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The Square
British Columbia’s masonic magazine
Editor's Note: The Square, which originally billed itself as "British Columbia's Masonic Magazine" was published in Vancouver, B.C. between the years 1921 and 1925. The following article is by Greg Robinson, M.M. Orient Lodge No. 339, G.R.C. A.F. & A.M. (Bro. Greg Robinson is a member of the Canadian Masonic Research Association. He is a regular contributor to these pages.)
The first edition of The Square, a monthly journal, was published in October of 1921. Based in Vancouver, R.J. Templeton and E.A. Mallett served as Editor and Manager respectively. However, this partnership was soon dissolved. The edition for March of 1922 announced that on February 27th of that year, Mallett had transferred his interest in The Square to Templeton, who remained the sole owner and publisher.
The Square originally billed itself as "British Columbia's Masonic Magazine". This changed to "A Magazine For Masons" beginning with the edition for September of 1922 and to "Western Canada's Masonic Magazine" beginning with the edition for October of 1924. As The Square progressed and matured, regular features were added. "Questions and Answers" began in December of 1921, "Our Library Table", a review of Masonic literature, began in October of 1922, and "The Craft Abroad", a chronicle of overseas Masonic news, began in May 1923. The Square also provided for the sale of Masonic literature. Commercial advertising was so heavy, even in the early editions, that a directory was necessary. Advertising was primarily placed by local Vancouver business firms, although there was some national and American advertising as well. One Vancouver restaurant advised readers of its readiness to supply square meals. The volume of commercial advertising remained constant throughout the life of The Square. One regular advertiser was the Masonic Employment Bureau, which had been organized as a result of the activities of a special committee drawn from those lodges contributing to the Vancouver Masonic Board of Relief. It established an office in the basement of the Temple Building in Vancouver and proceeded to register unemployed brethren and to solicit the cooperation of those brethren able to provide employment. The edition for March of 1922 noted that the obligation of an unemployed brother "is two-fold. He must be a diligent workman, whatever the tools he uses, and more- he must remember his responsibility as a Masonic craftsman. As surely as he expects to receive a fair day's pay for his work, so surely must he render a fair day's work for his pay, remembering that the measure is by the square."
This period following World War I was marked by economic depression and labour unrest. The edition for January of 1923 carried an interesting advertisement placed by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund which offered an award of "one hundred thousand dollars to the graduate or student of any recognized University who within five years after date is the first to discover a medicinal treatment for the effective cure of cancer.
A full-page photograph of President Warren G. Harding was featured in the edition for August of 1923. Harding was described as "an eminent brother who was called to the Grand Lodge above last month, one week after his visit to Vancouver." Reflecting back on the history of The Square, the edition for March of 1924 noted that "when our magazine first appeared back in 1921, there were those who thought we had embarked upon an impossible enterprise. Knowing something of publishing conditions and risks, they realIzed how many were the difficulties with which we would be confronted, and they could not see how we were to surmound [sic] those difficulties. The Square has grown in literary stature in the years until today, while still young as publications go, It is accorded an international importance and prominence ..." The last edition to date was published in January of 1925.
Reproduced from The Freemason.

Masonic Bulletin N. Gordon McQuarrie, ed.. Vancouver : Grand Lodge of British Columbia. December 1975 vol. xxxix no. 4 p. 28.


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