About Us

In early 1943 a group of First World War Veterans, under the leadership of Joe Grouhel Sr., Wm. Robinson, J.R. Plant and Gilbert Schofield undertook to organize and obtain a Charter under the Royal Canadian Legion Banner. The first organizing meeting were held in the Travellers Hotel.

Response for membership was spontaneous and Nicholson Hall, above the Wigwam, was rented to meet the influx of new members. On March 21st 1944, Joe Grouhel Sr. was elected President of the newly-formed Branch. Officers elected were: Joe Grouhel Sr. as President, Wm. Robinson as 1st Vice, Gilbert Schofield as 2nd Vice, J.R. Murray as Secretary. The Executive Members were: Wm. Westwood, J.R. Plant, E.V. Boulton, Wm. Stubbs, J.S. Morgan, A.J. McKinnon, Harry McAdam and the Sgt-At-Arms was H.A. Holland.

That same year, the old Temperance Hotel was purchased from Miss Fanny Uren. Work crews renovated the building with the second storey being developed into a Meeting and Social Hall. The first Bar was built in the basement. This hall served for several years, then a group decided it was time to build a new and larger Hall. There were many pros and cons; but the pros won out. In 1953 construction got underway with Jack McDonald as Building Chairman.

The new building was to be a Legion Memorial Hall, constructed by veterans of two World Wars. Finances started with $3,000.00. Extra funding was raised by selling debentures and finally the original Legion building was sold to Doctors Bowker and Neville for $6,500.00. Bill Slade, secretary of the Branch, kept records and at times had to wait two or three months for his pay, which equated to $20.00 a month. Some of the principal people involved were: John Teuz, Alan Carey, Bill Brown Jr., Sandy Carr, Harry Lewis, Vic Dods, Bruce King, Claire Cowles, Charlie and Gordon Lamberton, Paddy Thompson, Percy Wilcox, Vince Platt, H. Iyfaunus, R. Duncan and Fred Wilson along with many others. Ed and Norman Gregson, Ross Root and Jimmy Gordon hauled gravel, cement and lumber for the project. Local merchants were generous in their support. Comox Logging and Railway Company, through James Sheasgreen, donated the lumber. Ned and Ian MacDonald approached MacMillan Bloedel’s Chemainus Sawmill Division and permission was granted to plane the lumber at Chemainus after working hours. That company assisted greatly. Planer operators stayed late and worked free of charge. Also, other Legion members went to the Mill and helped. This all entailed a lot of hard work for the people involved. MacMillan Bloedel’s assistance was greatly appreciated. Vince Platt related an amusing incident in the final phase of pouring cement for the foundation. Jack McDonald tossed a 50-cent piece for good luck, others tossed in coins; one put in a dollar bill. However, J.B. Cloke wrote a cheque for one million dollars, signed it, then methodically placed in the cement. Then it was cheers and beers all around.

When the Hall was completed, Jack McDonald said that 12,000 man-hours worth about $25,000-30,000 dollars had been freely given. It took three and a half years for a dream to come true. On March 27th 1954, 300 members and friends attended the official opening. Mayor Len Ryan extended civic congratulations on behalf of the town. James Sheasgreen and Joe Cliff of Comox Logging and Railway Company told the gathering that their company was pleased to have done what it could to help in the project. Rev. Father C.T. Albury, Branch Chaplain, dedicated the building to the memory of fallen comrades. The Ladie’s Auxiliary was commended for its support of the new Branch in all projects. This Legion Branch continued to flourish and as of 1982 the Membership was nearly 600. Vince Platt took great pride, as Building Chairman, in keeping the Legion Hall in the best of condition.