After the Second World War, Veterans needed a place for fellowship, camaraderie and recreation. A million Canadian men and women had enlisted in the Armed Forces during the war, over 90% voluntarily. The Legions and A.N.A.F. clubs on a tri-service basis provided such a haven but the individual services also started their own. The RCAFA 200 (Summerside) Wing was one such service club.

200 Summerside Wing started in October, 1950 when thirty-eight ex W.W. II R.C.A.F. Veterans met at the Maple Leaf Gardens Dance Hall (later the site of the Regent Theatre, now the Summer Street Barz Building). Of the original thirty-eight members only Derek Hughes, John Mungell and Lawrence Yeo are still living. One of the first “missions” of the now airborne Wing was to assume sponsorship of the Summerside Air Cadets, a youth group started in 1941 by four non-military people including the then editor of The Journal Pioneer.

Per Ardua Ad Astra “through adversity (arduous times) to the stars”.

From humble beginnings the Wing grew. However increased membership often meant crowded quarters, increased rents and expired leases. The Summerside Wing seemed to be living up to the RCAF motto “through adversity to the stars.”

1950’s

The Wing met in an upstairs room in the Smallman Building on Water Street. Later in the decade it moved into the rear quarters of the Journal Pioneer Building.

1960’s

The Wing leased the upstairs of the Olympia Building on Water Street (across from the train station, now the Rotary Club City Library). During this decade the Wing began accepting Associate Members. Around 1967, Canada’s Centennial Year, Wing membership soared from sixty-three to one hundred and ninety-two. The Summerside Wing in 1967 nationally became “Wing of the Year” and in 1969 its then president, Errol Laughlin, became “Wing Member of the Year”.

1970’s

The Wing leased the upstairs at the Summer Street Barz Building (the former Regent Theatre site). Both membership and fellowship continued to increase throughout the decade.

1980’s & 1990’s

The Wing leased the upstairs of the Kinsmen’s Club on North Market Street (formerly a Presbyterian Church Hall). According to Allison Laughlin, Wing president at that time, the upstairs premises consisted of “an old couch and a snow bank”. Extensive renovations and new furnishings soon turned it into a congenial Summerside “watering hole”. On April 1, 1992, C.F.B. Summerside closed its hangar doors for the last time. Although the Wing lost its Active Service members, the Wing, like the town itself, not only refused to die but rather continued to grow and prosper. The Wing near the end of the decade was forced to move, this time to another First Street location (across from the present day Shipyard Market). Again however increased membership, cramped quarters and increased rent necessitated another move. This time the Wing Executive decided to purchase not rent the former Kinsmen’s Club on North Market Street. After extensive renovations, many done by the Wing Executive itself and other Wing member volunteers, the present day Wing officially opened its doors on August 1st, 2005. Under the Wing’s capable and progressive Manager, Terry Edison, it would soon garner more accolades, including:

2007:  National “Wing of the Year”

Cyril Penton “National Meritorious Service Award”

Blair Buchanan “Atlantic Group Member of the Year”

2008:  Wilson Brown “Atlantic Group Meritorious Service Award”

2015:  Atlantic Group “Wing of the Year”

Ron Hatton “National Distinguished Service Award”
;

Three of the Wing’s past thirty-four presidents, namely; Robert Smith, W.D. Young and Danny Gosse went on to serve as Atlantic Group Presidents.

During the tenures of President Ron Hatton and President Blair Buchanan and in the Centenary Year of Powered Flight in Canada the Summerside Wing added another “wing” to its quarters. It would appear that with the recent purchase of additional land for parking and this present new addition, the earlier days of the Wing’s nomadic, gypsy-like existence are now over.

From its inception in 1950 through sometimes arduous times RCAFA 200 (Summerside) Wing has been a Service Club to both its members and also to the local community.