Grand Orange Lodge of Western Canada History
The first Orange Lodge in Manitoba was instituted by a few of the officers and men of the 1st Ontario Rifles, under Colonel (later Lord) Wolesley, who commanded the first Red River expedition in the year 1870. These men actuated by the highest motives, and jealous of the heritage which had passed into their keeping, and being desirous of preserving those privileges they and their progenitors had enjoyed for so long, had secured a warrant to open an Orange Lodge, which was carried in the knapsack of ex-Alderman Johnson E. Cooper of Emerson, all the way over the old Dawson trail, this being the line of march of the troops. The warrant was numbered 1307. On account of the large number of soldiers and voyageurs who accompanied them, it was found exceedingly difficult to procure a room in which to perform the instituting ceremonies.
There happened to be lying at anchor in the Assiniboine River a small schooner named "Jesse McKinley," which had but recently arrived from the lake, and in the cabin of this schooner on the night of Monday, September 19th, 1870, was organized the first Orange Lodge west of the great lakes, and its officers duly and constitutionally elected and installed.
The warrant lay upon a small table taken from the room inside the fort in which Louis Riel, the rebel, slept, and around the table sat the men who had the undying honour and privilege of forming the first Orange Lodge on the lone prairie.
...The Lodge rapidly increased in membership, and early in the year 1872, less than two years after its formation, it was composed of 260 members, and was thought to be, as it very likely, the largest lodge in the Dominion.
Their first lodge room was a little log cabin which stood north of Euclid Street, a lonely house out on the prairie, and it was rented at thirty dollars per year.
The early history of the Orange Association in the West is largely the history of L.O.L. 1307 in Winnipeg.
The first Orange celebration took place in Winnipeg on the 12th July, 1871, and was held at Armstrong's Point, the numbers attending being about three hundred.
The first Grand Lodge in Manitoba was formed on March 21st, 1872.
North West Mounted Police Lodges
Some of the earliest and more isolated Loyal Orange Lodges in the North West Territories were those of the North West Mounted Police.
LOL No. 1493 was formed at Fort Walsh, in the Cypress Hills of Saskatchewan in 1881. This lodge later relocated to Maple Creek when Fort Walsh was abandoned.
LOL No. 1582, Fort Battleford
In the 1897 annual report, the Grand Secretary reported:
"L.O.L. 1582, Battleford owing to circumstances over which the brethren of that lodge had no control, have been obliged to disband, and thus this lodge is dormant. The large majority of the brethren are members of the N.W.M.P. and most of them received orders of removal to the Yukon, and there not being sufficient members left to carry on the business of a lodge their charter and lodge property was returned to me."
The members, of course, were dispatched to the Klondike Gold Rush.
LOL No. 1527, MacLeod, (Fort MacLeod) was likely another NWMP lodge. It was reported in 1899 that "L.O.L. 1527, MacLeod, has returned its warrant, the majority of the members of this Lodge having enlisted in the cause of the empire and are now with the Canadian forces in the Transvaal." Many members of the NWMP served with Canada's mounted regiments during the South African war.