Dance time kicks up at Tofino Legion, leaders refocus on membership core

Dance season is in swing at Tofino’s Legion.

The Legion is changing up its event planning this season and refocusing on its core membership rather than out-of-towners, according to Duncan McMaster. McMaster is part of a newly struck Entertainment Committee and is joined by Rene Gibson, Mike White, Rob Renna, Alan Connelly, Brandon Vautour and Leanne McLellan.

“Entertainment Committee meetings are held once a month and all (Legion) members are welcome to attend to offer their input. We are looking for recommendations for bands to play at the Legion, especially those from the Island,” McMaster said.

The Legion will focus on its 130-150 “hard-core” members rather than attracting interest from tourists.

The Legion ramped up its event-schedule last year, bringing in a full-time manager and pushing its membership high enough to receive a gold membership achievement award from the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command.

“We did go up as high as 450 members when we won that award last year but they’re people who visit town, join, and then you never see them again. We want to concentrate on that hardcore and try to increase it somewhat,” McMaster said.

“We had a complaint from members of the senior community that all the concerts were aimed at youngsters so we’re looking at broader age groups and a diverse range of entertainment.”

On Friday, Kevin Roy will start off the Legion’s first show and the Legion’s current lineup of performances this season includes from Country Queens celebrity impostors, King Crow and the Ladies From Hell, and Lazy Mike & the Rockin’ Recliners.

McMaster said the Legion will continue efforts to build its base by offering discounted tickets to members. “When we can, members will get in cheaper than non-members to encourage people to join,” he said.

“If you go to all the concerts basically that membership will have been paid for.” He said there is a limit to what Tofitians can afford to pay for a ticket so most of the Legion’s shows break even.

“In Tofino there’s a certain price people are willing to pay to go to a show and that generally is $10-$15, occasionally they may go up to $20, whereas if you were in a bigger city $20 would be considered a minimum,” he said.

“People just don’t earn that much money here; a $15 show could be 1-2 hours of work (wages) so we have limits to what we can charge people.”

He said the Legion has “gotten over most of the financial problems we had last year,” has “better financial controls in place,” and is seeing strong turnouts throughout the week.

“People are starting to realize that the legion is a safe place to come and meet people for a drink and have some fun and I can see the membership growing as we move into the entertainment season,” he said.

“I encourage everybody to come out and see some of the entertainment this year; I think we’ve got something for everybody.”