Birch Cliff Lodge was founded in 1922 as a daughter Lodge of Wilson Lodge No. 86, which was located in Toronto and named for William Mercer Wilson, the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada in The Province of Ontario. At that time, the City of Toronto was growing rapidly, and Freemasonry matched its pace.
A number of Masons of Wilson Lodge were Toronto Hydro employees, and with the rapid growth of Toronto’s Eastern suburbs, in the post war period, a number moved out to what was then a near wilderness, to found the Scarborough Hydro Elect Commission.
As it was a significant distance to travel to the Yonge St. Masonic Temple in those days, these Masons desired a Lodge closer to their new homes. With this plan in mind, some 99 Masons of skill and learning met at the store of W.Bro. John Taylor, a Past Master of Wilson Lodge No. 86, located at Balsam Avenue at Kingston Rd. on March 23rd, 1922, to discuss the creation of a new Lodge. There were 84 Brethren who signed a petition of Charter to Grand Lodge.
One of their number was W. Bro. John A. Carveth who was chosen as the first Master of the new Lodge. The name “Birch Cliff”, as the area then was known, was adopted as the name of the new lodge. It soon received Dispensation from Grand Lodge and was denominated No. 612 on the register of Grand Lodge.
Birch Cliff held their first meeting under “Dispensation” on September 8th, 1922 in a renovated house on Birchcliff Ave. at Kingston Rd, Scarborough, which was to be its home until it was destroyed by fire in 1954. The Lodge room had been consecrated by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. William J. Drope, on November 23rd,1923.
During W. Bro. J.A. Carveth’s term as Master, 27 new Masons were Initiated and 13 Affiliated. For his great service to the Lodge, he was granted the first Honourary Life Membership in the history of the lodge. Until 2006, he was the only Master to serve more than one full term in office. It is fitting that his great-grandson, W. Bro. R.G. Carveth, was elected as the Worshipful Master of Birch Cliff to mark the millennium year of 2000.