The Royal Canadian Legion is a non-profit Canadian veterans' organization founded in 1925. Membership includes people who have served in the military, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police, Royal Canadian Air, Army and Sea Cadets, direct relatives of members, and affiliated members. Membership is now also open to the general public.
In Canada, several veterans' organizations emerged during the First World War. The Great War Veterans Association was, by 1919, the largest veterans' organization in Canada. After the First World War, 15 organizations existed to aid returning veterans in Canada. Field Marshal The 1st Earl Haig, founder of the British Empire Service League (now known as the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League), visited Canada in 1925 and urged the organizations to merge. The Dominion Veterans Alliance was created in the same year to unite these organizations.
In November 1925, the Canadian Legion was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League. The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League was incorporated by a particular Act of Parliament the following year. The Legion grew steadily through the 1930s and expanded rapidly following the Second World War. In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II granted The Legion royal patronage, becoming The Royal Canadian Legion.
The Poppy image is a powerful symbol and is easily recognizable in Canada as being associated with loss, sacrifice and remembrance. With the formation of the Legion in 1925, the Poppy was adopted as a national symbol of remembrance and the focal point of the Poppy Campaign. In 1948 the Government of Canada chose to award the trademark copyright of the Poppy to the Royal Canadian Legion, a move made to protect the image from misuse. This trademark copyright remains in effect today, restricting its usage to remembrance within Canada and under the authority of the Royal Canadian Legion.
The Legion is responsible for Canada's remembrance poppies campaign, which distributes plastic lapel poppies to be worn in the lead-up to Remembrance Day. The poppy is worn on the left lapel or as close to the heart as possible. The current lapel poppy has been manufactured since 1922, originally under the Department of Soldiers Civil Re-establishment sponsorship. Until 1996, the poppy material was manufactured at sheltered workshops operated by Veterans Affairs Canada. Poppies are distributed through retail outlets, workplaces, Legion branches, malls and other locations across Canada. Typically, the poppies are offered up for donation as a symbol of remembrance, using an honour system. The poppies are left in open places with a receptacle for leaving a donation toward the campaign. Funds raised are used to support ex-service members in need and to fund medical appliances and research, home services, care facilities and numerous other purposes benefiting veterans.
- 01 RCL BC/YUKON COMMAND
- 02 RCL ALBERTA/NWT COMMAND
- 03 RCL SASKATCHEWAN COMMAND
- 04 RCL MANITOBA/NWO COMMAND
- 05 RCL ONTARIO COMMAND
- 06 RCL QUEBEC COMMAND
- 07 RCL NEW BRUNSWICK COMMAND
- 08 RCL NOVA SCOTIA/NUNAVUT COMMAND
- 09 RCL PEI COMMAND
- 10 RCL NFLD/LABRADOR COMMAND
- Legion Riders