Diana Kozinuk first moved to Victoria eight years ago and at first, didn't know anyone in the city.
It wasn't until she stumbled across the Cook Street Village Activity Centre that she found a place where she felt instantly welcomed in the community.
“I was just walking by and I noticed the place and I came in and I felt so welcomed,” said Kozinuk. “[I like] the friendly atmosphere. I was new in town and I made friends quickly.”
Kozinuk attends a fun and fitness class twice a week and a line-dancing class on Mondays and has since become the centre's treasurer.
“You can find something for everyone,” she said. “We all need friends and being new in town, it was nice to have this base.”
The Cook Street Village Activity Centre (1-380 Cook St) provides a variety of weekly courses, workshops and events for people aged 18 and over, including yoga, iPad and healthy eating workshops, line dancing and creative writing, book and knitting groups, among others.
They have a dart board, a pool table, computers and a TV for use as well. Lunch is also offered throughout the week.
The organization has been around for nearly four decades, initially starting off in the Fairfield United Church Hall, moving into a school, back into the hall and finally to its location on Cook Street.
“The centre was created by people who wanted to create community. They wanted a place to come together because they had shared interests,” said Carol Turnbull, administrative manager with the centre.
They have a few hundred members (although non members are also welcome) and see roughly 75 to 80 people a day.
Turnbull said they are trying to break isolation and loneliness and offer a place for people to go on a daily basis.
“It's a great place to meet new people, to connect with friends new and old. This centre is wonderful for that,” she said. “We've heard countless times from members, that the people here have become an extended family to them.”
The centre is open from Monday to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p. For a full list of activities, visit cookstreetvillageactivitycentre.com.