A local landmark and community hub that has hosted weddings and Remembrance Day services and darts nights and many other special events has permanently closed its doors.
The "heartbreaking" decision has been made to shut down the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 619 in Warminster after 50 years of community service.
President Mary Thompson says the decision was made due to a lack of support from the community and Legion members.
“The community does not support us. We only had 32 members and there was a lack of help from them,” she said Saturday after opening the doors of the building for a liquidation of the assets.
Over the last couple of years, the Legion has tried to host yard sales, barbecues, and other events, but nothing seemed to draw people to the Legion to create revenue, she lamented.
“We tried different things; there is just no support. The pandemic was the final nail in the coffin,” Thompson said.
“We were closed for over a year, we tried re-opening and there was nothing. I mean you could sit out there for hours and nobody would come in.”
Thompson says there are two elderly military veterans who are members of the Warminster Legion.
“They will now go to either Orillia or Coldwater,” she said of the neighbouring Legion branches.
Being stuck in the middle between Orillia and Coldwater can also be attributed to the downfall of the Warminster Legion, Thompson says.
“When people want to go out, it was just easier for them to go to either Coldwater or Orillia. And a lot of people are just staying home and drinking now,” she explained.
“It’s just hardship, that’s what it boiled down to.”
Thompson says the property will go up for sale in the new year. Everything in the building will be sold to keep the heat and lights on until then, she explained.
“We are trying to sell all the tables and chairs, coolers, dishes in the kitchen, stoves, all the stuff inside,” she said.
As for the cenotaph, it will be moved to the park on Warminster Side Road.
Thompson has been a member of the Warminster Legion for 20 years. She says watching its demise is "heartbreaking" for her.
“I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the closure. Thinking about the work that I’ve put into this Legion, banquets, and everything, it’s extremely hard,” she said.
“At one point it was very good, but over the years things have changed.”