Written by Clearwater Legion 259 president Charlotte Cederholm
In the fall of 1958, a group of World War I and World War II veterans, spearheaded by R.J. Franks with the support of 17 other veterans, decided to form the Legion Branch in Vavenby, B.C. They signed up on Jan. 10, 1959, and, upon receipt of the charter on March 31, 1959, Vavenby and District Branch 259 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Pacific Command, was born.
At the start, meetings were held in the local school, then in a one-room cabin that was on skids to be moved when the property was acquired. Soon, property was finally acquired about three miles north of Vavenby on the highway, and the Legion’s home was moved.
Early in 1976, the big move came to “The Flats” in Clearwater, B.C. Members of the Branch and Ladies Auxiliary settled into their new accommodations (where Double R Pizza now resides).
Escalating costs of maintaining the large building and overhead made it necessary for the sale of the building. The Branch moved, lock, stock and barrel, to the old school in the community of Birch Island until they were forced to move again when the school district would not renew the lease.
Sadly, in 1992 while in Birch Island, the Ladis Auxiliary folded, due to lack of membership.
For a number of years, the Branch held their meetings and functions in the Elks hall until property was obtained in 1998. The new building was designated and construction was complete in 2002, with the grand opening held on Nov. 11 that same year.
The Clearwater Legion 259 remains there to this day, serving our veterans, seniors, youth and community.
The Royal Canadian Legion
The Royal Canadian Legion is a non-profit organization that serves Canadian war veterans, and supports their local communities.
They are best known for selling by-donation poppies each passing year, and organizing Remembrance Day ceremonies across the country to honour those who have served.
The Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization.
After the First World War ended, an appeal for unity led to the formation of the Dominion Veterans Alliance. This later changed to “The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League,” in Winnipeg in 1925.
The Legion was then recognized as a special Act of Parliament and the Charter was issued in July 1926.
On Dec. 19, 1960, Queen Elizabeth II soon gave her consent to use “Royal” as a prefix and the organization changed their name to what it is known as today, “The Royal Canadian Legion.”
The Act of Incorporation was later amended in 1961 to make the change official.
This group was formed to provide a voice for First World War veterans. However, soon after the Second World War, there became a higher demand for the Legion’s services.
The Royal Canadian Legion soon expanded, and were able to dedicate more support to veterans and those who were serving abroad.
With 260,000 members in 1,350 branches, the Legion’s goal is to continue to improve the lives of veterans. They also serve the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP, along with their families.
The objective has consistently remained to support men and women who serve this country and strive to make a difference.