What is Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre?
Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre is a centre for the old and young, a place for recreation and social activity where new skills can be learned. It provided family support services and has 2 day-care centers and out of school care for school aged children. It’s a place where old friends meet and where new friends are made. It has a gym, a games room, a computer lab, after school programs, evening programs, a senior’s lounge and family programs.
A brief history of Ray-cam Cooperative Centre
Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre was opened in 1976, a joint effort of area residents, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the City of Vancouver. It started initially as a Social Recreation Centre and food Co-operative and has developed into a full fledged community run service centre. Ray-Co-operative Centre is operated by the Board of Directors of the independent Ray-Cam Co-operative Association and has agreements with the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board and BC Housing Management Commission. The centre offers a wide variety of services and programs to the surrounding community. Ongoing financial support is received from the United Way, Ministry of Children and Families, City of Vancouver, B.C. Housing Management Commission and the Vancouver Park Board. Special projects funds are solicited through Foundations, Government Grants and fundraising activities.
Ray-Cam Centre’s started as a 9,500 sq. feet building. In 1987, Ray-Cam expanded and added 10,000 sq. feet. This expansion included a full size gymnasium, weightroom, dark room, games room, seniors lounge, increased office space and administration front counter. With this addition Ray-Cam was able to increase programs, resources and opportunities to a growing community.
In 2001, Ray-Cam added a 2nd floor to the building. This increased space of 5,000 sq. feet was the effort of a group of dedicated parents who came together because of their ongoing frustration of lack of affordable, available and accessible children for children living in the Downtown Eastside Strathcona area. The 2nd floor is designated childcare and family space which includes a licensed childcare room, secured patio, family room, kitchen facilities, office space and meeting rooms.
In 2002, Ray-Cam completed its final phase of renovations. Another 600 sq. feet has been added and renovations have occurred in the youth area with increase office space, and the addition of a new computer lab.
Militant mothers of Ray-Mur
Ray-Cam Community Centre has a proud history of supporting families and our community. Starting from a movement to protect children crossing the railroad tracks to school, growing into a food co-op and finally into a full-fledged community centre, the spirit of the militant mothers of Ray-Mur has been a guiding force in our work.
In 1971, many mothers, living at Stamps Place Housing, were worried about their children crossing the railway tracks on their way to Seymour School. The Canadian Pacific Railway promised the mothers the train would not run during the times the kids went to and from school. The train company broke their promise! So, the mothers and some children put up tents on the railway tracks. A few mothers even got arrested and went to jail for a short time.
The story was covered in the Vancouver Sun and the Georgia Strait. Finally, the mothers won their fight! An overpass was built so the kids could walk safely to school.
It is thanks to the bravery of these mothers that we have the overpass.
See a photo gallery of the Overpass here.