A longtime Winnipeg legion is moving to a new location a few blocks down the road, and its treasurer says the hope is that move will revitalize the venue and attract a younger crowd.
Garry Reid of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Fort Garry Branch No. 90 told Global News that the Pembina Highway mainstay is packing up shop and moving into a nearby vacant restaurant.
The move, he said, is partly due to the cost of the old venue and financial struggles the legion has faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Declining membership, break-ins, and maintenance issues also helped seal the deal.
Last year, the more than 1,300 legion branches across Canada were forced either to close or drastically reduce their services due to the pandemic, which led to some shutting their doors permanently.
Reid said securing the new home has been the result of a lot of behind-the-scenes work.
“It was previously a Pizza Hut. It seemed an ideal location — it was just two blocks away from our old location,” Reid said.
“It’s on Pembina Highway, where we’ve had a presence now since 1947, and it just seemed ideal for us to move there.
“We had to do something different. We were given a mandate by our members to sell the building and move to a new location. It was a lot of hard work by a lot of hard-working people to find this location and get it put together.”
Reid said he hopes a modern take on the legion will bring it back to the glory days — and says to expect a large bar, big screen TVs and more.