Rossland Legion gets a facelift

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
August 15th, 2012

“It’s going to look like a construction site for the next three or four weeks until the windows and doors come in,” said Doug Halladay, president of Branch No. 14 of the Royal Canadian Legion. 

The front wall of the main hall will be all glass—except for the supporting pillars—and will face out onto Washington street. The doors will also have glass.


“The façade will fit in with the book store, matching that style,” Halladay explained. “It’ll look like a brand new building rather than an old warehouse!”


You won’t be able to look in the windows from the outside as liquor laws require glazing the lower portion of the window. But from the inside, full light will stream in 16 inches of clear glass at the top. 


“It’ll look very nice from the inside,” he said. “We’ll rearrange the pool tables over to the windows to open up the centre of the hall for dancers, entertainment, and events like Remembrance Day.”


“Financially, we’re just about breaking even, so the Legion will be there for the forseeable future,” Halladay said, but noted that the renos will also raise the value of the building. “That was one of my selling features, if we do eventually end up selling the building.”


The idea was conceived about a year ago, Halladay said, and the membership were interested but didn’t want to commit until project costs were better known. A committee was struck to investigate prices and feasibility.


“We got serious about fundraising at the end of January,” Halladay said. “We went out to local industries and  ended up raising $17,300.” So far the major donors have been Teck, the Columbia Basin Trust, and the Nelson and District Credit Union.


Although fundraising continues, the remainder of the total project cost of $43,000 will come from Branch No. 14 coffers that have been filled by members’ dues, bar sales, and past fundraising efforts.


The Rossland Legion reports to Yukon Command, but higher levels in the Legion do not contribute to branch level projects. Their approval is required, however, on any projects over $5000.


“As soon as they saw our drawings and the fact that we’d raised all that money, they were quite happy to give us the go-ahead,” Halladay said. 


The Washington St. upgrades have fit into the plans too.


“We didn’t really think the upgrade was going to be that big when we started out,” Halladay said, “but it’s worked out well. We managed to get the contractor’s trailer in to take all the scrap away—but it was nip-and-tuck to get that scrap away before they planned on tearing up the sidewalks.”


The Legion will reopen on Sept. 1, for what Halladay called a “soft opening” in time for Golden City Days. Sometime down the road, the Legion plans a “hard opening” too, with red ribbons, mayors, and all.


“It’s been a fun project,” Halladay said, “and it’ll be interesting to see if we can increase our membership, or attendance of existing members. The whole idea is to reign more people in by making the building look better and newer. Hopefully it will.”

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