The Royal Canadian Legion has its origins in the aftermath of the First World War. Even before the armistice, Veterans were organizing, formally and informally, to maintain the comradeship they had known in the trenches of Europe.
More importantly, they were motivated to assist and support disabled Veterans, and the families of those killed. In 1917, 147 Veterans’ Associations merged to form the Great War Veterans Association, a major force in the formation of The Legion. By mid-1920, specialized groups like the Tubercular Veterans Association, Amputees Association and the Royal North West Mounted Police Veterans Association had reformed and there were almost twenty organizations reflecting the desire of “Returned Men” to continue to serve. The momentum to create a single national organization for Veterans was growing.
The Royal Canadian Legion began as the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League, created at the founding convention in Regina in early 1926, following a unity conference in Winnipeg the previous year. About a dozen Veteran’s organizations voted to join this new national organization. It became the Canadian Legion in 1958. In 1960, Her Majesty the Queen granted permission to rename the organization to The Royal Canadian Legion.
Today, The Royal Canadian Legion is Canada’s largest membership organization with over 360,000 members in more than 1,600 branches across Canada, the United States of America and Europe.
Whatever the future holds, the Legion will not be deflected from its original mission to serve Veterans and their families, to promote Remembrance, and serve Canada and its communities.