Accession consists of two flags that belonged to Royal Canadian Legion General Wingate Branch 256. The first is a flag of Israel. The second is a blue ensign bearing the name of the branch. (The blue ensign is a blue flag with the Union Jack in the top corner next to the flagpole; it is similar to the red ensign, which was the flag of Canada until 1965, when it was replaced by the maple leaf.)
The Jewish Brigade was a member of the Great War Association in the 1920s. After its first president was installed in the early 1930s, the Royal Canadian Legion granted a charter for a Jewish veterans' branch. The brigade was renamed the General Wingate Branch in the mid-1940s after the British army officer Major General Orde Charles Wingate, DSO. Although Major Wingate was not Jewish, he was a passionate Zionist, hence the name.
At first, the branch met at a veteran’s hall at Crawford and College Streets in Toronto, but later purchased its own house at 1610 Bathurst Street. In 1968, the branch moved to Eglinton Avenue West. It was then located at the Zionist Centre on Marlee Avenue.
The branch held an annual memorial march and service at the Mt. Sinai Cemetery, and distributed poppies to raise funds for veterans and their families, hospitals and medical research. Members also gave speeches at schools on Remembrance Day. It closed in September 2018 after more than eighty years.
Availability of other formats: Photographs of the flags are available as JPEG files.