submitted by Roy Brown
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 212 Kemptville was granted a Charter, dated April 17, 1932, under the authority of what was then known as the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League. During the early years, Legion meetings and social events were held in the old Kemptville Armoury Building (present day Pte. B. Williamson Memorial Hall) and at other public venues in the Town of Kemptville.
As the local membership base increased, the Legion members took that opportunity to design, fund and erect their own meeting hall. The Town of Kemptville Municipal Council kindly provided a parcel of land for the proposed structure at the entrance to Riverside Park and a group of Legion members began sourcing materials and building supplies to commence erecting the building.
It is interesting to note that the majority of the lumber and other building materials came from a military “H” hut at a former Canadian Army Camp in Brockville, Ontario. The building was dismantled piece by piece and transported to the Kemptville Legion site. Volunteer labour, in-kind donations and fundraising were essential in covering the costs to erect the Legion Building. The Grand Opening took place on Saturday, July 6, 1957 and was held in conjunction with the Kemptville Centennial Celebrations that year and the July 6, 1944 Anniversary of D-Day.
A major renovation to the building was undertaken in the years that followed, but the dates are not known. The new addition was designed to increase the overall size of the building, in order to incorporate what was described as being an Auditorium along with kitchen facilities.
The original Auditorium, later known as the Upper Hall, has become an important community hub that is used by numerous organizations, groups and individuals for meetings and social events.
At the General Membership Meeting of Wednesday, March 15, 2023, the Upper Hall was commemoratively named as the “VETERANS MEMORIAL HALL” with the intent that all who enter therein, will remember and reflect upon the sacrifices of Canadian and Commonwealth Veterans who served; continue to serve; and to those who ultimately forfeited their lives to protect our Rights and Freedoms.