CASTLEGAR — Castlegar celebrated the opening of its new women’s centre on Friday, dedicating the space to the local woman who died in the London terror attack and inspired the world.
Chrissy’s Place, dedicated to Chrissy Archibald, is located at 1007 2nd St. and run by the Castlegar &District Community Services Society (CDCSS). The organization hosted a grand opening for the centre on Friday and Chrissy’s parents were in attendance to thank CDCSS staff and everyone who has contributed to the organization.
“Chrissy was interested in women’s care and hoped that at some point in her social work career that she would be able to work in this field,” said her father, Gregory Archibald. “Our thanks to Kristein Johnson, Loui Parsons and all of the people who have made donations to Castlegar &District Community Services.”
Loui Parsons, activities coordinator for Chrissy’s Place, spoke to the example set by Chrissy.
“This tribute is being made in Chrissy’s memory for her kindness and desire to have a community that serves. As a result we now have a safe, welcoming place for women. Chrissy was a humanitarian; it is required of us all to give, to serve, to volunteer and to empower each other,” said Parsons.
She explained that Chrissy’s Place offers wholesome, free breakfasts every Tuesday at 9 a.m., a variety of programs to enhance well being and a sense of community.
The ceremony opened with a blessing from Métis Elder Gerry Rempel and a group singing a song that Rempel said “was a strong women song. Thought that would be appropriate today.”
There were also politicians on hand for the opening.
Coun. Deb McIntosh spoke on behalf of the City of Castlegar.
“On behalf of Mayor Chernoff and my colleagues at City Hall, I can’t begin to tell you how important it is that we have women’s services in town,” she said. “The fact [is] that Community Services has been around for so long and that they are the backbone of services in the community of greater Castlegar. They continually bring things forward, they continually do things to help people. And this women’s centre is just one more thing that will help make a better community, a healthier community, for everyone.”
Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy spoke not only behalf of the provincial NDP government, but also on behalf of MP Richard Cannings, who was unable to attend.
“How very good and appropriate is it that Castlegar’s newest women’s centre should be called Chrissy’s Place,” Conroy read on Cannings’ behalf. “What finer way could there be to honour a woman who made it her life’s work to help people. How fitting, and I hope comforting, that her family and friends can look to the centre and see Chrissy’s inspiration at work in their own community for years to come.”
On behalf of the provincial NDP, she said, “When I was telling [John Horgan] about it, he just said how appropriate this is, that the community services have done so much, as Deb said, in our community. They’ve been here for … 35 years. So 35 years they’ve been providing services and they finally have a women’s centre in Castlegar. It’s just so appropriate, and to have it named after Chrissy is even more appropriate.”
Following the speeches, Chrissy’s mother Barb Archibald cut the ribbon in front of the center and then people were invited upstairs for a tour.
The event also included food, a silent auction, door prizes and face painting.
An added bonus for the day was a $5,000 donation to the women’s centre from the Just Dance Festival.
Joanne Robbins and Edena Brown started the festival seven years ago for Kootenay dancers and their families. Over the years they had approximately 1,000 dancers from Nakusp, Nelson, Trail, Rossland, Grand Forks, Cranbrook, Kimberly and Castlegar participate.
The festival has now been retired and they wanted to contribute Just Dance’s leftover funds to the community.
“We wanted to kind of contribute in a small way to the world-wide movement that had happened about Chrissy sent me and certainly being here in her hometown it was pretty to nice to be able to find something that even had her name on it,” explained Brown.
The donation was made on behalf of the dancers and their families.