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Re-Imagining a Historic Institution

Peace River Legion Completes Innovative Updates

Brian Whelen, First Vice President of the Royal Canadian Legion Peace River Branch #62

In the heart of Peace River lies a testament to resilience and camaraderie that has stood the test of time for 95 years—the Royal Canadian Legion Peace River Branch #62. New and refreshed, the Legion has undergone a remarkable journey as recent initiatives have breathed new life into its halls.

Founded by veterans from WWI, Legions have historically been an institution of support, a gathering place for shared stories and a driving force behind veteran advocacy.

“We got our charter on March 21, 1928, originally known as the Canadian Legion of The British Empire Services League,” said Brian Whelen, the First Vice President of the Peace River Legion.

Over time, Legions amalgamated with multiple organizations across Canada, gradually evolving into a single unified force for veteran advocacy. However, as things change, so did the Legion. There have been pivotal moments when the organization reinvented itself to adapt to the shifting needs of the community.

“In 1960, the queen granted us the use of the word ‘Royal’ in our name,” said Whelen.

The Legion experienced surges in membership after WWII and the Korean War, but in recent years it has faced declining numbers due to a lack of major conflicts. Nonetheless, the Peace River Legion persevered, finding innovative ways to engage the local community and reignite interest in its purpose.

“We have embraced social media to spread our message and emphasize that the Legion is not exclusive to veterans—it is open to everyone,” said Whelen.

By increasing its visibility, the Legion has been able to attract a diverse range of members, fostering connections across generations.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of community organizations,” said Whelen. “Without their dedication and support, we would not be able to keep our doors open.”

From running the bar and organizing events to working at casinos and maintaining financial records, volunteers play a crucial part in sustaining the Legion’s operations.

The Peace River Legion has forged meaningful partnerships with various organizations. Collaborations with the Cadets, the Rotary Club, the Town of Peace River, the Museum, the Free Masons and the RCMP have allowed the Legion to expand its reach and undertake projects that benefit the entire community.

“We offer bursaries, support local schools, and organize writing and drawing contests for children,” said Whelen. “Moreover, we’ve taken the initiative to improve the downtown area and ensure kids and moms have access to snacks without having to travel far.”

Amidst changing demographics and evolving interests, the Peace River Legion has attracted new members and increased participation.

Whelen attributes this accomplishment to various factors, such as hosting crib tournaments, dart leagues and meat draws. It’s a family-friendly environment.

“Some former infantry veterans from various Legions were called upon to fight fires this year,” said Whelen. “Their service and dedication to protecting our community truly exemplifies the values we hold dear.”

The Peace River Legion continues to evolve. Drawing upon its rich history while adapting to meet present needs, it stands as a symbol of resilience and community spirit—a place where veterans, their families and community members can come together to share experiences, support one another and preserve the legacy of those who have served.

“These walls can talk. They hold the stories of those who fought at Normandy, Vimy Ridge and beyond,” said Whelen.

More than just a building, the Peace River Legion is a living monument to the courage and sacrifice of our veterans and their families. It is also a place of friendship, fun and community spirit.

The Peace River Legion invites you to visit its new outdoor deck and patio space and enjoy the many activities, events and services it offers.

Come and see why the Peace River Legion is the place to be.

10103 101 St. | (780) 624-1233


Writing and Photography by Nathan and Chelsey Friedt, Lemon Social

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