For years, the Royal Canadian Legion has served as a place for veteran to go and unwind, talk about old war stories and reminisce.
But now, the Legion’s Prince Edward Branch 91 in Langford is working to shed its “old boys club” image and re-brand as a community space open to everyone, not just veterans and their families.
“It was legion veterans who asked to open membership to civilians,” said president Norm Scott, who has been with the legion for the past 22 years.
“As veterans of the First and Second World Wars passed away, civilian members began to take on the essential roles of the legion to ensure we can continue to support all veterans and continue the tradition of remembrance. It’s our members who volunteer their time, their energy and their money to make the work we do possible.”
Not only is it a place to grab a drink or a bite to eat, but the Legion, which recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, also offers a number of social events throughout the week including carpet bowling, drop in shuffleboard, tai chi classes, drop in darts, trivia nights and Friday Night Jams.
In addition, it also gives back to the community through a number of year-round initiatives, and is home to the Goldstream Food Bank Society, Christmas Food Hamper, Emergency Social Services, Metchosin and South Vancouver Island Lions Clubs, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.
“We’re trying to make the community understand that we are not a bunch of old farts, sitting behind a wall drinking beer,” Scott said, noting the Langford legion has roughly 1,300 members.
“We’re here to help and support the community … It’s not a boys’ club anymore. We try and make people welcome. The Legion is here to support veterans and families in need, but we’re also here to welcome anyone else who would like to be a part of our legion.”
Membership fees are $55 a year. For more information or to become a member, visit rcl91.ca.
Find more Remembrance Day features on the Gazette’s website.