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On December 19th, 1919 at a public meeting, it was decided that "There shall be a War Memorial at Errington in the shape of a Hall". Financed by bazaars, whist drives and concerts and constructed largely by volunteer labour and much donated material, the Errington War Memorial Hall opened its doors on March 22, 1922. A Board of Management was then elected - this group, the forerunners of the present Hall Association looked after the maintenance of the building and organized activities just as is done to this day.
Events were lit by lanterns until a gas powered generator, the "Delco" arrived in 1926. This and other generators powered the Hall until hydro came to the area in 1949. In 1933 the hall ceiling was installed. Spurred by a generous donation from Mrs. Braddock, the kitchen was added in 1937.
Drama made its appearance soon after the Hall was opened and flourished with the hard work of Mr. H.F. "Bob" Butler. From the 1930's to the 1950's, many Festivals were held and scores of young people got their first stage experience in Errington Hall. The Errington Drama Club was succeeded by the EDA Players (Errington Development Association), Little Mountain Theatre, Umbra and ECHO Players, now headquartered in Qualicum Beach.
The Hayseed Jamboree Club was formed in 1951. With their own orchestra, the group put on many dances, cabarets, fashion shows and masquerades in the Hall. Many events were so popular that people were often turned away at the door.
In 1958, thanks to a B.C. Centennial grant and many hours of volunteer labour, a new hardwood floor was installed. This floor, after many sandings and re-finishings, survived till 2009 when it was replaced by a new floor of Canadian Maple.
In 1969, the Errington War Memorial Hall Association was chartered as a non-profit society. The directors of that year were the first to plan a "Hi Neighbour Day" - a community day with proceeds going to the upkeep of the Hall.
1972 saw the contruction of the Green Room, behind the stage, which was built in honour of H.F. Butler. In 1976-77 under a LIP grant, major improvements to the Hall were made in the form of insulation in the ceiling, a new shingle roof and ramps inside and out for the handicapped. Also constructed at this time were the chair storage area and the basement, soon to become home to the Errington Co-operative Preschool. The Preschool had been formed in 1974 to provide rural kids with contact with others.
The small building next door to the Hall served the community as Fire Hall from the 1968 until the construction of the present structure on the highway in 1975. In 1980-81 the "Old Fire Hall" was completely renovated. Insulation in the walls and ceiling and a wooden floor along with a built in screen and speakers have made it a favourite place for meetings, readings, lectures, arts & crafts displays and films over the years.
Originally used by First War soldiers on leave and Veterans for rehabilitation and recreation, the Community Park adjacent to the Hall, has been maintained and developed over the years by the Hall Association. The Park and the Ball Field have been the scene of many annual events and continues to be used by community groups to this day. In 1993, due to the sale of the property across the road from Errington Store, the Errington Farmers Market (established in 1972 by Gerry Shaw) was relocated to the Community Park. Again, thanks to volunteer labour and largely donated materials, local produce, baked goods and craft items and a woodsy atmosphere, have made the Market regular community gathering spot every Saturday during the summer months.
On the weekend of August 6th & 7th, 1994 the 25th Annual Hi Neighbour Day was held in the Hall. This celebration, typical of past days featured a Pancake Breakfast, Arts & Crafts Display, Farmers Market, Parade, Lunch, Goods and Services Auction, Kid's Activities and a Dance. A special event this year was the Reunion Tea and Concert which brought together many seniors and former Errington residents to enjoy music and song performed by local entertainers familiar with the Hall's well-worn stage.
March 22, 1997 saw another milestone in the Hall's lengthy history - as the community celebrated the Hall's 75th Birthday. Music, skits, readings and reminiscences and a giant birthday cake made the day a memorable one for young and old alike.
The Errington War Memorial Hall today continues the tradition built up over the years as a cultural, social and recreational centre for the surrounding area. The Hall Association, a small group of dedicated volunteers, while constantly dealing with problems of keeping this aging facility alive and running, is committed to seeing that the Hall, the Old Fire Hall and the Community Park remain an asset to all local residents for years to come.
The Association, known locally as "the Hall Board" meets in the Hall kitchen on the 3rd Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m. Needless to say, we are always looking for people who are willing to give a few hours of their time to help to "make things happen" in the community.
For further information, call Lane at (250)248-5724 or Denise Schmidt at (250)248-5685