A Summary History of Beta Theta Pi in Canada

A Summary History of Beta

The first Canadian chapter of Beta Theta Pi was established in 1906.

At that time, the Fraternity itself was 67 years old, and had come through some stressful periods to a time of relative stability.

The first expansion of Beta into Canada was something of an act of faith in the wider future of the Fraternity.

At this time, more than half of the U.S. states still had no Beta chapters on their campuses.

Beta Theta Pi had settled on its definitive form of internal governance only a few years earlier.

 Many universities and colleges had sought Beta chapters, but had been told they must wait their turn.

Why did Toronto receive approval from the 1906 Convention delegates? We may never know, because convention minutes are (of necessity) brief and not very detailed.

Only the bare facts are recorded: the Theta Zeta Society of Toronto was granted a charter in 1906, at the 67th General Convention in Denver; all the other five applicants that year were refused.

One thing we do know is that one Canadian charter did not lead to a rush of Canadian charterings.

One other possibility was raised almost at once after Toronto was chartered: McGill University in Montreal. But this possibility was not pursued.

A Summary History of Beta ther suggestions for new chapters in Canada were equally passed over. Toronto remained the lone, but proud, Canadian chapter of Beta Theta Pi for the next three decades.

This is not to suggest that Toronto was ignored — far from it. In fact, the next two General Conventions after the Toronto chartering were held at the Cataract Hotel in Niagara Falls,

New York. Is it possible that this site was chosen as a nod to the new sister in the family?

A few years later, in 1911, the Fraternity held its 72nd General Convention in Canada, at the Clifton House Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

A Summary History of Beta It seems as though “the Falls” were popular among Beta brothers at that time! Only a few years later, the name of “Toronto” became a rallying cry for the entire Fraternity.

The famous episode of the “Toronto Chapter Fund” made it possible for Beta Theta Pi to keep its Toronto chapter open throughout the First World War. It did much more than that for the Fraternity as a whole.

For the first time, many brothers became fully aware of Beta Theta Pi as a fraternity with an international aspect.

The Fraternity had been given a golden opportunity to demonstrate its motto through action.

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