tofino legion

The Tofino Legion

by Adam Buskard, Tofino

the letter 'T'The Legion has been a part of Tofino nearly as long as Tofino has been Tofino. It began in 1919 when a meeting was called to form a branch of the Great War Veterans' Association. Present at this meeting were men who's names still live on today here in our village: MacLeod, Sloman and the colourful character of Fred Tibbs. Two years later, in 1921 a clubhouse was purchased for the sum of $700, which the members borrowed from a private lender. Ten years later they burned that mortgage. In 1927 it became what is still today the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 65 Clayoquot.

The growth of the clubhouse was a slow and sometimes painful process. The building was added onto gradually, in bump outs and additions that went in all directions. In 1925 an addition was put on the hall that was 26ft. by 16ft. The contract price for the addition was $85. Old sections were torn down and new sections were added until 1982 when it was deemed finished. Unfortunately in 1991 the building was burnt nearly to the ground just as they were ready to burn the mortgage once again. As the phoenix from the ashes the Legion was rebuilt to its present form.

Whatever shape or size the hall was at the time, it was always very much the social center of the community. In the 1920's there was a motion picture projector purchased and movies were shown frequently. At the same time dances and vaudeville shows were a hit offering this isolated community some leisure and entertainment. In the 50's teen dances were sponsored by Legion as well as sports days, games nights and bazaars. In 1948 the Ladies Auxiliary was formed and were instrumental in many catered dinners and "invitation socials".

The Legion has been a space for nearly every community event imaginable. It has housed our weddings, wakes and anniversaries. It was a clubhouse for the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and a gym for the Judo club. It has acted as a courthouse, polling station and community nursing center.

It was a home for the Bible Fellowship and has seen many a Christmas church bazaar. The Legion acted as a community hall for so many years it's still seen by many as such.

The membership of the Legion has been instrumental in the history of Tofino at many points. When Tofino nearly lost its post office due to insufficient funding in 1921 the Legion lobbied Ottawa and resolved the issue. The formation of the Tofino General Hospital was helped greatly at many points through fundraising efforts by the branch and the ladies auxiliary.

As Tofino grows and the Legion continues towards its centennial it's time to consider how it will remain relevant in our community. For all who are interested in getting involved and becoming a member there will be a membership drive at the legion June 9th. All community members are invited to join and be a part of its future.

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The Tofino Legion has been a part of Tofino since 1919. A short history of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 65 Clayoquot in Tofino.

tofino time june 2007