Branch 275 received its charter in 1935: Elora Branch 229, which predates the Fergus Legion by some three years, attracted a large number of Fergus members in the 1930s. This undoubtedly slowed the progress of the Fergus Branch in its early years.
In June 1945 Branch 275 completed the purchase of the old Wansborough house on Garafraxa Street, an impressive Italianate residence. It belonged to Campbell Richardson, but had been vacant for some time. The cost price of $3,200. Was reduced to $2,000 through the sale of vacant land at the rear of the property. The house retained its central hall and staircase. On the left side was the meeting room, with a small elevated platform. On the left were a large sitting room and a kitchen. Some members hoped that his might eventually become a beverage room. Upstairs was a large room for the Auxiliary, with room for various quilting and sewing projects. The opening of the permanent clubroom marked the end of Branch 275’s first decade, and its start in the postwar period with a much enlarged membership, and one with a younger attitude, as World War II veterans joined their fathers and uncles on the membership roll.
No doubt the temperance movement, combined with an employer Beatty Bros, who very much didn’t want alcohol within the town that might affect the work force and productivity.
After World War I the GWVA struggled to make things better for its veterans, not having a club house they did secure a space on the third floor of today’s Rafferty Insurance with an entrance off St. David St. N. This would be a good location for some time.
Eventually you guessed it, getting to the third floor would be too much for some World War I veterans. They had to find something on the ground floor. Meetings were moved to the home of J.B. Morrison, from there they met in the band room at the old town hall, next they had offices, above what today is Broderick’s clothier on St. Andrews St. W. from there they moved to the Orange Hall on St. David St. N.
As the Second World War was coming to an end, with the help of public subscription the Legion did acquire the Wansborough house on Garafraxa St. W. and Perry St. This was to be a memorial home and available to Veterans in their travel. These were very happy times finally, after many years, Branch 275 had a home. Despite great planning, it became apparent that maybe this wasn’t the best location, WWI veterans felt it was too far off the main street, where many things would take place, and the cenotaph and cemetery were on the other side of town.
Finally in 1947 WWI veterans followed a plan and bought the Blakley home on St. Andrew St. W. next to the old Canadian Tire, this would be a location that would house Branch 275 for the next 24 years.
In the late 60’s the executive realized they needed something better, many projects were tackled to raise funds for a future new home. Finally a location that should be nice was started in front of today’s fire hall on Queen St. W. right on the river. A hole was dug, foundations were poured and things were under way. Strangely as fast as the project had started, it came to a halt. Word on the street was that the Legion had gone broke.
For those in the know, the former basket factory had burnt down, while rebuilding was under way, it became a known fact that this location could be purchased for the right price. This would be the location which has been home for Branch 275, since 1971. Joe Gerrie was the man who was a driving force & given credit, for making this the Legion’s new home, a place, being a clubhouse and hall to serve its own needs and the community. In 1979 renovations to the hall were done which saw the hall double in size. It has been 30 years plus, since this building became Branch 275, today with close to 600 members, Fergus Legion has come a long way, the veterans of two world wars are fewer in number, but as we continue our commitment to veterans and community, We will remember them.