Good news from our Legion

October 8, 2021

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 of Sault Ste. Marie — a not-for-profit organization incorporated provincially under the laws of the Dominion of Canada — has announced a proposed development that will consist of a nine storey tower.

The proposed development will have 107 apartments of new housing project and new Branch facilities.

This proposed multi-level project will be constructed on the current site of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 at 96 Great Northern Road.

The new facility will house the Branch’s offices, meeting rooms, a memorial museum, as well an enhanced hall and kitchen facilities on the main floor.

The changes will allow the Legion to increase the number and type of services that will be offered to veterans and their families. The housing portion will have eight floors with 107 apartments comprised of one and two bedroom units – all with balconies.

This modern and energy efficient facility will be fully accessible and be equipped with up-to-date conveniences, including a limited amount of underground parking. The new building will offer auxiliary amenities, including private residence only activity rooms on each floor while the business floor will offer expanded Veteran Services.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 recently received approval to proceed with the project from its provincial command. With this approval, and unanimous membership approval to move forward there is renewed optimism among all Veterans.

On hand for today’s announcement were Branch 25 Legion president Helen Stewart, Sam Biasucci from Sal Dan Developoments, Sault member of parliament Terry Sheehan, Sault member of provincial parliament Ross Romano and Mayor Christian Provenzano.

Following is a text of statement made by Legion president Helen Stewart as obtained by Sault Business Matters.

“Welcome and thank you for taking the time to be part of our very exciting news.

Flash back to 1967 when this building was state of the art. When 6,000 members met and commiserated over war tales, when the Saturday dances were sell outs and Remembrance Day was the event of the year.

Fast forward to the late 90’s when the executive at that time entertained building an apartment complex in the back yard. As you know that didn’t work out – through no fault of the Legion committee.

Over the next 20 years numerous attempts were made to sell and move, again this did not come to fruition.
Then came 2017 – when the talks became serious again and over the next two years another concentrated effort was made.

In 2019 we developed the Property Committee and we engaged an agent to sell our building so that we could look into buying something smaller. We did get offers, but not enough to bring our vision into focus. We looked at smaller footprint buildings, but our membership made it perfectly clear that they did not want to move from our current site – that threw a spanner in the works, but near the end of that year, a new and exciting adventure was brought to our attention and it all started with a drop in visit and a quick conversation.

The proposal was discussed at great lengths and in the end I dissolved the original property committee and struck a new Property Development Committee and asked Col. Clyde Healey to chair it. He accepted and from the moment we were allowed to have a Special General Membership meeting in March 2021, the Property Development Committee has worked literally thousands of hours, hosted many many zoom and in-person meetings, hired lawyers, accountants, real estate appraisers to get us to this point.

This point!! The point where we have acceptance from our Provincial Property Committee, blessings from the Children of Shingwauk, a seed grant approval, and the list goes on.

The fear for a lay person like myself is calmed by the people who are making this actually happen. Where do we go from here? We are purging, digitalizing, and downsizing in the hopes that this multi-million dollar project is approved.

We look very forward to the continued partnership we have with Sal-Dan Developments and the Children of Shingwauk, Canada Mortgage and Housing, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, the City of Sault Ste. Marie Museum.

We look forward to maintaining our mandate which is to aid Veterans and their families, to serve our members and our community. This project will allow longevity not only for our Branch and the Royal Canadian Legion, but most especially for our Veterans who are the heart of it all.”

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