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Masonic Bios

John Ross Robertson

Born December 28, 1841, Toronto, Canada. Educated at Upper Canada College, giving much of his time, however, to the study of the printing trade and editing a small college paper from his father's home during three years, from 1857 to 1860.

Every stage in the development of this paper was handled by John Robertson personally-literary, mechanical and clerical. Thus he naturally cultivated journalism, editing in turn Young Canada, the Grumbler, Sporting Life, and Canadian Railway Guide. By 1863 he was city editor of the Toronto Globe and founder, 1866, of the Daily Telegraph. March 14, 1867, made a Freemason in King Solomon's Lodge No. 22, Toronto. Brother Robertson spent several years in England for the Toronto Globe. Returning to Canada, he managed the Nation in 1875 and in April, 1876, founded the Evening Telegram. He found time to devote his talents to Freemasonry. In 1879 he was elected Junior Warden; in 1880, Worshipful Master. He had served as Worshipful Master of Mimico Lodge No. 369, 1879; Grand Steward, Grand Lodge of Canada, 1880, and two years later was Senior Grand Warden. In 1886 Brother Robertson was Deputy Grand Master of the Toronto District.

In 1888 the Grand Lodge of Canada unanimously elected him Deputy Grand Master and he was re-elected In 1890 he was elected Grand Master and was re-elected the following year. Elected a full member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, May 6, 1904. Brother Robertson's Masonic writings included Talk's with Craftsmen, 1893; History of the Cryptic Rite, 1888 and 1890; History of the Knights Templar of Canada , 1890, and History of Freemasonry in Canada, 1899. Brother Robertson was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hospital for Sick Children and for thirty-five years furthered this worthy cause and is said to have visited the hospital every day. He personally equipped and presented to the Charity the Hospital buildings in College Street and Elizabeth Street, built and founded the Lakeside Home for Little Children, Toronto Island, built a Nurses' Hostel, a Pavilion for tubercular treatment and established the pasteurizing of milk in the Hospital grounds at Toronto.

Many civic and public benefits in Toronto are due to him, improvements in the ambulance service, health department, and supplying free medical inspection and aid in schools. He made many public gifts in the way of books, pictures, and so forth. He three times declined to he candidate for Mayor of Toronto. In 1902 he also gratefully declined a Knighthood and a Senatorship. For many years Brother Robertson was President of the Canadian Copyright Association; he served as Vice-President and President of the Canadian Associated Press, and was Honorary President of the Toronto Press Club at his death. His own statement as an editor was: "I am not a party politician; my aim is to keep both parties right." Brother Robertson died May 31, 1918, a last act of benevolence being to donate $111,000 on May 20 to the Children's Hospital (see Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, volume iii, page 137, and volume xxxi, page 178).

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

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