By Chris Marchand
A banquet to commemorate the 101st anniversary of perhaps the most important battle in Canadian military history — Vimy Ridge — was also a good chance for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #63’s leadership to address the membership on its present state and its plans for the future.
Approximately 150 community members, including the few remaining local veterans, were in attendance for one of the largest Legion gatherings of the year, April 11.
Legion president Doug Miranda says Ontario’s lottery laws remain a challenge for them, though hall rentals and (upstairs) food and drink sales are still bringing in enough to keep the lights on.
“We have enough functions going on and when people come in they buy chips and beverages and that’s the money that keeps this place afloat,” said Miranda. “The lottery money, we’re only the trustee for it, we put it back out into the community. It’s not accurate that we keep any of it. It really comes down to volunteers that keep this place afloat.”
Miranda says that the Legion dispersed over $37,000 in lottery funds to community organizations in 2017. The annual Poppy Fund raised over $2,200 in bursaries and the Legion’s contributions towards the local CT Scan Fund (over several years) are approaching $60,000.
In the near future, Miranda says the Legion is making plans to collaborate with the City of Dryden to upgrade the cenotaph site to pay respects to veterans of the recent Afghanistan conflict as well as repair the Korean War plaque.