Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre was born from grass-roots community activism. In the winter of 1971 Militant Mothers of Raymur staged a sit-in on nearby railway tracks to protect the safety of their children. Their success with the overpass created a sense of spirit and trength. The Militant Mothers founded a food coop for ffordable groceries, and advocated for a community Centre to be built.
By 1973, the City of Vancouver had agreed to the building of the Ray-Cam Cooperative Centre and construction began late 1975. Ray-Cam officially opened in 1976, a joint effort of area residents, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the City of Vancouver, who earlier that year had approved the community-led Cooperative Association to ensure “maximum articipation in the planning and operation of the centre’s programs”.
Ray-Cam opened in 1976 as a social ecreation centre and food co-operative, and over the years has developed into a full-ledged community-run service centre. For ver 40 years, the Centre has been providing support, services, recreation, childcare for children, youth, families and seniors living Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.
Ray-Cam is operated by the Board of Directors of the independent Ray-Cam Cooperative Association and has agreements with the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board and BC Housing Management Commission.
Ray-Cam Community Association exists to raise funds to operate programs which are charitable in nature. Today, the spirit of the Mothers still lives on in Ray-Cam’s proud history of supporting families and community.
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.