Military Wiki
Royal Canadian Legion
Active 1925–present
Country Canadian
Type non-profit (veterans organization)
Patron Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada
Motto(s) Memoriam Eorum Retinebimus : We Will Remember Them

The Royal Canadian Legion is a non-profit Canadian ex-service organization (veterans organization) founded in 1925.[1] Membership includes people who have served as current and former military, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police, Royal Canadian Air, Army and Sea Cadets, direct relatives of members and also affiliated members. Membership is now also open to the general public.


In Canada, several veterans organizations emerged during WWI. The Great War Veterans Association, founded in 1917, was the first national organization for veterans, and by 1919 it was the largest veterans organization in Canada. Following WWI, 15 different organizations existed to aid returning veterans in Canada. Field Marshal Earl Haig, founder of the British Empire Service League (now known as the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League), visited Canada in 1925 and urged the organizations to merge.[2] In the same year, the Dominion Veterans Alliance was created to unite these organizations.[1][2] In November 1925, the Canadian Legion was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League. The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League was incorporated by a special act of parliament the following year.[1] The Legion grew steadily through the 1930s and then expanded rapidly following WWII.[2] In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II granted the Legion royal patronage and it became the Royal Canadian Legion.[1]


On 10 November 1975 Canada Post issued 'The Royal Canadian Legion, 1925-1975' designed by Rudy Kovach. The 8¢ stamps are perforated 13 and were printed by British American Bank Note Company.[3]

National headquarters of the Royal Canadian Legion[]

The National Headquarters of the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa, Ontario features a Wall of Remembrance.

  • The Wall of Remembrance is adorned by a 11-ft long stainless steel sword (2006) by André Gauthier (sculptor).
  • The Royal Canadian Legion commissioned a small work of art on the theme of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Canada) (2001) by André Gauthier (sculptor).
  • “OF SUCH AS THESE” (2003) by André Gauthier (sculptor) is a small bas-relief of Canadian World War II fighting men and women presented by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute to the Royal Canadian Legion’s National Secretariat in Ottawa.

Legion Museums[]

A number of military museums are co-located and affiliated with Royal Canadian Legions.

Name Town/City/Region Province Type Summary
Herman J. Good V.C Branch No.18 Royal Canadian Legion War Museum Bathurst Gloucester New Brunswick Military information, information
Royal Canadian Legion Military Museum Grand Falls-Windsor Newfoundland and Labrador Military information, information, operated by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 12
Royal Canadian Legion Military Museum Dartmouth Halifax Regional Municipality Metro Halifax Nova Scotia Military information
Perth Legion Hall of Remembrance Perth Eastern Ontario Military information
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 72 Museum Pembroke Eastern Ontario Military website, information, open by request and for special events, local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion
Kensington Veterans Memorial Museum Kensington Prince Prince Edward Island Military website, adjacent to the Royal Canadian Legion, includes uniforms, medals, hand weapons, flags, photographs and maps
Royal Canadian Legion Museum Saskatoon West Central Saskatchewan Military website, uniforms, medals and memorabilia of the Royal Canadian Legion

Legion Halls[]

A Legion hall in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

Most small towns and villages in Canada have at least one Legion Hall. Often the Legion Hall is a major community centre, combining the functions of a pub, pool hall, dance hall, bingo hall, banquet hall, and so on.[4]

Legion Halls are numbered, for example "Branch 99 Royal Canadian Legion". This is not a nationwide numbering system as you might expect, however; each provincial Command has its own numerical sequence. "Branch 99", therefore, can refer to any of several Legion Halls, as follows: Belleville, Ontario; Cowansville, Quebec; Lipton/Dysart, Saskatchewan; Coronation, Alberta (a branch that has closed); or Emo, Ontario (in the Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Command).

Royal Canadian Legion Maple Leaf Post-84 is located in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Services & Activities[]

Poppy Campaign[]

The Legion is responsible for Canada's remembrance poppy campaign which distributes plastic lapel poppies to be worn in the lead up to Remembrance Day. The poppy is worn on the left lapel, or as close to the heart as possible.[5] The current lapel poppy has been manufactured since 1922—originally under the sponsorship of the Department of Soldiers Civil Re-establishment.[5] Until 1996, the poppy material was manufactured at sheltered workshops operated by Veterans Affairs Canada.[5] Poppies are distributed through retail outlets, workplaces, Legion branches, malls and other locations across Canada. Typically, the poppies are sold using an honour system, with the poppies being left in open places with a receptacle for leaving a donation toward the campaign. Funds raised are used to support ex-service members in need [5] and to fund medical appliances and research, home services, care facilities and numerous other purposes benefiting veterans.[6]

Memorial activities[]

Members of the Legion perform graveside memorial ceremonies for veterans at cemeteries throughout Canada. The Legion also performs ceremonies annually at the gravesites of Canadian and British servicemen interred in the United States, generally on a Sunday in May.

Legion Athletic Camp[]

In 1962 the Legion began a summer sports camp at the International Peace Garden which is run to this day, and has helped to train over 48,000 school age athletes. Several sports are offered over a five-week period. The program was founded by George Phillips and Fred Taylor (see


Membership in the Royal Canadian Legion was originally restricted to ex-service members of Canada's Armed Forces and Merchant Navy.[7] The organization is now open to members of the general public. There are four categories of membership.[8]

Ordinary Membership[]

Ordinary membership is open to anyone who has served or is serving in one of the following:

  • The Canadian Forces or Her Majesty's Forces (including regular force or reserve force under class "C" service).
  • Forces or underground forces of any of Her Majesty's allies in any war, conflict or police action in which Canada was involved.
  • The Merchant Navy or non-military services in an actual theatre of war in which Canada was involved.
  • Her Majesty's reserve forces including Cadet Instructors on the Cadet Cadre for not less than one year.
  • The Royal Canadian Air, Army or Sea cadets for no less than 3 years of the joined date.
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police or The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary for not less than one year.
  • The Forces of a country while that country was a member of NATO or NORAD in alliance with Canada.
  • The Forces of the United States.
  • The Vietnam War with the Armed Forces of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea or South Vietnam, and were a Canadian citizen or Commonwealth subject at the time of service.
  • The Canadian Coast Guard as an officer or crew member who has two or more years active service on the high seas or inland waterways.
  • A city, municipal or provincial police force as a police officer for not less than one year.

Associate Membership[]

Individuals who do not qualify for ordinary membership can be associate members if one of the following applies:

  • They are the child, stepchild, adopted child, grandchild, sibling, niece/nephew, widow/er, parent or spouse of someone who is or was eligible for Ordinary membership.
  • They are the child of an Associate member.
  • They have served as a cadet civilian instructor for not less than 3 years.
  • They have served as an officer in the Navy League of Canada for not less than 2 years.
  • They have served in the Polish Armed Forces after WW II below the rank of officer.
  • They have served in a City, Municipal, Volunteer, Un-organized Territories or Federal Fire Service for not less than one year.
  • They are the spouse, parent or sibling of an associate member who qualified subject to the above criteria.

Affiliate Voting Membership[]

Commonwealth subjects who do not qualify for ordinary or associate membership are eligible for affiliate membership.

Affiliate Non-Voting Membership[]

Non-Commonwealth subjects from an Allied nation who support the aims and objects of the Royal Canadian Legion can apply for Affiliate Non-Voting membership.

Royal Canadian Legion Hall of Honour at the Canadian War Museum, containing the original plaster model for the National War Memorial by sculptor Vernon March

See also[]

Royal Canadian Legion Cadet Medal of Excellence

External links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "history". Royal Canadian Legion. Royal Canadian Legion. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Royal Canadian Legion". Canadian Encyclopedia. Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  3. Canada Post stamp
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "The Poppy Campaign". Royal Canadian Legion. Royal Canadian Legion. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  6. "The Poppy". Veterans Affairs Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  7. "Membership Services". Royal Canadian Legion. Royal Canadian Legion. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  8. "Who Can Join?". Royal Canadian Legion. Royal Canadian Legion. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 

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