Surge in community support pulls Port Moody Legion back from the brink

The Port Moody branch of the Canadian Legion has been pulled from the brink of closure after local community members rallied to support its restaurant and bar.

Branch president Brenda Millar said there’s been a recent increase in business since the alarm bells were sounded last month due to financial challenges brought on by COVID-19 pandemic-related operating restrictions — and that’s put the facility on a more sound footing.

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“Instead of losing $1,000 a day, we’re losing less than a hundred,” she said. “We can handle that.”

In August, Millar said those losses threatened to close the gathering place by Labour Day, less than 16 months after it first opened.

She said the surge in customers includes many new faces and some who hadn’t been by since the start of the public health crisis as they stayed home to limit their chances of exposure to the viral infection that’s killed more than 200 people in British Columbia.

Millar said restaurant staff have been especially diligent in their adherence to the various health guidelines to keep people safe, from limiting capacity and cleaning tabletops and chairs to collecting names and phone numbers of customers for possible contact tracing should there be an exposure. She said such efforts are especially necessary as many customers are elderly and more prone to a serious outcome if they get sick.

“People appreciate that,” Millar added.

But with infection numbers rising in the province — and cooler, wetter weather approaching — the potential for more people to stay home means the Legion is not out of the woods yet.

Millar said the organization is making a greater effort to attract private bookings for parties and celebrations involving established bubbles of families and friends, as well as being more aggressive about getting the word out that the facility is open to anyone, not just Legion members.

“We’re not your grandpa’s kind of Legion,” she said, adding the menu even features kid-friendly options.

“We just keep on hoping the community continues to stand behind us.”

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