Langley hosting pool party W.C. Blair

Charlotte Gardner has been volunteering at the  W. C. Blair Recreation Centre since 1988. She is also known for the chocolate zucchini cake she makes weekly for her fellow volunteers and staff. - Natasha Jones/Langley Times
Charlotte Gardner has been volunteering at the W. C. Blair Recreation Centre since 1988. She is also known for the chocolate zucchini cake she makes weekly for her fellow volunteers and staff.
— image credit: Natasha Jones/Langley Times

The first wave pool in B.C. is 25 years old, and Langley residents are being invited to a free splash to mark the occasion.

Admission to the W.C. Blair Recreation Centre will be free from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10; staff and volunteers, some of whom share that quarter century affiliation with the facility, will then celebrate a reunion from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Last month, Lesley Visser, the Township of Langley’s community recreation manager, introduced to council two of the guests who will attend the celebration. One is Charlotte Gardner, a volunteer who has been spoiling staff with zucchini chocolate cake since 1988, and Fran Young who has volunteered at the centre since it opened in 1986, and was active in recruiting public support in the run-up to the 1985 referendum.

The pool opened its doors on Dec. 12, 1986 and, as the first facility in the province with a wave pool, the occasion drew people from all across B.C. and Washington state.

Since then, Visser told council, “the community has grown up around the facility and helped to shape the programs and services offered today.”

The anniversary will include the unveiling of a mural, designed and created by the Langley Arts Council, and the cutting of the famous chocolate cake. Areas will be set up inside to showcase recreation, culture, and parks programming, pictures and memorabilia.

Visitors can try a fitness or yoga class, play games, or participate in activities such as arts and crafts.

Games and races will be offered in the pool, where the famous waves will be bigger and stronger for the special event. As well, visitors can see ‘Waves of Memories’ and ‘Waves of the Future’ presentations, enjoy refreshments, play trivia, and enter to win draw prizes.

Visitors can also record their memories on the wall, and experience a blast from the past. Memorabilia from the facility over the past 25 years will be on display, including a photo that one member of Township council remembers well: Charlie Fox, his wife, and two young children were featured in the first pamphlet advertising the W.C. Blair Recreation Centre.

Fox commented that the opening of the Blair recreation complex and pool “was perfect timing for our family.”

He said that his children and many of their friends took lessons at the pool until they become proficient swimmers.

At the time, the W.C. Blair centre was the only place to get year-round swimming lessons.

“A generation of children in our community benefited from the lessons given here, whether they be swimming or life guarding. It is a great facility that has served the community well and will continue to do so for years to come,” Fox said.

Ninety minutes after the doors close to the public, the party will resume as a reunion for those who have worked and volunteered over the past 25 years. Visser noted in a report to council that the Blair rec centre has been a major employer of youth, with lifeguards, dance instructors, and preschool teachers and so on going on to enjoy careers as lawyers, doctors, paramedics and teachers.

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Community Events, March 2017

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