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Brock House Society

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Brock House Society

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Brock House Society (BHS) is a non-profit organization located in West Point Grey, which is in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Society was incorporated under the B.C. Societies Act in 1974. The purpose of the Society is to provide a social, intellectual, recreational, and cultural centre, and through a program of activities, enable senior citizens to achieve a more satisfying life. The Society is also responsible for preserving and restoring Brock House, as a Heritage House. Brock House was officially opened by Provincial Secretary Grace McCarthy, on December 3, 1977.

Founding members of the Society are William T. Begg, David Freeman, Q.C., Dr. George Halpern, Dr. Ida Halpern, John Keith-King, Dr. Robert Munn, Dr. Gordon Shrum, Koula Bradley, Pam Glass, Ted Afflect, Judy Aldritt, and Frank Low-Beer.

The Past President, President, Treasurer, Secretary, 1st Vice President, and 2nd Vice President form the Executive Board. Honorary Presidents and Directors can also be nominated to serve a term. The Board of Directors is responsible for policies and programs. Members of the Board chair the following committees: Care and Conservation, Community Outreach, Finance, Food Services, Greeters, House, Library, Membership, Music, Program-Instructional, Program-Recreational, Property Management, Socials, Special Events and Volunteer Resources. Every year in March, an Annual General Meeting is held so members can elect the governing body of Brock House.

Members of Brock House Society are involved in fundraising campaigns. The funds come from corporations, private donors, Foundations, membership fees, interest and income from the Endowment Trust Fund, rental income from Brock House Restaurant and special events, such as New-To-You Boutiques, Christmas Bazaars and Garden Fairs. The Garden Fairs have been promoted, as either Summer Fairs or Garden Parties.

The first capital expenditure came in 1976, when members had to secure renovation funds and operating funds, as part of a lease agreement with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. One and a half million dollars had to be raised, but later on, the amount was reduced to $250,000. The second major capital expenditure came in 1986, in the form of the Space Programme, a renovation project, which cost well over $600,000. Renovations were made to the conservatory, cafeteria, activity room, workshop area, and kitchen.

The Society has sponsored the B.C. Senior Award, since 1984. Dr. James Stuart Keate, a publisher at the Vancouver Sun and member of Brock House Society had suggested creating an award for senior citizens. Soon afterwards, Brock House Society established the B.C. Senior Award. The purpose of the award is to create public awareness of the contributions senior citizens have been making in Canadian society, and to recognize their accomplishments. The Bank of Montreal has acted as co-sponsors, but sponsorship had changed after Maurice Mourton, a former employee from BMO transferred to the Hongkong Bank of Canada (HKBC). Recipients of the award receive a gold medal, from the Society, and a monetary tax-free grant of $5,000 from the participating bank. Later on the amount was increased to $10,000. The Selection Committee acts as an independent body, with full decision making powers, in selecting the award recipient. Harry LeFervre (1984), Walter C. Koerner (1985), Mary Gutteridge (1986), Margaret (Polly) Sargent (1987), Chuck Bayley (1988), Gladys Blyth (1989), Evelyn Lett (1990), Joan Greenwood (1991), Mart Kenney (1992), Chief Simon Baker (1993), Peter Wing (1994), Ruth Wolfe (1995), Mervyn Wilkinson (1996), Ann Spicer (1997), Evelyn Atkinson (1998), Prue Cunningham (1999), and John Willison Green (2000) have won the award.

Members also participate in outreach initiatives, such as the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) Seniors Festival and Partners in Education. Partners in Education was established to strengthen public education and to encourage community interest in schools. Through the partnership of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) and organizations, students can learn about the realities of the adult world.

The educational, recreational and social programs offered include: crafts, croquet, billiards, music (including choir and orchestra), films, slides, bus trips, walks, hikes, health, tours, art, woodworking, discussion groups, creative writing, cooking, chess, financial planning, knick knack workshops, literature, play reading, languages (Spanish and French), computers, teas, bridge, chess, line dancing, weight training, tai chi, and mahjong.

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