Contact Info

T 604.718.5800

F 604.718.5858

1661 Napier Street
Vancouver, BC V5L 4X4


Queensborough Community Centre, New Westminster

March 14, 2015

Queensborough, a centre that was renewed just a few years ago, combining their existing building with new ones, was very impressive. It’s a clever design with a lot of repurposing of old materials. It’s hard to tell where new begins and old ends. When you walk in the main door (double set of doors — no big wind blowing in every time someone enters!), you have a view down a corridor to a cosy seating alcove with a gas fireplace. Manager Renee Chadwick took us on a tour, and since she had been there for the whole renewal of their site, she had lots of valuable and relevant insights and advice for us. For example, she said they were really glad that they had, early on in their process, hired a “spatial” design architect (, Jennifer Marshall) to help them figure out what they needed. Their building philosophy was that the new centre would be for “all ages and all abilities”.

They have historical “Life on the River” murals, all painted by one artist, on several room dividers located throughout the entire site. Keeping an historical theme, the artwork ties all the parts of the building together, and unifies its look and feel. There are two splendid commercial kitchens for cooking classes, for food-preparation projects, and for groups renting space for parties or wedding receptions.

One major difference in this centre was the conscious decision not to build a dedicated seniors centre. Seniors are thus encouraged to integrate with other site programming and this approach has been really successful. 


  • There are two childcare spaces, one for-profit and one that is the community centre’s.
  • Multipurpose rooms have retractable walls to create larger rooms for special events.
  • Because the site has a groundwater table almost at the surface, they couldn’t include a swimming pool as part of the centre.
  • Beautiful murals on all movable panels, as functional art.
  • 2nd floor has a large fitness centre.
  • There is a great double-door entrance — no big wind blowing in.
  • Staff suggested that we go with commercial kitchens, not residential. The second commercial kitchen has easy access to the parking lot for loading and unloading goods.
  • Storage needs should be figured out ahead of time; every program or user needs storage.