Monterey Centre turns 40

What started as a place for seniors to play bridge has been transformed into an 18,000-square-foot hub of activity

Monterey Recreation Centre volunteers Joyce Bevan

Monterey Recreation Centre volunteers Joyce Bevan

Helen Larman was never one to join groups or societies. But after her husband died 40 years ago, she had the impetus to join the Monterey Centre.

“I wanted to do some volunteering and I thought it is right here in Oak Bay, close to home. I was thrilled (that it was available),” she says.

Larman was 51 when she got involved – she greeted members at the front desk. She went on to volunteer for 16 years as a cashier in the cafeteria and filled in on occasion as a hostess for events.

Now 91, she’s given up volunteering, but still stops by several times a week for lunch in the recreation centre’s Fern Café. She’s one of the longest-standing members at the centre.

“It provides friendship for me,” Larman says. “I’ve made a lot of friends here and the staff are just super.”

This month Monterey Recreation Centre celebrates its 40th anniversary. A dinner and dance to mark the milestone are planned for Wednesday, Sept. 28.

A traditional roast beef dinner will be served and the Swiftsure Big Band will get everyone out on the dance floor.

The centre was formed from very humble beginnings, says Lesley Cobus, a Monterey staffer since 1993.

“It was a group of like-minded seniors who said ‘We need a place to do our own thing,’” she says.

The group began meeting in 1960 to play bridge in the Guide Hall beside Fireman’s Park. Membership in the Old Age Pensioners’ Club was limited to 65 and fees were $1 a year.

Monterey Centre member Joyce Bevan, who has been researching the centre’s history all summer for a presentation screening at the gala, says OAP club members lobbied Oak Bay council for a designated building.

In 1968, the municipality purchased the estate home known as Kimbolton at 1442 Monterey Ave. for $50,000.

In 1971, the Oak Bay Seniors Activity Centre opened on the property.

It’s gone through several name changes and renovations since then, including a $1.2-million, 7,500 square-foot expansion in 1990, a glassed-in courtyard in 2001 and an elevator in 2010.

The Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library is attached, as well as a Hampshire Road house that the municipality purchased in the 1970s.

Renamed Monterey Recreation Centre in 2009, it still caters to retirees during the day and in the evening offers over 200 classes for anyone over 19.

That the centre continues to survive is “a testament to the power of people who want to make a difference,” Cobus says.

Tickets for the anniversary gala are $20 for members and $23 for guests. They’re available at the centre desk at 1442 Monterey Ave.

Call 250-370-7300 or visit www.recreation.oakbaybc.org for more information.

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A provincially appointed consultant has recommended a change to the funding formula for the VicPD that will save Esquimalt a significant amount of money. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt to save a bundle on policing costs under new formula

Provincial consultant studied funding model, resource deployment for VicPD

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

A Victoria resident was scammed out of $1,700 after a fraudster impersonated a police officer and convinced the victim to pay a non-existent fine in Bitcoin. (Unsplash)
Fraudster impersonates Victoria police officer, steals $1,700 in Bitcoin

Phone call showed up as VicPD’s non-emergency line

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read