In the past year, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #122 Golden has seen some major improvements to the building, and to participation.
During a rain storm in March last year, water poured in through the roof. Buckets were placed on the dance floor to catch the drizzle inside of the legion. Now, thanks to the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives grant, the roof was replaced. Legion organizers have already applied for another grant that will help them upgrade the insulation, windows, and doors in the banquet room. Currently, the building is inefficient, and costs the legion a lot in hydro and maintenance bills.
Another new addition this year, the legion is serving up hot food, and recently received an oven that allows staff to cook pizzas, chicken wings, french fries, and other meals in record time.
Upgrades to the building are one thing, but the legion has also been working hard to bring in exciting musicians and acts that people will enjoy.
“We did lots again,” said vice-president Randy Hamilton. “We have lots of entertainment happening. We bring in some tribute artists… To name a few, we’ve got Rod Stewart, we’ve had Mexican drag queen show, The Eagles, CCR, Country Divas, Duelling Pianos… Just a bunch of those tribute artists. We catch them as they’re travelling through.”
With the special shows the legion is always hosting, they continually have weekly meat draws on Fridays and Saturdays, cribbage, and host meals for their members. There are also regular fundraising events like dinners and barbecues that invite the community for a hot meal.
The legion has the banquet hall for rent, where the community often hosts craft fairs, uses it as a training area, meeting room, and more. It also rents out the lounge, which people enjoy because it includes the bar and food. Legion members are allowed to stay in the lounge during events.
“We’re getting more and more people coming to visit,” Hamilton said. “You don’t have to be a member to come to the branch anymore.”
Families with children are allowed in the lounge until 9 p.m. In the spring, the legion hosted a Harry Potter afternoon, where children could enjoy the iconic movies with snack and non-alcoholic butterbeer, a famous wizarding world beverage.
Anyone who wants to become a member of the legion can sign up. There are different categories of membership, depending on a person’s affiliation with the armed forces.
“You don’t have to have any family members that were in the military,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton has been a legion member for 40 years. When he turned 19, he went to his legion, and became a member in support of veterans in Canada.
“I’ve always been interested in this kind of stuff,” Hamilton said. “I’ve always taken a special interest in the veterans and in the military. This is just my way of honouring them.”