful memories flooding back), Past Masters Night had W Bro. Craig Nogas once again sitting in the Chair of King Solomon and VW Bro. Michael Carter took his place as Master of the Evening during Senior Wardens Night.

W Bro. Clemence was also kept busy with degree work when the following members increased their knowledge of the Craft: Bro. Sean Black (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Stuart Birnie (3rd), Bro. Derek Paterson (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Bryan Burbidge (1st), Bro. Miles Tapp (1st), Bro. Christopher Farah (1st) and Bro. Glenn Reid (1st). Also, Bro. James Sullivan joined our ranks through affiliation. The happiness associated with the preceding brethren's progress was offset with the sadness at the passing away of Bro. Peter Trizzolo and the death of Immediate Past Master W Bro. William Laceby. As it turns out, W Bro. Laceby knew of his limited lifespan when he assumed the leadership of True Blue the year before - it is a true mark of Masonic spirit that the brethren of True Blue played such a very important part in W Bro. Laceby's fulfilling of his dreams. As his words resonate, "If it's worth doing, then you just have to have fun doing it!"

RW Bro. Paul Egan surfaced again as the Installing Master for W Bro. Michael Walmsley as True Blue Lodge stepped into its Sesquicentennial Year.

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W.Bro Michael Walmsley2007 - 08
Worshipful Master Michael Walmsley

True Blue's 150th celebrations got under way at the opening of lodge in September when RW Bro. Paul Egan and VW Bro. John Holding unveiled a new Altar Cloth signifying True Blue's rich history and, in a gesture of the past moving to the future, the Worshipful Master enjoyed the privilege of initiating his son, Bro. Aaron Walmsley at that Altar Cloth into the mysteries and privileges of Free Masonry.

Despite a very busy Sesquicentennial year, True Blue managed to complete a great number of degrees with the following brethren moving themselves through the mysteries and privileges of Ancient Free Masonry: Bro. Aaron Walmsley (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Bro. Alfred Costar (3rd), Bro. Glenn Reid (2nd, 3rd), Bro. Miles Tapp (2nd), Bro. Gord MacLaren (1st, 2nd - at Imperial East Gate Lodge -, 3rd), Bro. Christopher Plante (1st, 2nd - at Imperial East Gate Lodge), Bro. Lanny Sleep (1st), Bro. Bryan Burbidge (3rd - presented by the Emergency Services Degree Team), and Bro. Blaine Hartley (1st). One affiliation also occurred when Bro. Ronald Reid was admitted into True Blue.

In a year of historical significance, VW Bro. Ralph Botting was presented with his Assistant Grand Chaplain regalia, former Master of True Blue, W Bro. William Laceby was posthumously honoured when the Nobleton Arena was renamed in his memory and True Blue Lodge firmly supported a District motion to rename the recently organized Toronto York District to the York District. During an unusual daylight meeting on the morning of Saturday, December 8th, True Blue hosted the District Deputy Grand Master's Annual Visit. At this meeting, I was again somewhat startled when something called a video recorder was used to tape a special occurrence in lodge: both W Bro. Charles Strong and W Bro. Cal Daines received their 70-year membership pins from RW Bro. Rea Gibson and W Bro. Michael Walmsley even though both of the honoured brethren were hospitalized at the time of the meeting. Apparently, this video contraption took moving pictures of the presentation and they will be shown to the absent honourees at a later date!

Other special events during 2007-08 included a return of Ladies' Night which was held at the Glen Eagle Golf and Country Club, the establishing of an annual "Chili Cook-off" between a number of neighbouring rural lodges, the refurbishment of the lodge organ by W Bro. Patrick Clemence (who immediately demonstrated the excellence of the repairs by amazing every brother present with his excellent musical talent) and the presentation to True Blue by RW Bro. David Syme of a portrait of himself as the final District Deputy Grand Master of Toronto District 7 along with the District Deputy Grand Master's cuffs worn by RW Bro. Syme and all of the preceding Toronto District 7 District Deputy Grand Masters.

The pinnacle of the year occurred on March 5th - exactly 150 years from the moment that I first opened lodge under the name "True Blue"! At the 150th Anniversary Meeting, True Blue was highly honoured with the presence of Grand Master MW Bro. Allan J. Petrisor and District Deputy Grand Master RW Bro. Rea Gibson. After moving from Labour to Refreshment, the brethren welcomed Town of Caledon Mayor Marolyn Morrison who presented congratulatory certificates from the town. VW Bro. Brian Shannon, on behalf of True Blue's Daughter Lodge, Peel, presented a handmade wooden Masonic clock crafted by Bro. Alex McLeod. W Bro. Peter Wohlert, True Blue's long-serving Chair of the Membership Committee, presented a framed, hand-printed scroll recording the names of all current members of True Blue in this 150th year. Bro. James Becksted then presented a new framed photograph of Queen Elizabeth, along with certificates of congratulations from the Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, the Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty, the Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley, Provincial Member of Parliament, Sylvia Jones and Member of Parliament David Tilson. The First Degree was conducted under the glow of Bro. Wayne Dobson's handmade candle holders, after which every brother present was presented with a 150th Anniversary Pin (designed by Bro. Glenn Reid and W Bro. Patrick Clemence). At the conclusion of the 150th Anniversary Meeting, VW Bro. Michael Carter moved that from now on, the first Friday in March be designated True Blue's yearly Anniversary Meeting and that that meeting be conducted by candle light. The motion being unanimously supported, the brethren rejoined to an Anniversary Banquet held at Rotary Place.

The 150th Year concluded with W Bro. Wayne Dobson installed in the Chair of King Solomon, ready to lead True Blue into the excellence that has always been synonymous with its name. By the way, the Installing Master was that RW Bro. Paul Egan guy again and he brought a fitting end to the year by breaking his own record for speed - the lodge closed by 10:10 p.m.!

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Introduction | Conclusion | Notable Accomplishments