Jim McGregor/Special to Black Press Media
Langley’s Community halls have always played a major role in providing a gathering spot for people in the area.
History shows that they have been part of the growth of each of Langley’s neighbourhoods since their earliest settlement.
Today, Langley is home to 15 community halls, each owned and run by a hall society.
Nine of these halls have been recognized or legally protected for their heritage value.
Heritage Hall, formerly known as the Aldergrove OAP Hall, located at 3015 273rd.St., has been just such a spot for many organizations to meet, dances, and share potluck dinners since the early 1960s.
In fact, it was on May 6, 1960 that the Aldergrove Old Age Pensioners Organization (OAPO) branch #71 was founded in a building which had formerly housed the Provincial Department of Highways Works Yard.
Dave Inward is vice-president of the Aldergrove Arts Club, which meets in the hall.
“The Aldergrove Old Age Pensioners (OAP) originally leased the building from the Township for a dollar a year, then subsequently purchased it outright,” he recounted.
Over the years, the hall has hosted a wide variety of events and activities.
The hall serves as the base for OAPO activities – everything from luncheons and dances, to crib, whist parties, and carpet bowling.
But it has also hosted many community events such as rock and gem club shows, art club meetings and shows, parties and family gatherings, plus it has served as a polling station.
Aldergrove Art’s Council chair Faith Dahl recently organized a ceilidh for the first time in that location.
“It was a great success, people had so much fun and we raised over $1,000 – which will help maintain the building,” Dahl explained.
“We rely on our hall rentals and grants to maintain the facility.”
Recent Horizon Grants helped upgrade the sound system and renovate the kitchen, washrooms, and plumbing.
Inward says these renovations add to the hall’s appeal.
“People love to perform here. We have a nice stage, an excellent sound system, great acoustics, and comfortable chairs for the audience,” he said.
Dahl says the name change came about recently, after a meeting with Aldergrove Arts club and Aldergrove OAP.
“We found that more and more people were asking ‘What is the OAP Hall and where is it in Aldergrove?’ Many people knew the building with the fence around it, but thought it was vacant so we thought a new name and a new sign would help.”
They rely on dedicated volunteers to keep the building in shape, Inward noted.
“We have a lot of great handymen on board and we use a lot of volunteer labour.”
The hall is being used seven days a week now and that means having to keep it up.
“We have more grants in the works and hopefully we’ll be able to do more upgrades,” Inward said.
Dahl agrees the hall is a great gathering place for the community.
“Once a month we have a potluck dinner here on Sunday, followed by bingo. This dinner has been going on for years and people look forward to each month.”
The Township of Langley community halls source book sums it up nicely.
“These halls are integral to modern Langley. They were built over the last century through community fundraising efforts and donations of land, materials, and labour. Their building fabric embodies older building styles and construction methods. Their interiors reflect their former uses as gathering places and community hubs for all ages.”
For more information on the newly renamed Heritage Hall in Aldergrove and rental details, people are invited to call Dave Inward at 604-857-7700.