Hidden Gems: Community Centre Events

girl seated at a table painting a picture

Check out your community centre for events on Family Day!

Does your family struggle to find fun free activities at home and on vacation? If you are looking for something to do this Family Weekend consider checking out local community centres. Most cities and towns have them, and they have a mandate to put on cultural and recreational events at low or no cost.

Last fall, we  discovered a free Diwali festival at Renfrew Community Centre here in East Vancouver. While pre-registration was required, they had extra space for unexpected guests. Held in the gym, this celebration featured delicious food (tea, samosas, sweets), crafts (painting candleholders to take home), henna stations, and a choreographer to help us all achieve a big Bollywood-style dance number.

Diwali, as we learned, is a Hindu celebration that ushers in a new financial year. Participants honour Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. They create rows of lights (lanterns or candles) called Deepavali to attract Lakshmi and to honour the inner light that each person’s true self, or Atman. The name Diwali itself is a shortening of the word Deepavali.

The highlight of the event was the choreographer-led session. Row upon row of dancers, young and old, stepped up from the audience and together we learned a sequence of fun moves. The dancing also helped us work up an appetite.

It was heartening to see people from different ethnic groups come together to celebrate culture and community. And there’s nothing like seeing a 90-year-old man dance alongside a toddler!

And did I mention that a free lunch was provided? Pretty amazing.

Samosa on a plate

This weekend for Family Day we plan to visit our community centre and enjoy the events. To discover what is happening in the Vancouver area events can be found here:





If you are travelling around British Columbia or staying home this weekend, why not Google “Community + Centre + Events + Town Name” and see what comes up?

Here’s some examples for Smithers, Nelson, and Courtenay, for starters. Wherever you are this weekend, there’s bound to be something fun going on!

Published: February 6th, 2015

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Morgan was raised on camping by her father and maternal grandparents. A life-long Vancouverite, she is a tourism instructor at BCIT and Royal Roads University and a customer service trainer. Morgan lives in East Vancouver with her family and puts a heavy emphasis on family travel as a way to learn, grow, and reconnect.

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