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Abbotsford Social Activity Association hosts event for Seniors’ Week

Hall has long history, dating back to the 1950s
The Abbotsford Social Activity Association runs clubs and activities out of its main hall and a drop-in centre on Essendene Avenue and Cyril Street in downtown Abbotsford.

The Abbotsford Social Activity Association (ASAA) holds an event on Wednesday, June 5 as part of BC Seniors’ Week.

The event starts at noon at the ASAA main hall (33889 Essendene Ave.). Mayor Henry Braun will be on hand to introduce keynote speaker Dr. Dhillon-Bhalla, who will discuss “Practical Actions for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.”

There will also be a resource fair with information on services and opportunities for older adults.

The history of the ASAA goes back to the 1950s, when a parcel of land on Cyril and Essendene was donated, through a will, for an old age pensioners’ hall.

In 1973, an old building was dragged to the property and named the Abbotsford Old Age Pensioners Hall.

The largest financial backer – the Fraser Valley Fiddlers – did extensive fundraising when they drew large crowds to their functions.

Senior members worked out of a small building – called the drop-in centre – that was also dragged to the property, and they put up their own money.

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ASAA is one of the few existing seniors’ halls that is self-sufficient. During one year in the 1970s, their bingo games boasted earnings of $60,000.

Activities and clubs at the building all come under the ASAA umbrella, rather than running as independent entities.

People become members of the association and, as such, get a discount on all the clubs and activities they wish to attend.

Members also have a say in how their hall is run by attending regular monthly meetings. Volunteers are responsible for running everything.

In 2012, the hall changed its name to the Abbotsford Social Activity Association to include non-seniors in some of their programs such as the Grand Squares square dancing, line dancing, social and ballroom lessons, and Friday night dances.

Ken Crisp, one of the longest square dance callers with 17 years, has high praise for the hall.

“Of all my experiences, ASAA’s main hall is the best hall in the Lower Mainland, with a floating wooden floor that gets refurbished on a regular basis, great acoustics, air conditioning with ceiling fans, a large kitchen and dining facilities, large accommodation for coats and storage, a big private parking lot, and front and back entry,” he said.

The drop-in centre has its own kitchen and houses the pool hall and an upstairs clubroom area for different card clubs and meetings.

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