UPDATE – Legion’s BC/Yukon Command celebrates grand opening of new Veterans Village
OTTAWA, Feb. 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Legion Veterans Village Research Foundation is pleased to announce the official grand opening of the Legion Veterans Village (LVV), a unique $312-million multi-purpose social infrastructure project led by the BC/Yukon Command of The Royal Canadian Legion, together with Whalley Legion Branch 229, the Province of B.C., and Lark Group in Surrey B.C. The project features a first-of-its-kind Centre of Clinical Excellence in veteran and first responder health, a new Whalley Legion, as well as 91 affordable housing units owned and operated by VRS Communities, and 171 market housing units in phase one of the overall development.
“The Legion Veterans Village in Surrey is a brilliant and progressive example of what can happen when dedicated partners come together,” says Bruce Julian, Dominion President, The Royal Canadian Legion. “We are proud of what BC/Yukon Command has achieved with this opening and look forward to hearing about the Veterans and families who will be helped through this unique venture.”
“We are excited to usher in a new era of the Legion with this unique Legion Veterans Village project,” says Veronica Brown, Executive Director of the BC/Yukon Command of The Royal Canadian Legion. “It is a symbol and monument of what a modern Legion could be, representing much of what our veterans care about, what they need a Legion to be, and how we can better service our veterans, our communities and the essential first responders who look after us.”
Located on the corner of City Parkway and 106th Avenue in downtown Surrey, the 20-storey Legion Veterans Village building houses the brand new 10,500 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Whalley Legion Branch 229, which includes a restaurant and bar, full-service industrial kitchen, cadet assembly hall, banquet room, lounge and billiards area with underground parking.
“The Whalley Legion has been serving the community at this location since 1960 and we are incredibly excited to launch our brand new Whalley Legion where we can continue to serve our Legion members and become a gathering place for local residents, neighbours and first responders,” says Tony Moore, President of the Whalley Legion Branch 229. “We would like to thank each and every person who made this project possible and we look forward to continuing to honour and serve veterans and first responders and fostering a new community legacy for generations to come.”
Legion Veterans Village was originally inspired by the courageous efforts of Canadian veteran Captain Trevor Greene who experienced a debilitating head injury from an axe attack in Afghanistan. The BC/Yukon Command of The Royal Canadian Legion helped fundraise for an exoskeleton machine to help him walk again, which became the inspiration for the ambitious LVV project to bring innovative health technologies to help more veterans and first responders like him.
The LVV development is also a mixed-use building which includes 91 affordable housing units owned and managed by the VRS Communities Society (VRS), with priority given to Canadian veterans, first responders, Legion members and their families. The Province, through BC Housing, provided $12-million through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund for the affordable housing units which are a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom suites, with 10 units designed specifically to meet VRS requirements for accessibility. These complement an additional 171 one- and two-bedroom Parc Centrale market housing units by Dava Developments, which have already sold out.
“Lark Group takes great pride in being a dedicated community partner and collaborator, and as a purpose driven developer in Surrey for 50 years, we’re pleased to deliver this amazing project on time and on budget for all of our partners,” says Kirk Fisher, Executive Vice President of Lark Group.
The key centerpiece that sets the Legion Veterans Village project apart from others, is the Centre of Clinical Excellence for veterans and first responders health. The clinics offer an integrated continuum of health and wellness programs and services for veterans and first responders focusing on clinical health care and rehabilitation services, innovative research and health technologies, as well as counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health.
“This grand opening is the culmination of 10-years of collaboration and perseverance of the BC/Yukon Command of The Royal Canadian Legion, the Whalley Legion Branch 229 and developed by long-time Surrey developer, the Lark Group, which as a group never failed in its determination to make this innovative project a success,” says Rowena Rizzotti, Project Lead for Legion Veterans Village.
“Now that the facilities are in place, the Legion Veterans Village Research Foundation is officially launching phase one of its $10-million Fundraising Campaign to support the translation of clinical research into programs, technologies and services that will support health and wellness of our veterans, first responders and their families at the Centre for Clinical Excellence and across Canada.
“The mission from the beginning was to bring an integrated continuum of health care and mental health services into one building as a major step towards improving care and services for veterans and their families and to address the increasing incidence and impacts of PTSD for both veterans and first responders,” says Dr. Venu Karapareddy, Centre for Clinical Excellence Medical Director and Founder of Actum Health.
The Centre of Clinical Excellence is operated by Veterans and First Responders Health (VFRH), an integrated group of primary health care, wellness, and rehabilitation service providers connected through Welmind, the digital healthcare partner enabling streamlined, coordinated care. Providers include:
- VFRH Primary Care & Lifestyle Medicine – A collaborative team of family physicians, nurse practitioners, and other care providers supporting veterans and first responders through an integrated lifestyle medicine approach focused on long-term, sustainable health and wellness.
- Actum Health –Specialists in interdisciplinary, complex care empowering veterans and first responders dealing with persistent pain, mental health, PTSD, and/or addiction to achieve their recovery goals and return to the life they want to live. With decades of experience in the rehabilitation of complex health care issues, Actum Health works with clients to make lasting, meaningful change.
- Neuromotion – A neurological physiotherapy and rehabilitation company whose vision is to ensure every individual who is impacted by a neurological condition is cared for in a supportive, inclusive, empowering setting and can access a knowledgeable, specialized multidisciplinary rehab team. Neuromotion is bringing innovative technologies like the Lokomat robot-assisted gait therapy technology and the XOmotion robotic legs to LVV to help clients, veterans and first responders with neurological injuries optimize their recovery and learn to walk again.
- City Parkway Dental – Comprehensive dental care for veterans, first responders, and the general public in a safe, caring atmosphere by highly educated, compassionate professionals delivering the very best in gentle dental treatments to improve patient health and quality of life.
- HealthTech Connex Brainnovation Network – An evolving network of care providers dedicated to advancing clinical research and evidence-based practice in the area of brain health. They test and innovate new treatment paradigms, measure effectiveness using technologies like NeuroCatch, and train clinicians how to safely and effectively embed these new approaches into practice.
All levels of government have offered supportive thoughts about the unique project.
Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence:
“I congratulate the Legion and its partners for spearheading the Legion Veterans Village. It’s an extraordinary project that captures the spirit of what a Legion can be at the heart of a community. Here, Veterans and first responders can access a range programs and services for their health and well-being under one roof.”
Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament for Surrey–Centre:
“I am proud to celebrate and mark this momentous grand opening of the Legion Veterans Village right in the heart of downtown Surrey. This social infrastructure project will no doubt become a catalyst and model for future Legions across Canada, especially given the major role the Legion plays in each community it serves.”
Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley:
“The Legion Veterans Village is a welcome addition to the downtown Surrey neighbourhood. Our government is proud to have contributed nearly $12 million through our Community Housing Fund so that British Columbians who have served our country can live affordably, close to new, innovative health care services and improve their quality of life.”
Mayor Brenda Locke, City of Surrey:
“The City of Surrey is proud to have been a partner and supporter of the Legion Veterans Village from its inception. Veterans Village is a shining example of what can be achieved when different organizations and government come together to build a lasting legacy. There is no doubt that Veterans Village will have a positive impact for generations to come and its model of care will serve as the blueprint for other Legions to follow.”
For more information on Legion Veterans Village, please visit www.LegionVeteransVillage.com.
Contact for Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command: Nujma Bond, [email protected], 343-540-7604
Contact for BC/Y Command: Yvonne Chiang, [email protected], 604-880-5090.
About Legion Veterans Village Research Foundation (LVVRF):
Founded in 2022, the Legion Veterans Village Research Foundation is the charity organization working to support world-leading scientists, technologies, and clinicians as they work collaboratively to advance innovation, research, rehabilitation and health care for veterans, first responders, and their families. The Foundation is actively working with donors and communities across Canada to encourage and inspire support from individuals, organizations, and groups for the continuum of care for veterans, first responders, and families who are affected by physical injuries, mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, neurological disorders and more. www.lvvresearchfoundation.com
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S. and Europe. With 250,000 members, many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.
Photos accompanying this announcement are available at: