One of Vancouver's oldest Community Centres, the Kitsilano War Memorial Community Centre was founded in 1951 as part of a grassroots movement to provide indoor public recreation services while commemorating those Vancouverites lost in the Second World War.
Located on the western portion of beautiful Connaught Park (5.99 hectares) at Larch Street and West 12th Avenue, Kitsilano Community Centre also offers a full-size indoor ice rink open from October to May for public skating and lessons. Serving a diverse ethnic neighbourhood comprised of all ages, this facility provides general recreation programs including group fitness classes, youth lounge, senior's lounge, special needs youth program and a Fall-to-Spring educational preschool. The fully equipped fitness centre with sauna, whirlpool and personal training programs, is one of the city's most popular and opens 365 days a year. Outdoors offers a large playground adjacent to the centre. Recent additions include an expanded fitness centre and a newly installed sprung, hardwood dance floor and multi-purpose room.
The St. James Community Square building dates from 1913 when the First Congregational Church opened at 11th Avenue and Trafalgar Street. In 1928 the church building was moved to its present location at 10th Avenue and Trutch Street and renamed St. James United Church. The building was moved to make way for an expanding Kitsilano High School.
Besides being a home for spiritual needs, the church building from the beginning served as a meeting place for community. Organizations such as the Boy Scouts called St. James home, and the sanctuary hall was used by theatrical groups.In 1954 the church was extended to the north and in 1960 a major addition, the Christian Education Building, was constructed on the west side of the old church. The expanded facilities were subsequently used by dozens of community and service organizations, including St. James Day Care, which was established in 1970.
A Kitsilano landmark and home to community groups for over 90 years, the St. James building continues to contribute to community needs in our city as St. James Community Square.