Cryptic Rite Masons of Western Canada

Royal and Select Masters



It was a felicitous coincidence that the visit of the Grand Master to Zabud Council on May 3, 2024
was 100 years to the day the Council was constituted.
Zabud dates its origin after the revival of the Grand Council of Canada in Toronto by three Ontario
councils on October 30, 1922. It would seem that actions were taken almost immediately afterward to
form a Council in Vancouver. The Square magazine of January 1923 features an article on the Cryptic
Rite and informs readers that a Council had “recently” been instituted under Canada in Vancouver,
with J.J. Miller as Grand Inspector General. Considering other documents at the time stated the annual
“reunion” of the Council in the 1920s was in November, it is quite conceivable Zabud was instituted
in November 1922.
Grand Council did not meet again until January 1924, at which time approval was given to constitute
Zabud as No. 4 on the register of the Grand Council of Canada. However, the Ontarians seemed loath
to bear the expense and time of travelling to the West Coast to perform the ceremony. Instead, the
Grand Master of Cryptic Rite Masons of Washington State was deputized to open an emergent
meeting of the Grand Council of Canada in Vancouver to constitute the Council and install its
This was done on May 3, 1924 at the Grandview Masonic Hall at 1 st Avenue and Salsbury.
While Zabud’s old records have been gone for many years, since this was an emergent meeting of
Grand Council, its minutes have been preserved in the 1925 Proceedings of that body, so we know
who the officers were. Ill. Comp. the Rev. Samuel Fea carried on as T.I.M., as he had since the
institution (he was later a Grand Master), with R. Ill. Comp. J.J. Miller as Recorder. J.J. was the
founder in 1906 of Lodge Southern Cross in Vancouver, which practised the ritual and customs of his
lodges in New South Wales.
The Grandview District was a hot-bed of Masonic activity at the time, with the founding of
Grandview and Unity Lodges and Triple Tau Royal Arch Chapter. A number of the same people were
in the various chairs of each of these bodies (Columbia Preceptory moved to Grandview in the early
‘30s). The late M. Ex. Comp. Alex Rollo of Unity and Triple Tau confirmed that J.J. brought the
festive board customs of Lodge Southern Cross to these various bodies, including Zabud Council.
J.J.’s reports as G.I.G. to Grand Council indicate the Royal and Select Masters degrees were
confirmed on the same night. The Super Excellent Master degree was conferred for the first time on
November 21, 1924. 42 candidates received the degree, including 16 from Washington state. For the
first several years, Zabud used the ritual of the General Grand Chapter of the United States until a
Canadian version was written.
There was no Pacific Ocean Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners in Vancouver in the 1920s. This degree
was conferred by dispensation from Grand Council. J.J. received it in 1925; presumably that was the
first time the degree was conferred in Zabud Council. In 1931, Grand Council authorised the
chartering of Royal Ark Mariner lodges attached to Councils. While Zabud was No. 4, it was a little
late in applying for a Royal Ark Mariner charter, and Pacific Ocean Lodge began as No. 7. Sadly, the
first Commander Noah of the lodge, Wy. Comm. Lionel Ward, died in office.
In the meantime, M. Ill. Comp. Miller was elected the second Grand Master of Grand Council and
served from 1928 to 1930.
It was decided that the Cryptic Rite would be better off if Western Canada was a separate
jurisdiction. This became a reality on May 10, 1938, with Zabud Council and Pacific Ocean
Lodge at the head of the register as No. 1.

The Council has had its high points and low points. We spawned Councils in New Westminster and
North Vancouver. The beloved J.J. Miller died Christmas Eve 1950 at the age of 90, still serving as
Recorder. Not too many years ago, the Council reached a point where it occasionally did not have a
quorum to meet. However, thanks to sturdy leadership and several Comps. spreading the word about
Cryptic Masonry, Zabud has rebounded and we hope will be able to provide further light to worthy
Masons for years to come.

Jim Bennie, PGIG, PTIM Zabud No. 1

May 3, 2024


ZABUD Council No.1

Vancouver, BC


Zabud Council No.1

Kerrisdale Masonic Hall,

2146 West 41st Ave
Vancouver, BC 
Recorder: George Heggie 
1st Friday: Feb, Mar, May & Oct.