80 Years Old and Going Strong!!!

At first, executive meetings were held in the members’ homes, with the home-owner receiving for his munificence, the handsome honorarium of five-cents a head; not inconsistent one might be tempted to conclude, at a time when one could buy a good cigar for five cents and with annual dues established at $2.00 per annum. Even this modest amount could be paid in four quarterly installments of fifty cents each.

The property on which our branch now stands was donated to us by a prominent member of the community, Mr.Bert Irwin, for whose family Irwin Road is named. Located on one corner of the property was a volunteer fire-hall, where special executive meetings were held as circumstances permitted. At least, now we had a site and were able to dream of something more permanent, and it was then our original Branch building had its birth. Under the British Empire Service League, a Charter was granted to Coronation Branch 286 on April 2nd, 1937. There were 15 Charter Members.

It may well be said that with rare exceptions, all fledgling branches of the Royal Canadian Legion in Canada had very humble beginnings, depending essentially on volunteer labour, the largesse and benevolence of the community and an unmatched capability to “scrounge” what was needed. With few, but very willing hands and donated materials, construction went ahead, and on Feb.8, 1939, the Legion Hall was opened; a single-storey building, one we could call our own, at least nominally, for as a concession to economic necessity, we did not enjoy exclusive occupancy. For a five year period from 1942 to 1947, the Board of Education rented it (at $700.00 per year) and used it as a school. This concept of “sharing” extended into the early 1950’s when, for a time, Executive meetings were held in the “Ladies”, which thus became quite literally a privy-council chamber.