I don’t look for these stories but they do keep cropping up. Where is Dominion/Provincial Commands, what are they doing to reverse this downward trend?
Port Colborne Legion ready to celebrate 90 years
PORT COLBORNE — With nine decades of history the Branch 56 Royal Canadian Legion in Port Colborne has a lot to celebrate.
First formed in the same year as the Royal Canadian Legion itself, the Legion, which now sits on Clarence Street, formed with just 12 members meeting at the old town hall. The goal was to assist veterans in their life after war, one thing that hasn’t changed over the years as the branch has seen its numbers swell to over 500 and now back down to 174.
“It was to provide a refuge, some place they (veterans) could go,” said president Irene Leslie, explaining over the years the Legion has benefited numerous charities from the hospital to air cadets, while holding recreational leagues such as darts and euchre that continue to this day. Things have changed over the years, individuals need not be a veteran to join.
“It’s a powerful force in our community,” said long-time member Bob Saracino, noting the legion has been instrumental in not only hosting annual Remembrance Day ceremonies but also in preserving the memory of the wars of the 20th century with the installation of the howitzer, Veterans Way and D-Day benches in King George Park. The Legion also locally organizes the annual poppy campaign generating important funds for the continued support of Canadian veterans.
“The Legion has played an integral part in the development of Port Colborne,” said Saracino, who is helping to organize a 90th anniversary celebration this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The event will feature music, a meet and greet, cake cutting at 3 p.m. and dignitary speeches.
“This is a way to celebrate all our veterans have done,” said Saracino.
Leslie said she hopes the public will come out and see all the Legion has to offer. With declining membership the branch has already sold its hall, originally built in 1923. Currently the branch leases back the building but Leslie said that may change if membership continues to decline.
“If it keeps going down we’re fighting a loosing battle,” she said.