History of the Ladies Auxiliary to Branch #263 District of Coquitlam

When Coquitlam got their own RCL in 1962, they asked Louise Coombes if she would try and get a Ladies Auxiliary started, which she did in her basement. Mary Fields was out District Zone Commander at that time. She was a big help and she was there to help us out every time we phoned her. Art McDonald, Mary Fields and Louise Coombes ran the election. Pat Williams was our first President and Edith Picard was Secretary. We had a meeting every month in Louise’s basement. We received our Charter March 20th, 1963.

The men finally got their hall in Maillardville Shopping Centre. Not very big, but a place to keep everything in one place and have some entertainment. They had a dance there once a month in which we ladies served sandwiches and coffee during intermission. The men would play “Limbo” where two men hold a broomstick and you try to dance under it. They also held bingo there every Monday night and we ladies would serve coffee at $.10 a cup. We bought a lb. of coffee for $1.00 and would make $10.00, which we thought was real good!!!!

Our children’s first Christmas party was pretty tough as we didn’t have any money to get entertainment in so Louise Coombes brought her dog in to do tricks which the children really enjoyed until Santa arrived. Another party had Louise’s daughter with her baton dancers. One Christmas party we’ll never forget was when it was held at Our Lady of Lourdes Hall. We had borrowed a piano which never got there as the truck went up the hill and the piano went down the hill!!!! But we still had our sing-song until Santa arrived. One other incident with our hills in Coquitlam was we lost our marble cenotaph. We soon learned to tie things down.

Our first Zone Meeting was forgotten until our President received a phone call that there was a bunch of Ladies waiting at the Legion door to get in for our Zone meeting. We wasted no time getting there and in setting up the tables and chairs. Sandwiches and coffee were made in a hurry during the meeting. It all ended well. One of our members, Lil Churcher became Secretary-Treasurer for the Zone for several years which helped us remember the meetings.

We always had 2 delegates to send to the Conventions. It wasn’t until the 70’s that we could afford to send the Colour Party to the Conventions also. In those days, we had a rummage sale in October so people could buy up stuff for their Halloween costumes. We had a bake sale and bazaar in December in which we did mostly Christmas baking, embroidered table cloths with lace around them, pillow cases and dish towels. The ladies also made aprons, pot holders and home-made candy, etc. The Safeway on Austin Avenue let us have a few bake sales in their store.

When we moved to Ridgeway Hall #1 in 1971, we got together a Colour Party. They have gone to every parade that the men have gone to. We now have a good Colour Party that doesn’t knock off RCMP hats and send them rolling down the aisles. Louise Coombes, our organizer, was awarded “Citizen of the Year” by the Chamber of Commerce in 1981. She was largely instrumental in raising money for our Cenotaph with our Ladies Auxiliary and in supporting a veterans’ ward at Riverview Hospital by arranging parties and giving gifts. She is now at Cartier House and doing well. (Note: Sadly, Louise Coombes has passed away since this was written).

We weren’t in the Ridgeway Hall long when we began to have problems with the roof leaking. It got so bad that we had every pot and pan catching drips then we had plastic troughs made to catch the water and it would run into large buckets. It was hilarious trying to dance around the buckets!!!! We ended up moving to the high school on Austin Avenue for two years while the old building was torn down and a new one built in 1986.

We are doing well in our new Legion. Our best profit now is catering. The only thing is that most of us are widowed and living on Old Age Pension. We are willing to help but our bodies can’t take the work.

This has been the history of our L.A. Many of our old members are not around anymore but we are still fairly active with catering, raffles and the craft and bake sales.

– Written by Hilda Talson – About 1990