League Founded: 1958
First President: John Wheeler
The riverside community league of Capilano was formed in 1958.The league’s property at 10810-54th Street is adjacent to the Capilano Elementary School. The school works hand in hand with the league on projects of common benefit, such as a unique community playground.
From its inception, Capilano offered residents a varied program of activities.Courses in handicrafts, creative dancing and physical fitness were arranged for all ages; annual picnics and ball tournaments were staged at the elementary school.The first annual winter carnival was held in 1960, presided over by Queen Terrylu Gerlitz.A teen club, headed up by President Michael Day, held dances and other socials starting in 1961.In the same year, the Ladies Auxiliary organized teas, fashion shows and a weekly bowling club.
Building for the future has long been a priority at Capilano Community League.The first clubhouse and rink were erected by volunteer labour in 1959.Two years later a two-storey addition was in place, allowing for a craft area and further dressing rooms.
To combat sole reliance on children’s programs, four tennis courts were built in 1976.The Capilano Tennis Club was a going concern by 1977, with 500 members from the communities of Capilano, Fulton Place and Gold Bar.
An extensive renovation of facilities was undertaken in 1978 at a cost of $150,000, with contributions of $66,500 from the province and $13,000 from the city.Over $70,000 was raised by Capilano itself through lucrative bingos and a casino that netted $75,000.
One unique feature of the newly renovated facility—again conforming to the principle of catering more to adults—is a community pub complete with a 6’ television screen.For Grey Cup games or watching the Oilers battle it out with would-be challengers, Capilano’s set-up is hard to beat.President Maurice Poirier called the community pub an “adult neighbourhood hang-out with a lounge atmosphere.”(1)
The league built a unique playground with Capilano Elementary School in 1979.It was planned with the needs of all children in mind, including the handicapped, by City Designers Bryce Card and Dan Wilson.They incorporated the best of modern playground design into the project by reviewing the entries of a New York City design competition.
Alderwoman Bettie Hewes and Doug Tupper officiated at a sod-turning ceremony at the school in 1979.When the playground was complete in June of 1981, special equipment included wheelchair rockers, a metre wide slide and wheelchair sand-boxes.Standard equipment included monkey bars and teeter-totters, tire swings and an all-weather covered games area.
Funding for the playground came from a variety of sources.Of the total cost of $150,000, a large part came from the provincial Major/Cultural Recreational Facility Program.Another segment was provided by the city and over $40,000 was raised by Capilano league itself.In an admirable civic spirit, the students of Capilano elementary raised $4,500.
Capilano Community League and the elementary school jointly celebrated their 25th anniversaries in 1983.An Old Fashioned Family Picnic started the round of revelries in September.A ‘Just Look At Us Now’ open house and a banquet and dance followed in November.
Unfortunately, there have been problems of participation at Capilano league in the 1980’s.As a result, 1984 saw Capilano combine forces with the other Hardisty leagues of Gold Bar, Terrace Heights and Fulton Place.According to Capilano Program Coordinator, Pat Tapper, combining efforts in some areas while retaining distinct identities might prove to be a road to success.“It’s a great idea for small struggling communities,” she told the Edmonton Examiner. “Smaller communities just let programs drop because of poor participation.I hope this will encourage people.”(2)
PAST PRESIDENTS: John Wheeler, T.H. Forest, Monte Stout, Herb McDannold, G. Anderson, John Long, A.T. Stokowski, Dick Wennerstrom, P. Melnychuk, Norman Tribe, Gerry Art, G.C. Fuller, Wayne Kobie, Bill Chisholm, Maurice Poirier, Dorothy Antoniuk, Ted Pringle, Dan James, Al Park.
NOTES1. South Edmonton Times, January 31, 1979.2. Edmonton Examiner, September 10, 1984.
Source: Bowker, Vaughn, and Michael Wanchuk. Volunteers: Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues: A History of the Largest Volunteer Organization in North America. Edmonton: Lone Pine Publishing, 1986. 160–61. Print.