Legion becomes teen dance hall
A building that has spent the last 60 years as a gathering place for Langley’s military veterans is being given new life as dance club for teens.
Beginning this Friday, March 4, Vancouver’s Ultimate Dance Club will open its doors in the building on Eastleigh Crescent, to cater exclusively to 14 to 18 year olds, says its creator, James Thom.
Working with partner, Shannon Bardock, the Port Coquitlam man decided to create a club similar to one he attended in the 1970s in Burnaby.
“We used to go (dancing), it was a lot of fun,” he said.
While anyone 19 or over can go out and dance and hang out with friends in a nightclub atmosphere, there’s nothing for younger teens to do except go to a movie, the mall or a house party, Thom said.
It was a deficiency the two were anxious to address, but weren’t sure where, precisely, they would do it.
So they set out in search of the ideal space — which they found in downtown Langley.
The infrastructure of the old Legion building — which was vacated by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #21 last summer — was ideal, he said.
It already featured a number of different rooms on two storeys with beautiful wood floors and a fireplace.
With renovations that include bench seating, two concessions, art-deco work, concert lighting and floor-side tables, “It’s going to be a well-dressed place for 14 to 18-year-olds,” Thom said.
The dance club, which will have its grand opening on March 19, will also feature a 360-degree DJ booth between two dance floors, free wireless, a large plasma TV, arcade games and more.
Thom expects to draw patrons from all over the Greater Vancouver area (research he’s done indicates there are about 160,000 teens in his target demographic) and believes the club’s downtown Langley location, just a few blocks from the City’s main bus loop, is ideal for bringing in patrons who are too young to drive.
They are also too young to drink legally, and Thom said security will be keeping a close eye out to make sure no alcohol or drugs are brought onto the premises.
“We’ll have licensed and bonded security, inside and out,” he said.
Meanwhile, in-house staff will be keeping a sharp eye out, as well.
“This is not a place where you can sneak in alcohol or drugs. No inebriated patrons will be admitted,” he said.
“It’s a big concern,” he said, “because once they’re inside, they’re your responsibility.”
However, Thom believes the vast majority of teens will want to dance and hang out in a fun, relaxed and sober environment.
“It’s a place to meet new people, meet friends and dance in a great social environment,” said Thom.
Thom has met with police and he said they agree with him, that there are only “a handful of bad apples,” he needs to be concerned about.
Cpl. Holly Marks of the Langley RCMP, said police have met with Thom and feel the business has good protocols and procedures in place.
However, she added, it’s difficult to predict what issues, if any, police will have with the club.
“We could see more problems developing outside (the building)” she said.
Because the club won’t be serving alcohol, she doesn’t anticipate the same type of disruptions occurring in the early hours of the morning as do at licensed establishments.
“It’s a learning experience for everyone. After the first couple of dances, we’ll learn what problems, if any, there will be.”
Vancouver’s Ultimate Dance Club, 20702 Eastleigh Cres., will be open 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday, Saturday and holiday.
Cost of admission is $11.50. No one under 14 years or over 18 years old will be admitted.