|Thursday, 25 February 2010 13:26|
BRUSSELS LEGION BRANCH FOUNDED IN 1931
The Brussels Legion received its charter in 1931, and had a tough start, with not many members in the beginning.
While this Legion brought members who were travelling to Mount Forest each month, there ended up being just 13 members in the time leading up to World War II. However, as younger members returned from war, the Legion’s numbers grew, and it became strong again.
In 1931, the first president of Branch 218 was Fred Burchell.
During these early years of the Legion, meetings would be held at people’s homes, private buildings, in the American Hotel or in the old Town Hall. However, in 1946, the Legion purchased a building on Main St., but soon after, in 1961, a building fund was established, the consensus was that a bigger hall was needed and soon enough they passed a motion to build a new hall.
The land on which town hall formerly stood was vacant, so the lot was donated to the Legion for $1, on the condition that an auditorium be included in the design for rental for local functions. By February of 1965, the new building was occupied.
In 1981, the Legion celebrated its 50th anniversary. At the time, they boasted 208 members. The most memorable event of the 1980s was a bad one, when the hall was vandalized, robbed and torched.
While the thieves took $2,500 worth of beers, cigarettes and snacks, they left $250,000 worth of damage for the Legion to pick up. However, the Legion pulled it together and a new hall was built within six months.
In 2001 a new roof was put on the hall. It was made possible by generous donations and many volunteer work hours.
In 2004, the Legion Ladies Auxiliary folded. The organization was formed in 1946, but it had to close its doors in 2004. The president at the time was Helen Dobson.
In 2006, the Legion celebrated its 75th anniversary. There was a banquet and two comrades, Ross and Margaret Bennett were presented Meritorious Service Medals, which is the second-highest honour a branch member can receive.