Dan St Pierre, navy veteran and executive member of Salmon Arm Legion raises a new Canadian flag after the legion hall reopened to the public on July 6. (Photo Contributed)

Shuswap Royal Canadian Legion branches happy to be open again

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, the legion halls are back.

The Shuswap’s Royal Canadian Legion branches serve as a gathering place, watering hole and source of revenue that goes to community projects; after riding out the closure due to COVID-19 things are getting back to normal at the legion halls.

Some legion branches in B.C. have been faced with closures due to the financial strain caused by the pandemic, but the Salmon Arm Sicamous and Chase branches are soldiering on with some measure of optimism for the future.

Bill Moore, the president of the Sicamous Legion, said community support and a successful year leading up to the pandemic has allowed them to overcome the costs of an almost three-month closure. He said the Sicamous branch reopened as soon as restrictions on pubs were lifted and has been building up to a relatively normal summer since then. He said the three months of lost income as well as their curtailed ability to host weddings and other large events have made an impact but dedicated regulars and relief on their BC Hydro bill have helped the branch.

Read More: Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

Moore said their first evening back open was as busy as COVID-19 restrictions would allow and business has been steady since then. Relaxed rules on liquor-licensed patios has allowed the legion to serve drinks outdoors on a temporary basis until Oct. 31 and Moore said it is hoped they will be able to secure a permanent license for their patio afterwards.

The Sicamous Legion will be putting on a pasta dinner each Friday night over the summer, coinciding with the Sicamous Farmer’s Market in the legion hall’s parking lot. Moore said he is also pleased to see their Saturday and Sunday night meat draws resuming as ticket sales from those events put plenty of money back into the community. According to Moore the Sicamous branch was able to give out $50,000 of gaming revenue to community groups and people in need last year.

In Salmon Arm, the legion hall began a soft opening on Tuesday, July 7. President Matt Fowler said the members and guests have been happy to have a place to gather and socialize again, albeit with some social distancing protocols in place. Fowler said the Legion is not offering pool or other games to start with and the capacity limit of 46 people makes hosting events like the burger and beer night they would normally be hosting monthly a challenge.

Fowler said in order to protect their clientele the legion is going above and beyond the safety protocols set out by the province.

Money challenges had been a concern for the Salmon Arm branch as they shut down due to the pandemic.

“We have a terrible business plan. We make it and then we give it away, ” Fowler said.

The Salmon Arm Legion has often hosted fundraisers in the past and Fowler said they are looking into resuming them, making use of the legion hall’s parking lot so they can go back to putting money into the community.

Paul Lamoueux, the president of the legion branch in Chase said the COVID-19 closure left them a little short of cash, but they have their heads above water and were happy to reopen about two weeks ago.

Unfortunately a few fixtures of the Chase Legion’s operations, including darts and burger nights, have had to discontinue for the time being due to COVID-19 safety regulations. Lamoureux said they are following the rules closely with the goal of keeping everybody safe.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Debris from flooding prompts concern around Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail

Resident says long-term plan needed for popular public pathway

Morning Start: High heels were first designed for men

Your morning start for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Shuswap First Nations landmark project gets $10,000 boost

The funds received from the Heritage Legacy Fund will assist research and design of the project.

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

1 year since a B.C. teen died in a skate park, his family still waiting for charges

Carson Crimeni’s final moments were broadcast on social media

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Snapshot: Parked at the park

Natalie Hextall waits on the cool grass in Salmon Arm’s Badger Park… Continue reading

Local state of emergency declared near Okanagan home

Slope failure cited as City of Penticton issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Therapeutic art for sale at Okanagan show

17th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale presented by Vernon Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Tech mogul growing North Okanagan’s wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in Vernon

Most Read