Barry Pfliger lines up a shot at the Sooke legion. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Barry Pfliger lines up a shot at the Sooke legion. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

New rules open Sooke legion to public

Change in licensing allows for non-members

When the B.C. Liquor Control Licensing Board opened the door last January for service clubs to transition their liquor licenses to allow them access to a larger market, it seemed as though it might help to improve the financial situation at the Royal Canadian Legion in Sooke.

READ MORE: Legion seeks a new license

In early 2017, the legion announced it was in “financial crisis” and it was thought that the change may increase its revenue.

But the changes at the B.C. Liquor Control Licensing Board initially had the opposite effect.

“They told us in January that, until we changed our license, we couldn’t advertise to the public in any way,” said legion president Janice Watson.

“Because of that, we were unable to advertise our Robbie Burns Day dinner that we had scheduled for Jan 25. Instead of having a full house, we ended up with only 50 people there.”

The legion did apply for the licensing change, and it was a lengthy process that first required that the district council approve the concept.

“We have the new license now so anyone can come into the legion without having to be a member or be signed in by a member. We’re open to everyone,” said Watson.

“It hasn’t made a huge difference (in attendance) on a daily basis yet. I guess it takes a little time for word of mouth to get the message out that you can come to the legion and have a meal, or a drink, or take part in some of our activities. It’s a great place to come and have a good time.”

Where the new license did have an effect was this fall when the legion hosted Halloween festivities, there was no problem selling tickets for the event.

“We could advertise and we were sold out two weeks in advance,” said Watson.

As to why Sooke residents should consider dropping into the legion for a pint and a meal, Watson is effusive in her enthusiasm for the legion experience.

“We have a snooker table, two pool tables, dart boards, and a whole lot of special events every week. It’s a great place to come and have a fun time.”

The legion, she said, is also a wonderful place to make new friends or re-connect with old friends.

“We have a ladies dart league, a quilting association that comes in every week … activities you can join in. We have steak night, karaoke night every Friday, a Saturday meat draw … all kinds of events,” said Watson.

“And our food is really good, too. On Sunday morning, for example, you can come in for brunch for only $7.50. You can’t beat that.”

Information on the legion is available at

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