Who We Are
For over a century and a half, the Loyal Orange Association has been a National Fraternal Organization in Canada and, as the years passed, enthusiasm for its concept and principles inspired the formation of the Ladies’ Orange Benevolent Association, the Orange Young Britons, and Junior Orange Lodges.
Together they strive to ensure a continued Protestant Witness in Canada in honour of the Glorious Revolution and to perpetuate the memory of William of Orange who strove valiantly in the cause of Religious Freedom and Democracy.
Orange Societies, in one form or another, have been in existence in various parts of the world since 1688 when Prince William of Orange came to England, at the request of a coalition of parties, to defend “the liberties of Englishmen and the Protestant Religion.” They were organized so that people of like mind might join together to support and maintain those principles, and the democratic concepts that were established by the Act of Settlement. The terms of that Act placed William and Mary on the Throne of England, and were enhanced by William’s wise and intelligent use of the Parliament that placed them there.
Thus, the Constitutional Monarchy was born, securing the principle of freedom of worship, and spelling out the basic principles of a Constitutional Government that was to be the model for all Western democracies to follow.
All Canadians, because of Canada’s evolvement through the British Connection, benefit from this form of government. Orange men and women pledge to support it and the Protestant concept of the Christian religion.
The Loyal Orange Association of British America was formed in 1830, generally to be known as the “Grand Orange Lodge”. That feat was accomplished largely through the initiative of Ogle Robert Gowan, a then recent newcomer to Canada, the territory the new Grand Lodge was intended to oversee. Gowan brought to his adopted land a conviction that a Branch of the Loyal Orange Association should e nurtured and cultivated in Canada as a recognized organization.
The birthplace was Brockville, Ontario, a centre of Protestant and Loyalist settlers, dedicated to maintaining their religious convictions and their loyalty to the British Crown.
Prior to that year, lodges of the Orange Order had operated as ndependant units, planted in Upper and Lower Canada, and that part of the country now known as the Maritime Provinces, principally by pioneers who brought with them, from the British Isles, “Certificates of Membership”. Others were started by settlers retired from military service, where Lodges had existed within units such as the Fourth Regiment of Foot – generally known as King William’s Regiment.
The ideals and principles of the Loyal Orange Association in Canada have been developed and expanded over the last century and a half to reflect the realities of a growing nation. They are simple, and, inarguably, can be accepted by all fair-minded people.
Orangemen and Women Pledge:
- To support to their utmost the Protestant concept of the Christian religion.
- To maintain the Laws and Constitution of Canada
- To afford assistance to distressed Members
- To promote such laudable and benevolent purposes as may tend to the due ordering of religion and Christian charity, and the supremacy of law, order, and constitutional freedom.
These are the motivations that have prompted Orange men and women to serve in public office, from the person of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, to the many others who, as individuals, have played a great part in promoting these ideals as Elected Representatives on School Boards, Municipal Councils, in Provincial Legislatures, and in the Parliament of Canada.
In addition to Sir John A. Macdonald, the Association’s membership rolls have recorded the names of many other distinguished Canadians such as the Hon. John Hillyard Cameron; Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Prime Minister; Hon. N. Clarke Wallace; and the Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker, Prime Minister.
The Loyal Orange Association is organized in a system of Lodges – Primary Lodges at the local level, with District and County (in some cases) and Provincial Grand Lodges, to assist in the administration of the Association and to carry out the policies of the National body – the Grand Orange Lodge of Canada.
Authority for the administration of the Order is vested in the Executive Officers of the Grand Orange Lodge of Canada.