It’s a place where veterans in Edmonton unite, play games and socialize. The Royal Canadian Legion Norwood Branch 178 has been around since the 1940s.
But as of late, the legion has fallen on tough times.
“We are at risk for closing, we are probably no more than 14 days away from closing,” Royal Canadian Legion Norwood Branch 178 Business Manager Bill Huziek said.
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Huziek added that a rough few years, plus the pandemic, has the legion facing more than $200,000 in debt, and that’s not all.
“We’re in desperate need of updating our infrastructure on the inside, our kitchen facility massively needs to be redone, our bar facility needs to be upgraded and our POS systems need to be redone,” he said.
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Huziek noted these upgrades are essential to help generate revenue.
However, it isn’t just the Norwood legion that’s struggling to keep up. Huziek said many others are dealing with similar difficulties.
“Every legion across Canada is struggling with membership issues and volunteers,” Huziek said
Just a few months ago, the Kingsway Legion was also at risk of closing its doors.
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Legion President Mike Sirman said he wants people to know the legion is now “not only” for veterans, but for everyone. He hopes to attract a younger demographic through some of the changes that have been made, including a pivot from traditional events to things such as wrestling matches and dances.
Sirman said the legion has started a GoFundMe, in hopes that Edmontonians will donate to help keep the legion alive.
“I think it would be a major loss to the community and city because this has been sort of an icon for a long time in the city,” Sirman said.