Residents of View Royal built the View Royal Community Hall in 1943 to provide the community with a social and emergency centre. Craigflower Women's Institute helped pay for the cost of the hall from its own ' hall fund'. The Women's Institute ladies held weekly meetings in the hall each Thursday for sixty-five years until the group was disbanded in 2008 (with a short stint in the late 1940's when the Institute held their meetings in the basement of one Mrs. Ethel Rankins at 1440 Craigflower Road!).
The basement of the hall was originally occupied as the first fire hall for View Royal (the doors of which were removed only two years ago) and also by the View Royal Library, which was moved to the Town Hall when it was built in the mid 1990's. The View Royal Pre-School now occupies the basement of the Community Hall.
The View Royal Ratepayers' Association has administered the hall as a gathering place for the benefit of the community since 1943. Before the incorporation of the Town of View Royal in 1988, the Association also served an important local government role by holding responsibility for View Royal representation on the Capital Regional District Board. As the View Royal Community Association, a not-for-profit BC society, the stated purposes of the association are:
to own, maintain and operate a community hall and ancillary equipment for the promotion of social, recreational, economic, political and general welfare of the taxpayers and residents of the town of View Royal;
in the event of emergency or civil disaster, to make the community hall and other association resources available, free of charge, to established municipal, regional, provincial and/or federal emergency defence or disaster control agencies;
to control allocation of use and rental of the community hall to appropriate outside users in a manner consistent with primary purposes above; and
provide a meeting and forum where matters deemed of importance to the View Royal community can be debated and where the voice of the community at large may be heard.
View Royal collage then and now; under construction 1943 from the BC archives, and a few weeks ago (next slide). With government and volunteer help, the forerunner of View Royal's Community Hall at 279 Island Highway was built in1943. It was then an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) centre against the threat of Japanese air attack. After the war it remained headquarters for View Royal's first fire protection until there was a formal fire department. Here, with government inspectors (dark coats) are, L-R: Alex McKay, Jack Palmer and Jim Pilgrim. Photo courtesy View Royal Archives