Profiles of Historic Sites


Mission City B.C. Canadian Legion Hall, postcard
Carl Klenk fonds/0116-022-002
Courtesy Mission Community Archives

Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #57


Location:
32965 First Avenue

Neighbourhood:
Downtown BIA

Date of Original Construction:
1936

Resource Type:
Commercial

Current Owner/Occupant:
multiple businesses including:
Generation Iron Fitness (2013)
You Care We Care Daycare (2013)


Site Description:

The old legion is a large building that sits in the "V" formed where the Lougheed Highway meets the west end of First Avenue. The front entrance faces north-east.


Site History:

The first Royal Canadian Legion Branch #57 in Mission was organized January 10, 1927. The building was completed in 1936 and was originally two storeys.

"The building at the back was the old Solloway rooming house, and was connected to the Legion by a ramp. It was used as an annex. After the Rotary meeting in the Legion, members would go over to the house for a supper. All across the front room were long tables." (Plumridge, Feb. 1988)

In 1947, the members agreed on the sale and removal of the old Annex, and calls for tenders for a proposed addition. The building extension was completed in 1948 with the four storey western addition.

The Auditorium on the second floor included a stage, and was the location for numerous dances, theatre performances, and occasionally even wrestling matches. The big band sounds of Dal Richards and Mart Kenney orchestras always drew a crowd. Many local groups rented the auditorium for special occasions and fundraising events.

A fire in 1986 caused approximately $10,000 damage. Increasing costs of repair, maintenance and operating the large structure forced the Branch to sell the building in 1988; they had a new, smaller facility built on London Avenue. For a number of years, the building housed an antique mall, with some annex space rented to Fraser Valley College and private adult education operators. In 2003 the building again changed owners, and now operates as Inform Fitness Centre, with some downstairs space rented to community groups.


People Associated with the Site:

R.G. Vosburgh, president 1947

H.C. Cullerne, architect for addition 1947


Architectural Features:

The building has two storeys in the eastern portion and four storeys in the western annex. It was built using cement and the exterior is currently stucco. The windows originally on the front entrance face of the building have largely been covered. The building still has many windows on its southern facing side but many of the lower original windows have been closed in.


Landscape:

There is very little property around the building; some trees and shrubbery on its eastern and southern facing sides. At one time, the Mission cenotaph was situated between the Lougheed Highway and the Legion building; it was moved to the new Legion when the building was sold.


Where to get further information:

- Mission Community Archives Community Reference File 675.20.21
- Mission District Historical Society - Guide to Mission City BC Walking Tour Book (2005)
- Royal Canadian Legion Branch #57




Last Modified January 24, 2015