The Order of St. John in Canada
The Canadian Branch of the Order began informally in 1883, when the inaugural first aid course was held in Quebec City. In March 1895, Canada’s Deputy Surgeon General, George Sterling Ryerson, was authorized by the Grand Priory to establish a branch of the St. John Ambulance Association in Canada. The Order’s first Canadian ambulance division was established in London, Ontario in 1909.
(Source: The Canadian Honours System by Dr. Christopher McCreery)
In 1910 and 1911 a major reorganization took place in the work of St. John Ambulance in Canada. The newly formed Canadian “Branch” saw one of its tasks be that of extending the scope and increasing the efficiency of the Association by organizing it on a regional basis, thus developing local interest in its activities. This was to be done by establishing Provincial Councils in every province of Canada, which would be responsible for administering local centers already active within the province as well as promoting the formation of new centres.
With this new found growth, in 1911 the creation of a Canadian District of the Brigade Overseas took place. The Canadian Headquarters of the Brigade Overseas was located in Toronto until 1933, and subsequently moved to Ottawa.
The Canadian Brigade Overseas took on an international role during WWI and WWII with its involvement with the Voluntary Aid Detachments. Over the years the increase in St. John activity led to the creation in 1934 of the Commandery of the Order in Canada, which in 1946 was elevated to a Priory.
(Source: The White Cross in Canada 1883-1983 by Strome Galloway, Centennial Edition)
St. John Canada (Priory of Canada) is the second largest establishment in the Order of St. John, following the Priory of England and supports the mission of the
Order of St. John through the work carried out by the St. John Ambulance Foundation and the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.
St. John Ambulance is in the forefront of providing first aid training and medical assistance to people in need. Established in 1883, with the inaugural first aid course in Quebec City, today, St. John issues approximately 550,000 certificates in first aid and CPR to Canadians each year. Our volunteers provide over one million volunteer hours of community services annually and the organization supports humanitarian relief efforts across Canada and around the world.
St. John Canada financially supports the St. John Eye Hospital
in Jerusalem, a leading health care and research facility, through donations and contributions from St. John Councils.