The Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre is opening its doors this weekend for a membership renewal drive.
The centre – located at 106B Blackstock Rd. behind St. Timothy’s Church – will be open April 24 from 1 to 3 p.m., so members can stop by to pay their annual $5 dues.
The volunteers who help run the centre are hoping to see some new faces, too, according to board member Elsie Urquhart.
“It’s a gathering place for people to come and have soup, or a cup of coffee and tea, and get to know other people,” Urquhart said of the centre’s normal activities, during non-pandemic operation. “And it’s not just open to Indigenous people, it’s open to everyone.”
While the friendship centre was forced to close when COVID-19 restrictions were tightened in December, Urquhart says the board is optimistic about its future once things return to normal. The centre has upwards of 50 regular members, and is happy to welcome new guests as well.
In addition to offering soup lunches, coffee, tea and conversation, the centre has also hosted numerous workshops, teaching Indigenous language, art and music.
“That’s pretty nice for $5 a year,” Urquhart pointed out.
The board is also exploring the idea of relocating into the downtown 100 Mile area, she said, to help boost the centre’s profile and attract more foot traffic and travellers.
“We’ve talked to people who have no idea that we are even there,” Urquhart said. “Once they know that we are here, they are happy to come and sit and visit.”
Saturday’s membership drive will follow all the COVID-19 protocols – masks, sanitizer and distancing – with the hopes that soon the centre will be able to resume normal operations, Urquhart said.
Anyone who can’t make it this weekend but would still like to buy a membership can call the centre at 250-706-0385 to arrange a time to meet.