Aberthau House on West Second Avenue, also known as the West Point Grey Community Centre, may not offer the state-of-the-art features the park board's newer facilities boast, but it is still a beauty of a building.
When the grand Tudor-style mansion was built in 1912 it was called Rear House after James Rear, general manager of American Life Insurance who had it built as a family residence. In 1918 Victor Spencer, heir to the Spencer's department store chain, bought the home and changed the named to Aberthau, a Gaelic word that translates to "a place filled with light."
Today the park board and community centre are planning a celebration to mark the 100th birthday of the mansion with a free event to capture the spirit of 1912. To that end there will be an afternoon tea, live entertainment, food, crafts, a slideshow of historical photos and games similar to those from the 1912 Olympics. Participants are asked to dress in clothing from the era.
In 1938 the federal government expropriated the home so it could function as the Royal Canadian Air Force Officers' Mess. The mansion suffered much damage over the following years, including a fire in the roof and attic in 1943. When the military vacated the home in 1972, the City of Vancouver became the legal owners. Aberthau House was turned over to the park board as the interim space of the West Point Grey Recreation Project. In 1974 Aberthau officially became the West Point Grey Community centre.
The 100th celebration takes place Sept. 16 from noon to 4 p.m. at Aberthau, 4397 West Second Ave.
The park board has partnered with Power To Be Adventure Therapy in an effort to reduce barriers to park and recreation services to people who have a disability.
The new partnership will allow Power To Be to place a temporary storage shed in Stanley Park to house adaptive recreation equipment such as bikes, hiking gear and sea kayaks. Power To Be inspires youth and families who need support to discover their abilities through nature-based programs. I wrote about the program in this column back in March, when the park board first agreed to allow the group to place the shed in Stanley Park.
The partnership is one of a wider park board initiative, which includes investing considerable resources to reduce barriers for recreation, including full accessible playgrounds, beaches, rinks and picnic areas, as well as adaptive equipment for aquatic facilities.
On Sept. 15 at 12: 30 p.m. the park board will unveil a new water feature/fountain outside of what's now called "The Community Centre at Hillcrest."
The centre will also be the location of the first annual HUGS September Fest open house. Participating groups include Hillcrest Centre, Vancouver Phoenix Gymnastics, Terry Salman Library, Westside Soccer, Pacific Indoors Bowls Club, Vancouver Curling Club and Little Mountain Baseball.
The open house takes place Sept. 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes activities such as the Music With Marnie concert, ballroom dancing, pickle ball, floor hockey and a Tie Die Party. For a complete schedule visit hillcrestcentre.ca.
Fall program registration is on now at Hillcrest and at community centres across the city, so drop in to your closest centre to find out what's new or check them out online.