The Royal Canadian Legion is unique in that it is a Canada wide non-profit Veteran’s organization founded by Veterans for Veterans. Legion Branches are member oriented with a membership who believe in and promote the perpetuation of “Remembrance” and the welfare of our Veterans.
In 1926, the “Legion” in Canada was born out of a group of 15 Veterans organizations formed after WW1 to promote the welfare of its Veterans. The largest of this group was the “Great War Veterans Association” and the oldest was the “Army and Navy Veterans Association”.
Thirteen of these organizations, including the “Great War Veterans Association” joined together to form the “Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League”. In 1961, the “Act to Incorporate” was amended to change the name of the Canadian Legion to “The Royal Canadian Legion”. The word “Royal” was conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in recognition of the Legion’s 35 years of dedicated service.
Initially, the Legion was an organization composed entirely of Veterans. These members were ex-service men and women who came from all walks of life possessing the leadership skills and training learned as sailors, soldiers and airmen. As “Comrades-in-Arms” who shared a common background, they were part of a brotherhood who worked together over the years to improve pension benefits and living conditions for our Veterans and their families.
At present, there are 403 Legion Branches in Ontario, 988 Branches in the rest of Canada, 14 Branches in the USA, 5 Branches in Europe and 1 Branch in Mexico, for a grand total of 1411 Branches. In 2017 Legion Membership stands strong at nearly 300,000.
Today, there is no requirement to have a family link to a Veteran in order to become a member of the Royal Canadian Legion. Voting membership in the Legion is now open to any Canadian citizen of Federal voting age who supports the purposes and objects of the Royal Canadian Legion. Non-voting membership is also available to any non-Canadian citizen who is of Federal voting age.