The first true Masonic temple in the was established in 1825, in Old Montreal, where the Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours in French) stands today. The Temple was destroyed by a fire in 1833 and then moved around before it settled on the corner of Sherbrooke and Saint Marc Streets in 1929.
The Freemasons in Montreal go far back – practically to the beginning of colonization. The Provincial Grand Lodge was founded in 1759, just after Gen. James Wolfe conquered Québec. The Francophone Freemasons met in new France at the Lodge of the Restored Freemasons, likely founded around 1743.
Conflicts Between the Freemasons and the Catholic Church
Ironically, the Masonic Temple is directly opposite the Great Seminary of Montreal. Of course there were conflicts in the 19th century – as the Catholic church in Québec labelled freemasonry as the “synagogue of Satan.” Many still condemn freemasonry, but the conflicts are a thing of the past.
Inside the Masonic Temple, there are meeting halls with no windows so as to ensure that the secrets are kept secret. Also, its doors have knockers on both sides that are used to secretly signal those on the other side.
The roots of freemasonry date back to the Middle Ages. But, it was only in 1717, with the founding of the Society of Free and Accepted Masons, in London, England that made the movement what it is today.
Though the Freemasons are quite discreet, the Montreal Masonic Temple is quite imposing, with its neoclassical façade that frames various Masonic symbols. Its beautiful architecture is partly what makes it one of the popular Montreal attractions.
It’s bronze entry door is bordered by an octagonal column on either side. The columns are topped with spheres and sit on winged horses.
The Mason Temple on Sherbrooke Street W. also bears a frieze with the motto Fides, Caritas, Veritas, Libertas, Spes – which is Latin for Faith, Charity, Truth, Liberty, Hope.
There are guided tours of the Montreal Freemasons Temple. But, they can only be arranged by appointment only on their will Open Day in spring time. Other tours of the temple can also be arranged when there are special events. See below for details.
You may not have known this, but there are some very famous freemasons. For instance, Mozart, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, and also General Wolfe and General Montcalm were all freemasons.
Montreal Masonic Memorial Temple
Where: 1850 Sherbrooke Street West, Montréal