Preserving a community gathering space

Thorsby Community Hall a busy, bustling hub

Sitting proudly near the heart of town, the Thorsby and District Community Centre is a quiet mainstay of the close-knit community. A home to a wide variety of events, the building holds many happy memories for those who have visited it. Personally, I can remember being a little girl, shyly hiding out in the warm wood paneled cloak room, sliding the full length of the dance floor in my stocking feet, my first tenor saxophone solo in “Caravan” at the high school band’s dinner and auction, transforming the upstairs for Christmas masses, cutting innumerable slices of pie for the annual Catholic smorg, and making my sister cry at her wedding. Ask anyone from the Thorsby area and they will surely regale you their own recollections from “The Hall.”

Built in the mid-1950s, the hall has undergone a number of transformations over its lifetime. It boasts beautiful original woodwork crafted by Bronislaw “Bronek” Zolkiewski, as well as modern amenities. Substantial renovations were completed in 1996, adding the current entry area, assessable restroom facilities, a lift to allow those with mobility limitations to use the facility, the mezzanine area, and extensive kitchen modernizations. One of the unique features of the hall is two-floor design. The downstairs has a fixed table banquet space that seats nearly 200 people with easy access to the kitchen. Upstairs, a flexible open space can be found, suitable for everything from weddings to funerals to play school fundraisers to movie nights – really, anything you can think of.

The Thorsby and District Historical and Cultural Society took over the running of the community centre in early 2015 and have continued to make upgrades to the building. Recently, they installed new commercial convection ovens in the kitchen, replaced the countertop on the buffet table in the basement, and are looking into a number of other upgrades that will continue to make the hall an attractive location for events.

But maintaining a versatile facility such as the community centre does not come easily. The historical society hosts events that help ensure this facility keeps its glory for years to come. Many will recall the great success of the Ukrainian Malanka held in January, which helps support the maintenance of the hall along with supporting other causes within and around Thorsby. Pancake breakfasts are great opportunities to support the hall and catch up with friends.

We will be hosting our next one on Saturday, May 19 (May long weekend). Saturday, May 5, brings the 4th Annual Thorsby Craft and Trade Show that will overtake the hall and its grounds, bringing in vendors as diverse as Martin Deerline, Devon Chevrolet, Sunnybrook Hill Orchards, Tupperware, Epicure, homemade crafts, handmade soap, and much more. The Craft and Trade Show will also feature Irene Pawlyk’s famous homemade perogies (while supplies last) and a 50/50 draw. Finally, on Saturday, October 13, we will be hosting a duelling pianos evening for which details are still being confirmed.

The community centre is an important institution for the Thorsby district. The historical society hopes to preserve the history and physical integrity of the hall in order to allow future generations to make their own memories there. We hope to see many out to the upcoming Trade and Craft Show, along with all the other wonderful events being held in the hall. For more information about booking the Hall, please visit ttcahs.yolasite.com.

-Amissa Jablonski, Thorsby and District Historical and Cultural Society

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