Friday, July 28, 2006

Legion Building - Letters to the editor - as of and prior to July 11, 2006

Legion building has potential to be adapted for other uses

The StarPhoenix

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Royal Canadian Legion should be commended for all the hard work its staff and members have done and continue to do for veterans and their families since its inception some 80 years ago.

Branch 63 on 19th Street East may be moving but the hall remains an important symbol of the sacrifices made by many Saskatoon families. The building is attractive and has a rich history, which makes it a worthy landmark for heritage designation.

With some creativity, it undoubtedly has tourism potential. Saskatoon would benefit from such an attraction.

Older buildings such as the legion can be adapted and re-used for purposes other than originally intended. If not as a veterans' museum, this building perhaps can be used as administrative offices for the new hotel or for conference and meeting rooms that could be rented out.

I urge city council and owner Remai Ventures to find a positive solution to this issue. Demolition is not the answer.

Colton Inglehart

©The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006

Preserve Legion building for future generations

The StarPhoenix

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The downtown Royal Canadian Legion building is a symbol of the sacrifices made by those who came before us and should be preserved for future generations to experience.

The building has enormous heritage potential. It was designed by one of Saskatoon's pioneer architects, David Webster, and remains on its original site. There are not many brick buildings downtown anymore with the kind of character it brings, not to mention the societal and historical events it is linked with -- and it's still in use.

Many examples exist of older structures being successfully renovated and brought up to current standards without destroying their original character. The old Eaton's building at 23rd Street and Third Avenue (which is of the same time period as the Legion hall) and the CP Rail Station at 24th Street and Idylwyld Drive are two that come to mind.

Surely, the building's owner, Remai Ventures, and Saskatoon city council can think of a better solution other than to simply demolish this irreplaceable landmark.

To tear down the Legion building is disrespectful to the memory of the veterans who built the hall in 1929 and to those who paid the ultimate price in serving their country. One only needs to visit the beautiful Field of Honour military section at Woodlawn Cemetery to realize the contribution made in wars past by families in Saskatoon and region.

Debra Harder

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006

Sale of downtown Legion Building question of survival for charter

The StarPhoenix

Friday, June 30, 2006

There have been comments in the news media recently that inply that Branch 63 Legion was coerced or rushed into the sale of their building.

The fact is, however, that circumstances dictated the decision to sell the beloved but crumbling building, because of a dwindling membership and the consequent lack of funds.

The Legion is not a building, it is a small group of hardworking people doing their best to support our veterans and keep the memory alive.

Legions across the country are losing their charters and dying due to lack of support. With this sale, our branch will proudly move our charter to a new building with hope for the future. If we sell enough hot dogs, work enough bingos -- just plain volunteer enough -- just maybe we can survive.

The branch has sacrificed its building in exchange for a future. If you care about preserving the memory of your veteran forefathers join your local legion. Its future depends on you and your participation.

Helen Waring

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006

Legion branch moving, not ceasing operation

The StarPhoenix

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 63 Building was built in 1929, when the membership was plentiful and our branch was thriving.

It is now 2006, the building is in disrepair (not accessible to wheelchairs, walkers or canes), our membership is declining and our branch is struggling.

Thanks to Remai Ventures our new building (wherever it may be) will be accessible and affordable to everyone. Our old building will be forever remembered by the memorial Remai is putting in the hotel spa.

As for the declining membership, all those relatives of veterans who wrote to the paper to say the building shouldn't be demolished (and anyone who agrees with them), where have you been?

Our branch is not closing -- just moving!

Karen Kerpan
Secretary Manager
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 63

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006

Demolishing Legion Building insult to honour of veterans

The StarPhoenix

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I would like to voice my support to preserve the downtown Legion Building. Many of my ancestors were veterans and proud legion members.

My grandfather, John Paton of Saltcoats, belonged to the Great War Veterans' Association, which later became part of the Canadian Legion. His sons, Robert and John, were wounded in the First World War, with John receiving the Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1918 for bravery at Amiens, France.

The award citation reads "When an enemy machine gun was causing heavy casualties, he dashed forward over seventy-five yards of open ground in face of the heavy fire and rushed the gunner, killing him and putting the gun out of action. By his splendid courage and promptitude he saved many casualties, and greatly facilitated the advance." He was 20 years old.

Johnny, as he was affectionately known, died in 1924 from tuberculosis contracted during the war. Robert died in 1943 in Saskatoon.

Several more of my uncles served during the Second World War and belonged to the legion. There are no doubt many families in Saskatoon with similar stories to tell.

I am appalled at the thoughtless and hard-hearted attitude of city council and developer Remai Ventures. To them the Legion Building seems to be just another piece of property to be developed. Mayor Don Atchison has never explained why this travesty was allowed to happen, especially after council unanimously supported the idea of a Veterans' Museum within the building.

Equally disturbing was the excitement expressed by my ward councillor, Donna Birkmaier, in The SP last December when it was announced the building had been sold to accommodate a spa hotel. Don't our veterans deserve better?

Barb Nankivell

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006

Voters should remember how veterans treated

The StarPhoenix

Monday, June 12, 2006

I urge City Hall to reconsider allowing Remai Ventures to demolish the Legion Hall on 19th Street.

I can't believe that Mayor Don Atchison would turn his back on our veterans, especially considering their contribution to our city and our country.

After only two meetings -- on April 5 and May 28 -- City Hall just walked away with its usual weak explanation that the parties, "were unable to come to a mutually suitable arrangement."

Funny how this standard statement shows up when council is avoiding controversy. I think our elected officials used a similar statement when they failed to renew Police Chief Russ Sabo's contract.

This hall for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 63 was built to honour our veterans, and was one of the first built in Canada. It opened on Dec. 11, 1929.

It is sad that our civic leaders prefer to pander to the whim of uncaring developers -- so called good corporate citizens -- rather than preserve our past and honour our pioneers.

It is from one's past that one knows one's future. In the fall of this year there will be another civic election. Citizens of Saskatoon, please remember how this mayor and council turned their backs on our veterans.

Bill Nixon

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006


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