Legion opens its doors to area kids

New provincial liquor law allows minors into legion for Friday night suppers.

For the first time in 34 years kids will be allowed into the Burns Lake Legion Hall to enjoy its weekly Friday night supper service with their parents and grandparents.

Harry Elliott, President of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 50 at Burns Lake, said children are now able to eat in the dining room area of the legion when liquor is being served during the supper. He said kids can also sit in the lounge portion of the hall, but their parents or grandparents must accompany them and be there for the supper.

“The only time that children have been allowed in the legion is on a Remembrance Day service or a funeral for their grandparents, but if that’s the case there cannot be liquor served,” said Elliott. “That’s been changed.”

The new policy is a result of a provincial liquor law that came into effect June 21 that allows minors into pubs where liquor is being served. At establishments where selling liquor is the primary trade, such as at legions, they first had to apply to the province for the ability to accommodate minors.

Elliott said their application to allow minors in the legion was passed three weeks ago and they received notification from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch with the B.C. Ministry of Justice last week they could go ahead with the new policy. He said a hoped increase in patronage at the suppers as a result of this change is not only a benefit to the legion, but also to the community because everything the legion makes goes back to the people of Burns Lake.

“The legion can’t survive on the bar alone,”he said. “We have to have the attendance of our community at our suppers and whatever else we do because we’re a non-profit organization [and] our meals are a big, big thing for the legion. Everybody thinks the legion is a drinking place. It’s not. It’s family oriented and now that we’ve got everything changed around we can have more family functions in there than what we had before.”

He said this new policy also allows kids to find out more about the heroic actions of their forefathers, as they will be able to spend time at the legion during these suppers looking up at the photos of Burns Lake’s veterans as well as the many exhibits such as military uniforms, medals and weapons that are on display in the building. Elliott said kids in Burns Lake seem to want more knowledge about the past and this should help.

“Our children’s participation at Remembrance Day has skyrocketed,” said Elliott.  “They’re suddenly realizing how important their grandpa and grandmother were.”