Legion President, Fred Gristey said, “this will be one of the most functional buildings providing a much needed facility for the local Legion as well as a community centre”.

Mr. Nigel Charlong, past president, and building chairman, explained to the “Review” that the new building which will be located on the west side of Hamilton St N, between Cedar and John Streets, will have a floor space of 20,000 sq. feet, with a sauna, band room, exercise room, plus some other facilities downstairs..The building should be completed by January 15th, 1976.

Happy to see Waterdown’s cenotaph finally in place are from left to right,

Waterdown Legion's Cenotaph

Stan DeGraaf (member of the fundraising committee) George Elsegood (Legion Executive), Morley Gray (volunteer worker), Hugh Peer (chairman of the fundraising committee), John Bullee (worker), not pictured is Glen Marriette (volunteer worker).

Official Opening of Legion Hall Saturday

Members of the Waterdown Branch 551 met in their new club rooms to finalize the program for the official opening of their new club rooms and a memorial parade.

Heads of the committees reported and little has been left undone in the way of making this a memorable occasion.

On Saturday afternoon the auditorium will present a gaily decorated convention room for the opening ceremonies at 2 o’clock when representatives of the legion branches will be present. Local officials as well as members of the provincial government and their ladies are expected to attend.

Following the opening ceremonies a buffet luncheon will be served by the newly formed Ladies Auxiliary.

In the evening changes will be made in the decorations for a gala dance a floor show which will be in cabaret style. An excellent orchestra has been engaged as well as three first class acts of international reputation.

The Legion are looking for a good attendance of members and their friends.

Waterdown Review, September 6, 1956 pg.1

Ladies Auxiliary of Legion Organized

The election of officers for the Ladies Auxiliary of the Waterdown Legion Branch 551 took place at a recent meeting.

The meeting was conducted by the provincial president Comrade Mrs. Richardson, assisted by the past provincial president Comrade Mrs. Pegg and zone commissioner Elsie Cross.

The following were elected to office:

President Comrade Jean Klodt; 1st vice president Com. Dorothy McKay; 2nd vice president Com. Ann Ginrich; secretary Com. Helen Attridge; treasurer Com. Marion Smuck; Sgt.at Arms Com. Grace Gage; executive committee Comrades Betty Corbet, Elizabeth Johnson, Pearl Clute; social convenor Elizabeth Johnson; application committee Dorothy McKay and Ann Ginrich.

It was decided to hold their meetings on the thirMonday of each month.

Waterdown Review, September 6, 1956 pg.3

Military History in Waterdown

The next time you are taking a stroll around Waterdown, take a moment to visit Sealey Park on Main Street South.  On the left side of the building, near the bank, you will find a barrel assembly for a 10.5 cm leFH model 1916 German Howitzer.  In his book, Canadian World War 1 Trophies, Professor Jonathan Vance notes that the gun is part of the collection of war trophies that the Canadian Government shipped back to Canada and then distributed to communities who had submitted a request.  Reeve Richard Smith of Waterdown applied to the government for a German gun (Waterdown Council Minutes:  29 August, 1920). 

  The gun applied for was intended to go in front of the new Memorial Hall, but that project was stalled and a new home had to be found.  The gun was shipped, (almost certainly with the carriage, wheels and shield) to Waterdown on 23 August, 1920 by the Canadian Pacific Railways.

A sincere thank you to The Waterdown-East Flamborough  Heritage Society & Archives for 
      providing the following information. 

       click on the link below for the

C.E.F. Honour Roll for the Flamborough Area

We Will Remember Them 

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ieper,

West-Vlaanderen, Belgium 


Vimy Oak Tree  planted at the Waterdown Legion 


 Horticulturist Arie Vanspronsen and Watertown Legion veteran officer Bob Thomas with their Vimy tree, planted at the branch. - Barry Gray,The Hamilton Spectator

A two-metre sapling that is a direct descendant of the English oaks at Vimy Ridge is the only tree in Hamilton to receive heritage designation.

While planted on the grounds of the Waterdown Legion only in June, the Vimy Memorial Oak Tree is significant because of its lineage.  The fenced-in sapling is one of approximately 100 oaks sent across the country to commemorate the more than 10,000 Canadian casualties in the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
"We're just so tickled pink to have it," said Bob Thomas, third vice-president and veterans' officer at the Legion. 

"Hopefully it will be a memorial for many years to come for all those who fought in our area in World War I."  The story of the trees stems from acorns collected by Canadian soldier Leslie Miller, who survived the First World War victory won by Canadian troops April 9 to 12, 1917.   After picking up the acorns scattered around an oak tree destroyed by shelling, Miller — who died in 1979 — sent them home.  They were planted on his rural Scarborough property, where they grew into a forest of oaks on land now owned by the Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church. For the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, efforts were made to grow offspring trees by grafting hundreds of branches from the tips of the trees to saplings of English oaks from British Columbia. The work was done at Connon Nurseries NVK in West Flamborough in 2015.

The local sapling found its way to the Waterdown Legion after a phone call Thomas received from Arie Vanspronsen of the Flamborough Horticultural Society, asking if he would be interested in a Vimy oak tree.  A quick internet search solidified his answer.  "Wow, I'm real interested," Thomas recalled thinking. "Let's do it."  Thomas reached out to the Vimy Oaks Legacy Corporation, where he had to apply for a tree, and received his approval within 24 hours.   Conveniently, the Legion was planning an event in June to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge.  They were able, with the help of the horticultural society, to get the sapling in time for the event at which the tree was planted just east of the Legion's sign 

The Waterdown Legion started out in Mr. Klodt’s barbershop. In 1953 it was located on the corner of Cedar and Hamilton Street in a Quonset hut.


An excerpt from the Review

A dream will soon become a reality for the 450 members of Branch 551, Royal Canadian Legion in Waterdown, when construction starts on their new $600,000 building this month.  

 Legion Hall officially Opened Saturday
The official opening of the Legion Hall was held last Saturday afternoon and the Waterdown Branch No. 551 received many congratulations for their tremendous effort.
Their new quarters include a large attractive auditorium with a stairway leading to a mezzanine above the lunch and television room the kitchen and washrooms and was gaily decorated for the occasion.
The president, Harold Place, in conducting the ceremony stated that the Waterdown branch had been organized just 2 ½ years ago and there were only 17 members. The membership now stands at 92 and a Ladies Auxiliary has recently been organized.
Among those who extended congratulations were Ray Connell, M.L.A., Mrs. Helen Johnson representing the Waterdown Council; Reeve Wm. C. Tyrell of East Flamboro; Alderman Wm. Thompson of Hamilton; Reg Cleator, regional vice president; Hugh Lamb, district commissioner; Mrs. Roy Klodt, president of the Ladies Auxiliary; Pat Burns, zone commander and padre for the Legion, Rev. W.S. Noble who also led in prayer.
Regional vice president Reg Cleator cut the ribbon to officially open the building. A gala ball held in the evening attracted about 400 people and was a decided success.
Waterdown Review, September 13, 1956 pg.1

Our Legion Today
   Summer Hours
Starting June 6 to Sept 5th

Closed Monday & Tuesday

Wednesday  4 - 11 
Thursday  1 - 11
Friday  3 - 11
                                  Saturday  1 - 11

Times subject to bar stewards discretion. 
Come out and join us!  You don't have to be a member to come in for the activities or enjoy the entertainment!

The Waterdown Council minutes of 12 November state “H. Nicol was paid $1 for moving and making stationary the gun.”  It was drawn to the Waterdown Public School yard on Main St. south in 

in the village behind a truck and placed by the school flag pole.  
In 1929, W.O. Sealey bought the three-acre school site and donated it to the village of Waterdown as Sealey Park.  He also later added land that was the Bowling Green.  The donation of the park was in honour of his father, Charles Sealey, who was the first Reeve of Waterdown, and who had also paid for and shipped a machine gun to the front in 1915.  The presentation took place on 9 July, 1931.  

Our thanks to Alex Comber, Military Archivist at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa and Lyn Lunsted, Archivist – Media Collections at Flamborough Archives for providing the history related to this part of our local military history.  

For more interesting information and guide to your  community visit the  

The Waterdown-East Flamborough
Heritage Society & Archives

 163 Dundas Street E., Waterdown, Ontario




It was at this event that Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge suggested putting the tree forward for heritage designation.  "I thought it was quite important for protection in the future," she said. "One hundred years from now that tree is going to be still standing, and I think it's important that no one be able to come along and just chop it down without adhering to the heritage designation requirements."  The Legion agreed, not knowing at the time the tree would be the only tree or landscape designated a heritage property in Hamilton.

A double trunk maple tree was designated by the former Township of Glanbrook before being cut down in 2002 because of safety concerns.  Partridge said another Vimy oak tree was planted in the fall at Waterdown Memorial Park. She intends to bring forward a motion this spring to have that tree designated as well.

A notice of intention to designate the Vimy Memorial Oak Tree was posted on the city's website Dec. 22, starting a 30-day appeal process.  Council approved designation of the tree on Nov. 8 — in time for Remembrance Day — but once that process is over, it can officially be documented on heritage lists and registers, said municipal heritage committee chair Alissa Denham-Robinson.

 Denham-Robinson said this is precedent-setting for heritage planning staff who, for the first time, went through the steps of designating a tree.  While it's not unusual across Ontario or the rest of Canada, it's the first time Hamilton has been presented with a request, she said.  "It allows us to look at other areas of the city," said Denham-Robinson. "There's other significant, more established trees that probably should have some protection."

Most interesting in the designation of the Vimy Memorial Oak Tree is that it's a sapling, she noted.  Often, thoughts of a heritage tree conjure visions of something "stately" that's been around for hundreds of years, she said.  But this tree is significant because of the historical context — its roots to the Battle of Vimy Ridge — plus its location on the grounds of the Waterdown Legion, said Denham-Robinson.

"It's created a landscape in Flamborough that's going to highlight the military history for Canada," she said. "It's something that's leaving a legacy … Future generations are going to be able to see that tree and understand that story."  On the grounds of the Legion, a green wrought iron fence donated by Versitech Industries Inc. encloses the tree to provide protection. One acorn fell from it last fall.

A small plaque has been put up, but the Legion intends to raise money for a large boulder with a plaque that tells the whole story, Thomas said.
"Boy, we're real proud of it," he said. "We're so pleased to have the tree."






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