Ponoka’s Legion president Barb Olsen accepts a plaque recognizing the branch’s 90th anniversary from Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins. Photos by Jordie Dwyer

90 years of service for the Ponoka Legion

Organization initially to help veterans continues to do that as well as serve the community

Reaching the age of 90 is quite the feat for an individual, but it’s even more of an accomplishment for an organization that has seen its share of branches literally die off.

On May 4, Ponoka Branch 66 of the Royal Canadian Legion marked its 90th anniversary with a celebration dinner and reception. It was also no coincidence the event came on the very date it was given its charter way back in 1928.

Legion president Barb Olsen read off the list of the 55 past presidents and thanked everyone for helping keep the branch from joining many other rural Legions that are no longer operational.

“While we have gone through a few different buildings, we are still standing and remain fairly strong. It’s amazing what support we get and it will be great to see that continue,” she said.

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins was on hand to present the branch with a plaque on behalf of the Parliament and noted the great work being done by the Ponoka membership.

“Branch 66 sets a stellar example with its members honouring the memories of those that laid down their lives in service of their country and by helping those that survived get the services they needed. Congratulations on 90 years,” said Calkins.

Congratulations was also received from the Legion’s Dominion president via a letter as well as the district and local ladies auxiliary.

While the night was about the anniversary, there was a lot of history present ranging from photo albums, plaques and awards to Hugh Greene — branch president from 1962 to 63 — taking to the podium to provide a brief account of the Ponoka Legion’s historical memories and accomplishments.

“Following the First World War, veterans organizations and a large number of regimental associations were all trying to do the same thing. However, they all came around to the idea they needed to be unified and the Royal Canadian Legion started after a successful convention in 1926,” Greene explained.

“The Ponoka branch received its charter in 1928 and started out with 15 members, who first met in the first town hall.”

The life of Branch 66 continued through various meeting places and buildings until the first Legion was ready for use in 1948, Greene noted.

Other branch highlights included the construction of the cenotaph in 1961 and entrance gates built three years later; sponsorship for the local air cadets and a community bus as well as funding to build the running track at the high school in 1965; a fire in 1973 that came close to wiping out the Legion facility; the building of the Legion Arms home in 1980 and the current Legion opening ten years later at a construction cost of around $1 million. In more recent times, the Legion got the Town of Ponoka in 2007 to name a street Veterans Memorial Way and assisted in bringing the Flags of Remembrance dedication to the community.

While these events are significant, the Legion has widely supported the community for many years on many levels and in many projects.


Ponoka Legion Ladies Auxiliary president Marlene Ferguson gets some help cutting the anniversary cake from one of the Legion’s former presidents Hugh Greene. He lead the branch in 1962 to 63.

Just Posted

Environment Minister clarifies misconceptions in Bighorn proposal

Minister Shannon Phillips speaks to concerns around the Bighorn Country

Three Ponoka men and one youth charged in assault case

Police obtained a search warrant and located drugs and sawed-off shot gun

Snowfall adds some delay to morning commute

The QE2 and area road conditions in central Alberta were partly snow covered

New market opens in downtown Ponoka

Makkinga Market had a soft opening showcasing many of the different foods in store

Ponoka council challenged on payments on new building

Resident continues worries the town is paying over $94,000 per month on something it may never own

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

Most Read