Jasper Legion: A Community Hub and Comfort Food

    John Strugnell April 18, 2017

    There is something to be said about a nickname. It’s a sign of real endearment from family and old friends. Having one given to me at my favourite watering hole in Jasper really speaks volumes. “What’ll it be, Johnny?” rings happily in my ears a couple times a week when I attend various functions at the Jasper Royal Canadian Legion.

    It’s more than a pub – it’s a community hub with the best draught selection in town from Three Ranges Brewing, members’ prices, and a good old fashioned pub menu. Staples include chili fries, nachos, burgers, and wings.

    But it wasn’t always this way. Before some necessary changes were made in the last year, the Legion didn’t have quite the same feeling as it’s grown to inspire here in Jasper. The local beer and the active kitchen were underutilized, but it has since become a thriving colourful venue for Jasperites.

    Friday nights host jam sessions that have become so busy it can be difficult to book time to play. And nearly every other night of the week, one of the multiple other rooms like the games room and the “classroom” (as it is known from the previous lease the legion offered for a Francophone school) provide an inviting home-like feel for not-for-profit organizations to meet.

    If it wasn’t for the always new and exciting beer from Valemount, I would likely be consistently ordering the same IPA: Tail Slap. But as I write this, they have a pale ale, a porter, a seasonal stout, and a brilliant pilsner, poured from beautifully custom crafted beer taps to resemble artillery shells. The entire décor of the establishment is, of course, military themed. It is a Royal Canadian Legion after all, but you don’t need to be a veteran to feel welcome, or to appreciate the history represented here.

    Once you decide on a drink from the vast selection, and a plate from the menu of comfort food, you can wander up to the game room, complete with free pool, darts, foosball, and air hockey. That is, if you decide not to watch one of the many musical acts. Juno award-winning Canadian folk, country, and rock groups are donning our stage on a nearly biweekly basis here. (I’ll be in the audience of Winnipeg’s Joey Landreth of the Bros Landreth a few hours after penning this.)

    So if you find yourself in Jasper on a Friday night – or any other night aside from Sunday – ask any local, and chances are they’ll tell you to check out what’s going on at the Legion. Kids are welcome there, too! I drag my son weekly to one of my many meetings. The poutine usually keeps him occupied for a while.

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