Here's how it all began.
"Necessity is the mother of invention." Like many things on Malcolm Island, the formation of the Sointula Recreation Association follows this old adage.
In the early 1970's, through a series of public meetings initiated by the then Board of Trade, the community identified the wish for a swimming pool and the need for a building to house a museum.
Donations of items were being collected by a group of volunteers who didn't want to see any more of Sointula's history leaving the Island or being destroyed. The foundling members of the Museum committee were:
Willie Olney, Aileen Wooldridge, Kay Thompson,
Annie Johnson, Slyvia Johnson
Following are excerpts from the minutes of the above-mentioned inaugural meetings in 1972:
On February 15th following the Board of Trade Meeting a public meeting was held to discuss the swimming pool.
Sylvia Johnson, Dave Siider, Wanda
Mclachlan, Dan Rubenstein
On November 15th 1972, the Malcolm Island School was turned over to the Sointula Recreation Association. Now the Sointula Museum had a place to expand and it marked the beginning of the community owning their own facilities. In 1973, the Sointula Seniors moved into their present location in the Lower Recreation Centre.
In May of 1974, the Sointula Recreation Association purchased the Finnish Organization Hall on behalf of the community. Until that time, the F.O. Hall was owned by the Finnish Organization located in Toronto, Ontario. This is where the $5000.00 purchase price was sent!
The Old Scout/Guide Hall (located on First Street across from the Sointula Cemetery) was given to the SRA in September of 1975.
In February 1980, the Thrift Store was started where it's now located. The original volunteers for this valuable community service were Sharon Graham and Shirley Griffith.
In 1982, the Malcolm Island Lions constructed their Lions Den upstairs in the F.O. Hall where they still meet today.
In 1982, the SRA undertook a major addition to the F.O. Hall approximately doubling the useable space on the main floor.
Vancouver Island Regional Library, another long term tenant, moved into the Lower Recreation Centre in 1982.
The Sointula Tennis Club with the cooperation of the SRA constructed the tennis court adjacent to the Lower Recreation Centre in 1985.
The official lease on the Arnold Grosenick Memorial Park (ball field) was granted to the SRA in 1989. Prior to this, there had been a license to cut from the Ministry of Forests to allow the development of the area.
The Pony Club and the SRA constructed a riding ring at the Arnold Grosenick Memorial Park in 1998.
In 1998, the SRA took out the Special Use Permit with the Ministry of Forests to allow the construction of the Beautiful Bay Trail, this was followed in 2000 with an SUP for Mateojas Trail, again allowing a much needed recreation opportunity.
2001 was Malcolm Island's Centennial. The impressive Museum addition was completed in time for all of our visitors to enjoy at the Centennial Homecoming in May of 2002.
In 2003, the original Athletic Hall was turned over to the Recreation Association and a major renovation was undertaken. This building had been known for the last thirty some years as the Fire Hall. We once again are going to use the historical name of Athletic Hall for this building.
In 2004, the SRA became part of the Malcolm Island Community Forest Corporation in partnership with Malcolm Island Lions Club, Malcolm Island Resource Society and the Broughton Archipelago Stewardship Society. This is an ongoing initiative.
In the spring of 2005, The Working Forge was completed.
2005 was a busy year for the SRA, beginning with the replacement of the Scout and Guide Hall with two portables from AJ Elliott School (which are now being used as the Teen/Tween Centre and the Fitness Centre), followed by the granting of the License of Occupation for the Big Lake Recreation area, and ending with the Old Medical Centre (Centennial Project) being turned over to the SRA.
All of the above could never have happened without our incredible sense of community and the tremendous groups of volunteers past and present that make Malcolm Island thrive. On behalf of the Sointula Recreation Association, we thank you.