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Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164 finds new home on Franklin Avenue

0604legion9_new Michael Hugall/NNSL photo The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164 has been on the corner of Franklin Avenue and 48th street since the building moved from Old Town in the 70s. As of May 1 they will be calling the basement of Coyote's Bistro, home. (April 4, 2018)

Popular Canadian country music performer George Canyon will be centre stage during two acoustic sessions at the new Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164 location in May.

A native of Pictou County, N.S, Canyon will be making his first appearance in Yellowknife. Legion member and performance organizer Tammy Roberts said reaching out to Canyon was a shot in the dark.

“We sent out an email on March 23 and didn't really didn't expect a quick response,” said Roberts. “We heard back from Canyon the following Monday and we we're so excited.”

Prominent Canadian country music star George Canyon will be centre stage at the new legion on May 4 and 5. He will be performing two acoustic sessions. Canyon was asked by legion members to play the opening of the venue because of his dedication to the armed forces and cadets.                                Photo courtesy :

Canyon will be centre stage during an acoustic session at the legion's new location at 46 Street and Franklin Avenue on May 4 and 5.

His performance falls on an important day in military history. May 4 is the anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. It was Canada's longest military engagement of the Second World War, lasting from September 1939 to May 1945.

In remembrance, the legion has invited members of the Navy to march from the Cenotaph to the legion.

The legion was keen on getting Canyon to perform because he embodies what they stand for, said Roberts.

“Having him perform here is huge for us,” said Roberts. “He has a strong connection to the armed forces and youth...we want people to see this show.”

Canyon's performance will be two days after the legion is scheduled to open their new location underneath Coyotes Bistro.

The new legion – scheduled to open May 1 – is moving out of their location on the corner of Franklin Avenue and 48th street because of an increase in membership, said Roberts.

Since 2017 the legion has gained more members. Last year there were 129 members. This year there are 170.

Legion president Don Asher said he hopes membership will grow.

“Anybody can be a legion member,” said Asher. “It used to be that only people who served could be members but that's not the case any more. We want to show Yellowknife how involved we are in the community.”

The Vincent Massey 164 legion has been around since the 1940s. Since its inception it has moved from Old Town to downtown. The current legion building has been around since the 1970s, said Asher.

“In 2008 the previous owner went bankrupt so we had to close it down,” said Asher who then bought the building. “I made a promise that it would never go bankrupt again.”

Asher said the legion is important to his family.

“My father served in the Second World War and nothing was ever done to help him,” said Asher. “I want everyone to remember that the men and women who served for our country died for our freedom ... they died for us. I feel like people are forgetting that because today service members don't die, they are peace keepers, but people fail to remember the past.”

Asher said the new legion will have separate memorials dedicated to all areas of service.