Submitted by Devonna Edwards
The Fairview Legion is located on the corner of Hillcrest Street and Main Avenue. The idea to start a legion in Fairview all began in October of 1951 when Angus MacMaster, then postmaster of the Fairview Post Office, called a meeting in the Fairview Fire Hall on Main Avenue.
Eight enthusiastic veterans showed up and made the decision to form a legion branch. They elected officers, adapted the constitution and by-laws of the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League, then set out to promote membership throughout the district. Alex Malloy was voted in as president; David MacKinnon as first vice-president; and John MacIsaac, as treasurer. Other attendance at the meeting were Murray Burgess, Howard McCully and Jack Faulkner.
Money had been raised by various means to buy a parcel of land on Main Avenue near Titus Street, but it was decided that this land would involve a lot of fill and was too expensive to develop, so it was sold. With the help from George Piercey, the group was able to get lot approval for land fronting on Hillcrest Street. They purchased two lots at $900. per lot and with the help of volunteers, the land was cleared. A loan for $8000 was approved, with ten co-signers from the legion branch.
Ron Mahar remembered that a contractor put up a shell without plumbing, electrical work, or heating. Volunteers once again pitched in and helped install the plumbing and electrical work while using used electrical fixtures, etc. John O’Brien recalled that those first years, with only the concrete shell and a roof were difficult. Angus MacMaster known as “Mac” spent most of his time in that building, repairing and wiring etc. Others worked just as hard, such as Howard McCully and Fred Hull who worked on the sewer, George Crawford was another man who worked to make the building operable.
They had a bar on one side of this shell which some called “The Cubby Hole”, as the work continued on the main hall. Cunard’s eventually installed a furnace and the legion was open for business. Gerald Duffy recalled that the first mortgage was burned at a mortgage burning ceremony on February 4, 1961.
In the fall of 1961, they elected Jack Jones as the new building committee chairman, prior to that he was treasurer of the branch. In 1962 he was elected president and building finance chairman, a post he held until 1964. An Annual water rafting event was held for many years at Shubenacadie in memory of Jack Jones. The group decided to build a second storey on the existing building and to finish the exterior, with a view toward future maintenance. Hence, the lower storey is finished in brick and the second storey in aluminum, with steel windows and copper flashing, a job of some permanence. The bar was finished at that time, with the balance of the building to be completed as funds became available.
The Ladies Auxiliary of the Fairview Legion
The Ladies Auxiliary was organized on September 16, 1952 and it members have served the branch very well over the years. The auxiliary was initiated by Angus MacMaster, who canvassed door to door in the Fairview area to find women who were interested in a legion auxiliary. “The Ways and Means Committee” of the legion began to raise money through a travelling apron, which was described as patches enclosing donations sewn on to the apron as it passed through the community. Dances were also held with local merchants donating prizes.
In 1952, after only a short time in operation, the Ladies Auxiliary assisted the Camp Hill Veterans Hospital, Cole Harbour Hospital and needy children at the Polio Clinic. They also purchased clothing for a Fairview area family. Betty Fry who worked relentlessly for the auxiliary and was president from 1965-67, compiled a history of the auxiliary and published it in the branch’s monthly newsletter in 1978. The Fairview Legion has sponsored many sports in the area over the years, including darts, curling and baseball.
In 1970 John O’Brien started a Youth Centre where young people met every Sunday afternoon to play board games, cards, ping-pong, etc. They also put on a variety show for the community and had their own baseball team, coached by Don Edwards. The legion also had an Air Cadets program for the young adults run by Andy Jeffery.