The Kingsway branch of Edmonton’s Royal Canadian Legion is fighting to keep its doors open.
Overdue bills and looming roof repairs have put it in a pinch financially. Funds have dried up, and it’s on the brink of closing for good.
“That could be as soon as three months depending on what other bills we have coming in, so is it critical? Absolutely,” said past president and financial chairman Ron Wills.
Wills started a GoFundMe page to help with the costs, hoping to raise $150,000.
“Had to swallow my pride to reach out like this because the legions are known to be independent and working on their own to raise funds, so this one hurts hard,” Wills said.
“We don’t want to lose this. This is a home for our veterans. This is a safe comfortable place that they enjoy coming to.”
According to Wills, about 3,000 veterans come for entertainment and socializing every month.
“We are open six days a week, so losing that for them — I think that they would really be disappointed, not knowing what the future will be, having to move on,” Wills said.
Frans van Ooyen goes to the Kingsway Legion every Wednesday.
“Just to sit and have a drink and socialize,” van Ooyen said.
He’s been a member since the building opened in 2012.
“This place is special,” he said. “The legion stands for things other clubs don’t, and I value that.”
He would hate to see the doors close.
“That would be devastating. I don’t think these places should have to worry about closing.”
Van Ooyen said he’d look to join another legion if it came down to that, but he hopes it doesn’t.
“You don’t want to give up a place like this. We built this specifically for our members in this format,” said Wills.