Dilute legion to host comedy fundraiser as it ‘scrapes’ to make rent

The Verdun legion is hosting two comedy benefit shows to help combat dwindling funds.

For over 90 years, the legion owned a grand building on Verdun St. But 10 years ago, the branch sold it and moved to a new space on the street.

It’s an expensive property. Although the landlord has reduced rent by half, branch president Stan Kirkoff said it’s still a struggle to pay the bill each month.

“It’s $3,400 a month, and it’s still scraping,” he told CTV News.

The lease runs out at the end of this year. Now, the legion is looking for a long-term option for its 140 members.

“It doesn’t look very good. I’d say by the 31st of December we’re in trouble,” Kirkoff said.

Kirkoff asked the city about using the old lawn bowling clubhouse on LaSalle Blvd.

But the borough thinks the Marcel-Giroux community center behind the borough hall may be more suitable.

Borough Mayor Sterling Downey said it’s a location that is wheelchair accessible with parking.

Plus, the Verdun legion would get a preferred rate as a recognized organization, he added.

“There are other options that we’re looking at as well, but our goal is to find a solution that’s best suited to their activities,” he said.

Activities like a two-night comedy fundraiser that aims to help pay the rent while the legion figures out their next move.

Comedian Joey Elias is headlining the shows.

Tonight’s the night. Show #1 at @RoyalCdnLegion Dilute #4
watch @CTVMontreal tonight for interview I did with @CTVChristine
And tune in at 430 @TSN690 ash @HunterZThompson helps spread the word. pic.twitter.com/HlraNUVKRB

— Joey Elias ���� (@everydayjoemtl)
August 5, 2022

“Why do I support them? Because of everything they did for us,” Elias said. “I couldn’t stand on a stage and say what I say if it wasn’t for the men and women who fought for our freedoms.”

You don’t have to be a member to support the legion this weekend, he noted.

“Whatever you are, you’re welcome here. We’ll take your money for beer. We’ll beat you at cribbage.”

Some of the new proposed locations wouldn’t allow the legion to have a bar — something it says is essential to generate income that supports their members and charitable works.

Downey says the situation is a sad one.

“The Verdun Legion, the oldest legion in Quebec, has been around 103 years and is in this situation. As a member myself, it breaks my heart to see that. But the model that was put in place was not a sustainable model for the legion.”

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