Salt Spring Branch 92 received its Charter in 1931, and the Ladies Auxiliary in 1947. Free meeting rooms were made available in the local Harbour House Hotel, until the Branch raised enough money to purchase the Ganges United Church Manse in 1955 and this became the centre of Legion and Auxiliary activities until the more recent move to the current branch premises in 1988. The flag pole and flag from this branch was re-located to the new Branch on Blain Road and still stands proudly in front of the building, which was built on land deeded to the branch by Cde E. G. (Ted) Meaden, who also deeded thousands of dollars towards the building itself.
Branch 92 has always enjoyed great support for our Poppy Campaign and Remembrance Day ceremonies, in which the community at large participates. The public gathers at Centennial Park and the school choir sings whilst wreaths are laid at the cenotaph, followed by a march past. The public are then invited to join Legion members for a lunch that has been prepared by the L.A. Our Poppy Fund supports the Island's eldercare and hospital facilities, Meals-on-Wheels program and provides student bursaries. In most recent years, our Poppy Fund has raised approximately $10,000 per year.
Branch 92 has many special activities centering around the community of Salt Spring Island. For instance, it donates to many organizations, especially concentrating on youth groups, including High School ball teams, swimming teams, the Girl Guides and Boy Scouts (who had their Charter at the Branch since 1937), as well as many other groups. Bursaries are donated annually by the Branch and the L.A. From our weekly meat draws, as much as $40,000 has been donated annually. July 1st - Canada Day - is a special family community day at our Branch, and games and activities are offered for all ages from toddlers to veterans. The local community band and the Legion Pipe Band play at the event. In 2002 we hosted the Highland Games, at which 3000 members of the public attended, and made a net profit of $10,000 for our Branch. Croftonbrook is a seniors' housing project that the Legion supports along with the Salt Spring Lions and the Rotary Club
The L.A. cooks and serves Friday night suppers for ten months of the year, preparing up to 100 meals an evening. They also cater to weddings, memorials and private parties. In July and August, when the Ladies take a well deserved break, the Branch cooks barbecues each Friday evening after the meat draw, each evening featuring a different team of volunteers. Other special celebrations at the branch include the Legion 60th Anniversary Dinner and Dance, the 60th D-Day celebrations, New Year's Eve Dances and the Robbie Burns Night. The S.S.I. R.C.A.F. Vets Association celebrated its 81st anniversary April 1st with 100 in attendance from Canada and 1 from Montana, for the dinner.
Of special note is our team of “volunteer janitors”. Facing a financial crisis in 2002, Cde E. Donnelly formed a crew of volunteer janitors. There are now 18 members, ranging in age from 70 to mid 80's; individually they spend no more than one hour once a week, but collectively are keeping the Legion cleaner than ever before, as well as saving thousands of dollars previously paid to a janitorial service. Seven part-time bar tenders are employed; all other positions are volunteer.
The S.S.Branch has maintained an average of 650 members annually, and the L.A. 40 members. In summary, although this Legion history is a skeleton of the record of all its contributions to the Island since 1931, it is an integral part of the social fabric of the community.
8 November 2006 (audio)