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St. John's Great Fire 1982

St. John’s Great Fire 1982

The Masonic Temple was built as a meeting place for the Freemasons, an international fraternal organization. The first Freemason’s Hall was constructed at Long’s Hill in 1885.

When the Great Fire of 1892 destroyed the hall, plans were quickly drawn to construct a new and larger building.

Sir William Whiteway, a Freemason and the longest-serving premier of colonial Newfoundland, laid the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple on August 23, 1894.

By late 1896, the building was close enough to completion that the first Lodge meeting could be held there. The building was officially opened on April 23, 1897.

The August Gern Musical Organ was built in 1883 by August Gern Organ Builders in London. The August Gern organ is one of only two ever built of its kind with its counterpart being located in a cloistered convent in Notting Hill, London.



The organ referenced above was dedicated to the memory of George Graham Crosbie and officially presented to the Masonic Temple by his son Sir John Crosbie on April 19, 1916. Following this, there was an organ recital and concert in celebration of the organ’s completion. The organ stood in what was then known as the Freemasons’ meeting hall at the Masonic Temple.

The Masonic Temple was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1995 because of its aesthetic, historic and cultural value.



The building was used for Masonic meetings until 2007 when the Lodge relocated to the Freemason’s Hall in Mount Pearl.

In 2008, the St. John’s Masonic Temple was purchased by Spirit of Newfoundland theatre company.

In 2022, Morgan and Duncan MacRae purchased what is now known as the Masonic and are in the planning and preparation stage of a significant and exciting project to restore and reimagine the space. The Spirit of Newfoundland continued to use the space.

In March 2023, the Spirit of Newfoundland relocated from the Masonic to Gower Street United Church.

As of April 1, 2023, The Masonic is closed to the public to allow for restoration and renovation work.


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