LETTER: A life in the day of the community centre

July 2021 - My wife and I just moved to Bowen Island. We’re hoping to start a family in this more rural lifestyle that’s still close to the culture of the big city. We’re excited to take a break from unpacking to attend a “TOTI - Theatre on the Isle” play at the community centre. It may be a good way to meet people.  

October 2021 - We are over-the-moon excited: we are expecting a baby in May. Mary and I start prenatal classes in November at the community centre. In September Mary took her first watercolour course from Liz Watson and discovered she has a knack for it. She’s also joined a group of expectant and new moms that has gone a long way to calm her nerves. Since I have the car in town three days a week it’s great that the bus can drop her right in front of the centre. 

July 2022 - It’s a girl! Fortunately there’s a support group for nursing mothers at the community centre, which has been really helpful in these early days. On the weekends I meet with the men’s group that the health centre started as a way to support new fathers. Plus, we take regular Pilates classes (that offer childcare – whoo hoo!) to work on our strength.

August 2024 - In July we moved Mom to Bowen Court. She was lonely and wanted to be close to two-year-old Emma. Mary coordinated Emma’s playcare on Tuesdays with both her drawing class and Mom’s bridge at the community centre, so they all meet after for tea and treats in the community living room. It is Emma’s favourite time.

December 2029 - We are very sad to realize that Mom is starting to experience dementia. On Tuesdays and Fridays Emma walks over from BICS and meets Mom in the living room for tea before her dementia support group that the health centre offers and Emma’s children’s choir rehearsal. On Thursdays Emma has violin class and Mom has “mindful movement” classes to help with her balance. Mom’s pottery class at the community centre has led to little plates and bowls filling the house. On Saturday night we’re going to a Marty Joseph and Barney Bentall concert, a fundraiser for a community centre extension.

April 2031 - Mom’s health suddenly deteriorated and she passed away. It’s heartbreaking but we are so happy she was nearby these last seven years. Since she made so many friends on Bowen we’re planning a memorial in the performance hall.  Emma and the children’s choir will sing Mary Frye’s “Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep,” one of Mom’s favourite pieces. 

September 2037 – Emma turned 15 this year. The teen centre has started a theatre program that meets once a week in the performance hall. The coaches are professionals – three actors, a sound tech and stage manager. Emma is loving learning about lighting, sound and stagecraft and the teens are writing a musical together. We’re so thrilled she has access to such a program on Bowen. 

December 2042 – We’re so happy Emma’s able to come home from Stratford for Christmas. She’s been in three plays there over the season. Mary just got her four-year check-up and is still cancer free. The health centre’s support group still meets every week at the centre and it’s been a key part of her healing. As have her ongoing art classes. (Oils now!) I’m directing a TOTI play – a great new challenge. The town hall meeting at the community centre last night about the swimming pool was a success. Surprisingly little controversy. Since we were able to build the community centre in 2021 with the help of the infrastructure grant, we have received ongoing support both federally and provincially. Every so often Mary and I shake our heads in disbelief that we made the move to this remarkable island. We are already putting our name on the waitlist for Snug Cove House!

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