History

        In 1919, following World War I,  several war veterans' associations were formed, both locally and nationally.  Locally, The United Veterans' Council was the umbrella organization for The Discharged Soldiers' and Sailors' Federation, The Honourable Discharged Soldiers Association, The Army and Navy Veterans' Society, The War Amputations Association, The Navy League, The Veterans of France, The Grand Army United Veterans' Association, The Imperial Veterans, The War Pensioners and the Great War Veterans' Association.  There were also battalion associations for the 86th Machine Gun, 16th, 92nd, 129th,173rd and The Old Contemptibles.  The Grand Army Veteran' Association and The Great War Veterans' Association had each split into Central and East Hamilton branches.  With such splintering and overlapping, amalgamations were badly needed.

       In November of 1925 The Great War Veterans' Association in Winnipeg and amalgamated with several other veterans' associations to create The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League.  The B.E.S.L. existed in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.  The Canadian Legion was officially founded in 1926.

       Branch 58 East Hamilton received its Charter in 1927.  Meetings were held in two different store fronts.  In 1930, the City of Hamilton gave a $1000 grant in the form of a building lot at the corner of Barton and Agnes streets and the original club rooms were built.   Permission was granted by Lady Haig in England to name the building "Earl Haig Memorial Hall" after the late Field Marshall, Sir Douglas Haig, who commanded the British Empire forces in France and Flanders in the Great War. 

        At a Provincial Convention in Hamilton in 1961, a new Legion Crest was adopted and in 1963, Royal Assent was granted to change the name to "Royal Canadian Legion."

        After World War II, membership grew rapidly with new veterans.  An addition was built in 1955.  In November of 1961 there was a fire in the kitchen.  The repairs resulted in improvements to the Club.  A second addition, the Centennial Lounge, was built in 1967 as a Centennial project.  This was a Ladies' Lounge so members could bring their wives and lady friends into the Club. 

       On February 4, 1973, fire broke out and gutted the entire building.  The exterior walls had to be knocked down and a completely new building constructed from the ground up.  The Grand Opening was May 26, 1974.  The size of the building was restricted to the same area as before the fire, due to L.L.B.O. parking requirements.  Two nearby houses were purchased and torn down to provide the extra parking spaces and the large hall and offices were completed in 1987.

© 2018 by Royal Canadian Legion Branch 58, office of the Public Relations Officer.