Tuesday, November 24, 2009


When we moved to Duncan, one of the first places we got to know was the Island Savings Centre, named after the Vancouver Island credit union. The centre is a complex of buildings including a swimming pool, a hockey arena, fitness facilities, the public library, a 700 seat theatre, a cafe and lots of meeting space. It's where the local hockey team practices and has Saturday night games that draw crowds in the hundreds. The students from the high school across the street come for swimming classes during the school day, and when school is done they come back to hang out in the library or on the benches in the foyer. People of all ages come for skating or swimming lessons, fitness or dance classes, and inexpensive classes on topics from drawing and languages to gardening and travel. It's the place where families evacuated during the recent flood were housed, and where people volunteered to help. It's where our public health nurses maintained organization and good cheer during day after day of line-ups for flu shots. It's even the site of the world's largest hockey stick (205 feet long, 61,000 pounds).

I knew it was a special place when I went to my first drawing class and was directed to what could have been called just the second floor, but was instead named the "Human Potential Floor." I'm there two or three times a week, to tutor Math students or to pick up a new batch of library books. And every time I walk into the foyer I'm struck by the number of people hanging out, or stopping to chat, or buying tickets to a show at the theatre, or registering for a class, or directing people through a flu shot line-up, or setting up a Christmas craft fair. It makes me feel like I'm part of a community, which I guess is what a community centre is supposed to do.

[Thanks to the World Records Academy for the photo, which I shamelessly copied.]

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