The history of Branch 270 Coldwater goes back to 1935, a time when veterans of the Great War were still struggling with the aftermaths of their horrific experience overseas, and looking to reconnect with those who shared it with them. You will find below a few historical facts that marked the history of our Branch and our Ladies Auxiliary.
The Coldwater Legion was born out of the efforts of Rev. Arthur Harden of Coldwater, who served as Chaplain in the First World War, and Rev. W.J. Province, a veteran of both World Wars. Coldwater Branch No 270 of the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League received its Charter on January 2, 1935. The names of the founding members on the 1935 Charter are as follows: T. Langton; R.P. Bellamy; F.W. Brown; C.E. Stevens; Rev. H. Harden; W.V. Manning; B. Speerin; C.R. Horton; W.W. Williams; N.J. Evoy; H. Worrell; G. Dunlop; C.W. MacDougal; Rev. W.J. Province; G.V. Caswell; A. Watt; J. MacIndoo; J. Yule; R.J. Barker; and O.W. Lovelace. The first Legion building was donated by the Sheppard family, at one time the office of the Georgian Bay Lumber Company at the current site of the Medical Building on River Street. On July 9, 1952, the Legion Branch and its Ladies Auxiliary opened their new building, Coronation Hall, a red brick house known as the Harvie home, located on Gray Street West across from Graymore. It was bought from Mrs. Gertrude Manning. The third move was to the Denison House on Coldwater Road in 1962, where they remained until the construction of the new building at the current location on what was then Community Centre Drive (today Michael Anne Drive) in 1972. The corner stone was laid on November 11, 1971. The first function at the new building was the funeral of First World War Veteran and charter member Orley Lovelace. An addition to the building was completed in 1987. Over the years, the Coldwater Branch has been active in the community affairs of the village – both in assistance to veterans and their families and by sponsorship of a variety of functions, sporting teams and events, a scholarship program, and work on behalf of a variety of charity organisations. Each year the Legion holds a Remembrance Day Service and parade, as well as the annual Decoration Day Service at the Coldwater Cemetery. Today the Branch has a membership of 281 Ordinary, Associate, Affiliate, and Life members.
Early on in the development of the Royal Canadian Legion, wives, mothers and sisters of Service men were eligible to be members of a Ladies Auxiliary of the Legion. On February 10, 1948, 25 Coldwater women met to organize the Ladies Auxiliary of Branch 270. The charter, dated May 6, 1948, lists the following names as founding members: Grace Brodeur; Marjorie Brown; Ruth Danby; Zoa Dunlop; Vera Godfrey; Velma Godfrey; Mary Jacob; Eva Lovelace; Kathleen Lye; Viola Lye; Rose Manning; Helen Polkinghorne; Doris Robertson; Audrey Sallows; Eileen Sallows; Jessie Sallows; Catherine Stevens; Annie Wall; Rosella Weatherill; Mrs. Grace Worell; Mrs. Cora Lane; Mrs. Jean Haines; Margaret Devitt; and Georgena Douglas. Members of the Ladies Auxiliary are known for their delicious food served at banquets and fundraisers throughout the year, including community based meals and delivery to the Seniors Residence. They are instrumental in various fundraising efforts to assist our youth and community. Today's membership in Branch 270 Ladies Auxiliary is 41, with many ladies holding membership in both the Ladies Auxiliary and the Branch.