By Kathy McGrath

After almost four years of waiting, members of Legion branch 258 will enter their new digs at 305 Morrish Road on Sept. 16.  “We’re all looking forward to this very much because it’s a whole new future for the branch,” says President Richard Viles.  The Legion will host a “soft” opening at 1 pm on Sept. 24 for members and local residents and a larger, official opening later in the fall with dignitaries from Ottawa.

The new building, which was originally a place of worship, had to be rezoned and completely refurbished. Centennial News was given a sneak peek of the property and we’re happy to report the finished product is impressive.

The main lounge is painted in dark, soothing colours accented with modern lighting and wooden beams to create a contemporary look.  The bar is made of blonde wood with undermount lighting and the bartending area is clean and fresh looking with blue and white tiles and glass shelves.  Black pendant lighting creates a pleasing contrast.

Apart from the main lounge, the building has a roof patio at the front (which will look more complete when the umbrellas arrive), as well as a bookable party room downstairs. The party room has a full kitchen and includes two sliding garage doors that give it a funky vibe and also provide ventilation.  All the washrooms in the building are sleek and modern. The building includes an elevator and stair lift.

First VP June Viles says Legion officials worked with a designer to create a modern look that would appeal to a new generation of members.

While things are moving along, Richard is aware of all the tasks that still need to be done.  “One of the biggest issues is getting a liquor license,” he explains.  “Things are moving slowly because of Covid.”

In addition, Legion staff are still sorting through the extensive memorabilia at the old location at 35 Lawson Road.  “We don’t have nearly as much wall space in the new place, so we can’t move all the historical artifacts to this building,” says Richard. Many of the items will have to be photographed and possibly viewed in a digital slideshow.

The old building, opened in 1980, closed its doors on August 27.  An afternoon going-away party was held.  Branch 258 was first built 90 years ago on the Lawson Road property, but had to be rebuilt in 1980 after the original structure burned down. The large property was sold to VIVA retirement communities.