St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 1 is the oldest Masonic lodge in Canada and in the British Commonwealth overseas. “The First Lodge" at Halifax was established by Edward Cornwallis (founder of Halifax), after petitioning for a Warrant from the Provincial Grand Master, Erasmus James Phillips, representing the St. John's Grand Lodge in Boston, Massachusetts. The lodge first met under this warrant on July 19, 1750. In 1757 members petitioned the Grand Lodge of England (Ancients) for a Provincial Grand Lodge Warrant (No. 1, N. S.). On organization of this Provincial Grand Lodge in 1758 the “First Lodge” became Lodge No. 4 on the Provincial Registry. In 1768, Lodge No. 4 obtained an English Warrant No. 155, "Ancients" dated March 26th, 1768. This document is still in possession of the lodge. Around 1783 the name" Saint Andrew's" was adopted, probably due to the influence of Loyalists from Boston where "St. Andrew's Lodge" was most prominent. In 1814 upon formation of the United Grand Lodge of England, the number of St. Andrew's Lodge was changed to No. 188. In 1832 the lodge renumbered to 137, then in 1863 to No. 118.
In 1866 the Scottish lodges in Nova Scotia organized an independent Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, continuing until 1869 when the English lodges in Nova Scotia united with it to form the present Grand Lodge of NS.. St. Andrew’s Lodge became No. 1, GLNS. In 1871 UGLE granted the lodge the privilege of wearing the Centenary Jewel of the Grand Lodge of England in recognition of the fact that the Lodge had been for over a hundred years on the Registry of that Grand Lodge. In 1927 the Lodge adopted a distinctive coat of arms. The motto of the lodge is “Sit lux et lux fuit,” “Let there be light and there was light”. The Lodge has numbered on its roll ten Grand Masters, several Governors, Premiers, a Prime Minister, Members of the Legislature and Parliament, Bishops and leaders of the Church, Officers of the Army and Navy and distinguished business leaders. 2020 marks the 270th anniversary of the lodge with plans underway for the 275th anniversary in 2025.