8 min

Needed: A new vision for a new Centre. We’ve waited long enough!

Stay in the loop

1.  Understand the Issue
Our community needs to step up and say clearly what we want in a community centre, establish an advisory committee to pilot that vision and raise funds to make the dream of a new gay centre a reality.
2. Take Action
3. Stay Informed
Join the Facebook group or sign up for our email list.


Group for new queer centre moves forward (Nov 19, 2009)
In a lively meeting Nov 3, a working group of 30 community members voted to create a society to begin the work of building a multi-purpose queer community centre in Vancouver. The impetus for the society’s creation came from entrepreneur and philanthropist David McCann who told the meeting that it was time to move away from talking about the dream of a centre to initiating concrete actions to make it happen. Read the full story.

Working group formed (Oct 22, 2009)
A team of community members met Sep 29 to begin developing a multi-purpose queer community centre. In a follow-up to the Jul 9 town hall that drew about 75 people, 11 people formed a working group last month to “enunciate a concept that will lead to the development of a queer community centre.” But they need your help and your input.

Next working group meeting: Nov 3, 7 pm. Come out and commit to playing an active part in the creation of a new multi-purpose centre. 

Nov 3, 7 pm.
Central Presbyterian Church, 1155 Thurlow St.
(Entrance off back parking lot)


In April, we heard that The Centre was quietly considering relocating its operations out of the gay village without consulting the community it’s meant to serve. News of the possible relocation reignited a longstanding desire for a vibrant, multi-purpose queer community centre. At a Jul 9 town hall hosted by Xtra West, about 75 community members gathered to envision their ideal community centre. 

A community centre should be a place of celebration, they said. A place to express ourselves on stage and on screen and simply in conversation. A hub in which to hang out and socialize, connect with our roots as a community, share our stories and display our archives. A place to be ourselves, together.

Over and over again, participants called for more than simply support programs and services. Over and over they dared to dream of something greater than Qmunity’s (formerly The Centre) limited model. You can too. 

A working group has now emerged to “enunciate a concept that will lead to the development of a queer community centre.” But it needs your help and your input. On Nov 3, bring yourselves and your willingness to get to work on creating a new community-driven centre. This may be our last chance to create the multi-purpose community centre we want and deserve.

Next working group meeting:
Nov 3, 7 pm.
Central Presbyterian Church, 1155 Thurlow St.
(Entrance off back parking lot)


1. Join us on Facebook
Join the Facebook group, Needed: New Vision For A New Centre. By joining, you can stay in touch with the working group, join in and help make our new multi-purpose community centre a reality.

2. Spread the word
Spread the word about the Nov 3 working group meeting and encourage your friends to participate actively in creating a new centre.

3. Attend the Nov 3 community consultation
Nov 3, 7 pm.
Central Presbyterian Church, 1155 Thurlow St.
(Entrance off back parking lot)


1. What's happened since the Jul 9 town hall?
Almost half the packed room at July’s town hall signed up to help make a multi-purpose queer community centre a reality. Of those who signed up, 11 came out to a follow-up meeting Sep 29 at the West End Community Centre and formed themselves into a working group to “enunciate a concept that will lead to the development of a queer community centre.” The next meeting will take place Nov 3 at 7 pm at the Central Presbyterian Church on Thurlow St (corner Pendrell).

2. Who formed this working group?
It formed itself and is still very open to — and eager to receive — new members. The newly established working group was initially formed from among those who signed up at the larger public forum held Jul 9. In all, 11 people showed up for the follow-up meeting at the West End Community Centre Sep 29 and committed themselves to envisioning a new centre.

3. Can more people join the working group?
Absolutely. The more skills and experience at the table the better. If you or any of your friends are interested in being an active part of envisioning our new centre, go to the working group’s next meeting on Nov 3 at the Central Presbyterian Church on Thurlow St (corner Pendrell). The meeting starts at 7 pm in a room called The Lounge. Enter through the back door in the parking lot. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Show up. Participate.

4. Why don’t we just leave this to Qmunity?
By its own account, Qmunity sees its mandate as focused on providing support programs and services. Period. Many people in our community want more than that. They want a full-service queer community centre. They want a place in which to socialize, celebrate and share our culture. They want a performance centre. They want recreational spaces where they can hang out among friends and family. They want more than what Qmunity chooses to provide.

Qmunity conducted a survey two years ago to find out what the community wants in an ideal centre. The answers received then mirror the wish list described above. But Qmunity decided that such a multi-purpose centre isn’t feasible so they shelved that plan and proceeded with less ambitious goals.

But what one group considers unfeasible, another may see as eminently achievable. It depends on the group’s skills, experiences and determination. And on the community’s willingness to support the project, financially and otherwise. 

As Steven RodRozen recently wrote in a guest column for Xtra West: We can create a multi-purpose queer community centre “if we demonstrate the maturity, professionalism and unity to achieve it.”

“Qmunity does amazing work as an advocacy agency and social service provider,” RodRozen wrote.

But we shouldn’t leave a project of this magnitude to them alone.

“Major projects like this one require all stakeholders to unite from the outset to conceptualize, plan, build and maintain,” RodRozen wrote. “The collaboration of stakeholders, skilled professionals and experienced leaders, in my opinion, should form a new organization with a mandate to create and maintain our new community centre facility.”

This isn’t about encroaching on anyone’s turf, he said. Qmunity “must be welcomed as key partners to realize this immense achievement.

“But they must be joined by a much larger and broader spectrum of the community, including those who have, to date, not supported or been as involved as they could be.

“Ultimately, this discussion must not be about anyone’s turf, egos or power — this is about doing the right thing for our community and our future,” he concluded.

What kind of community centre would you like to visit in your future?

Vision commits to new community centre (Oct 22, 2009)
Vision Vancouver, which holds all but one of the seats on city council, says it’s committed to a new queer community centre. Read the full story.

Editorial: Our dream community centre is feasible (Oct 8, 2009)
When my partner and I arrived in Vancouver a decade ago, we felt fortunate to immerse ourselves in the welcoming gay village and be introduced to The Centre as the community hub. We were told, back then, that we would soon have a brand new community centre to replace the second-floor space that still exists today. Read the full story.

Working group envisions new community centre (Oct 8, 2009)
In a follow-up to July’s public forum, 11 community members gathered to discuss a vision for a new queer community centre Sep 29. Read the full story.

Packed town hall envisions new community centre (Jul 16, 2009)
It was standing-room only at Pulse Jul 9 as members of the queer community packed the Davie St club for a town hall to envision a full-service community centre and discuss what components such a place might feature. Read the full story.

Townhall meeting video report: Watch the video.

On Jul 9 bring yourselves, your ideas and your willingness to get to work on creating a new community-driven centre. 7pm, Pulse Nightclub, 1138 Davie St. 
Facebook Event Page.

Centre AGM felt 'a little bit rubberstamped': observer (Jun 24, 2009)
It took the board of The Centre — now rebranded as Qmunity — only 45 minutes to get through its Jun 18 annual general meeting, which included the election of new officers but never addressed the hotly debated issue of the organization's possible relocation out of the gay village. Read the full story here.

VIDEO: Rebranded Centre moves to online hub  (Jun 19, 2009)
The Centre, recently rebranded Qmunity, held its annual general meeting Jun 18 in the West End. Thirty-two voting members attended, an increase over last year, says Craig Maynard, co-chair of the board of directors. The Centre sparked outrage in April after news surfaced that its board was considering moving Vancouver’s gay community centre out of the gay village. In the weeks since, some community members have called for a public consultation to discuss the creation of a new gay community centre and the shape such a hub should take. Read the full story and watch the video.

Time for a new gay community centre under new leadership (Jun 18, 2009)
When Oklahomans for Equality bought an 18,000 sq ft building to house their new gay community centre in October 2005, some members of the community thought they’d gone insane. But no one’s doubting now. Read the full story.

Qmunity is The Centre's new name (Jun 16, 2009)
Qmunity, BC’s Queer Resource Centre, is the new name of The Centre operated by the Pacific Foundation for the Advancement of Minority Equality (PFAME) at Bute and Davie Sts. Read the full story.

Gay city councillors urge The Centre to explore West End site (Jun 4, 2009)
Vancouver’s two gay city councillors are urging The Centre to explore the now-vacant St John’s United Church site in the West End as a possible future location for the gay community centre. Read the full story.

Centre meeting draws four people on Drive (Jun 4, 2009)
“It was the uproar over moving The Centre that got me thinking about what my connection to The Centre is,” said Sandra Mudd. “And there is none. I think I’ve been to The Centre once.” Mudd lives in East Van. She’s one of a handful of people who attended the second in a series of coffee-and-conversation meetings organized by The Centre’s executive director Jennifer Breakspear. Read the full story.

Centre AGM set for Jun 18 (Jun 4, 2009)
The Centre’s annual general meeting (AGM) is scheduled for Jun 18 at St Paul’s Anglican Church on Jervis St. The agenda includes the election of a new board of directors. Read the full story.

No 'drop-dead timeline' for Centre move: Breakspear (May 21, 2009)
Amid the din of coffee machines and the conversations from neighbouring tables at Melriches, some 16 community members met with The Centre’s executive director, Jennifer Breakspear, May 11 to express their concerns about The Centre, its future location and its problems with communication. Read the full story.

Pride nixes 2009 fundraising plan for The Centre (May 8, 2009)
Jim Deva left disappointed after meeting with the festivals committee of the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) Apr 29. He had attended the meeting to discuss coordinating a joint fundraiser for both the VPS and The Centre this Pride. Read the full story.

Jim Deva: Picture a brand new Centre (May 8, 2009)
As a business person who has owned a vibrant and successful business in the West End, and as a gay man who has been part of our community in Vancouver for over 30 years, I remain obsessed with the concept of a new LGBT Community Centre — and of what that centre could mean to the future of our community. Read the full story.

Editorial: How out of touch can The Centre be? (Apr 23, 2009)
They circled the wagons before we even got in the door. “You’re not going to leave us outside, are you?” barbara findlay asks Centre board member Rebecca Shields as the latter seems inclined to shut the door in our faces. Having heard a rumour that The Centre is planning to leave the West End and relocate to Burrard and 7th, several concerned community members are attempting to crash a board meeting at co-chair Craig Maynard’s home. Read the full story.

The Centre considers moving out of the gay village  (Apr 17, 2009)
Queer community members were swift to condemn the potential relocation of The Centre outside of the West End, saying the move would lead to the death of the organization. Read the full story.