Salt Spring Legion offers tropical ‘staycations’


Islanders who are missing their usual winter escape to a warmer locale can find a little taste of what they crave this month in a “staycation” at the Salt Spring branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means few people will be hopping on planes, and new rules announced by the federal government last week will make it increasingly difficult to do so. Fortunately there is a way to do the right thing while supporting a local organization and to alleviate winter blues all at the same time: the Legion’s staycation brings diners to a different tropical paradise every week.

Offered Thursday through Saturday nights, the specialty kitchen and drink menus are not the only draw. Members and guests are invited to immerse themselves in the staycation vibe by getting photographed in a tropical set-up on the Legion’s stage. 

“I think we can all agree the past year has been incredibly challenging for everyone with all the new rules, restrictions, and the very real threat of illness around us,” said the Legion’s entertainment coordinator Angela Sandberg in a message to the membership. “It has been a contemplative time for many of us learning new ways to do old things and learning to live without the close comfort of our friends and family around while we do our best to keep those around us safe and healthy.”

Going without winter is travel has been especially hard on community members who appreciate the heat. Organizers say their light-hearted response to the situation has been a hit with guests and staff alike.

“We’re all having a lot of fun with it . . . We need the laughs,” said Legion president Tom Woods. 

Mexican and Caribbean nights helped warm attitudes along with bellies at the end of January. Featured menu items included fish tacos, jerk chicken and Caribbean beef curry. Desserts such as Jamaican rum cake and Mexican chocolate cream pie are some of the mouth-watering creations devised so far.

Coming up this weekend there is a Hawaiian menu with dishes such as pineapple shrimp, Kalua smoked pork and Kona coffee mousse. A Chinese New Year inspired feast runs Feb. 11-13, and following that the culinary journey heads to Louisiana to celebrate Mardi Gras with Cajun chicken, beignets and jambalaya. A Southeast Asia theme is also planned with fried bananas and ice cream along with pad thai and satays. 

Dinner service is from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with discounted prices for Legion members. Memberships are available.

The Legion says it is committed to keeping members, guests and staff as safe as possible and that COVID-19 protocols are carefully followed.

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