(Contributed) The cast of the Maple Ridge Glee Club on stage in the Hammond Hall for a performance of Flora Dora in the 1920s.

Looking Back: In earlier days, the community hall was the place to rock out

Tradition in Maple Ridge continued until the 1960s

By Shea Henry


Today, we can find and hear music in every aspect of our lives. We have it on our morning commutes, in movies, in stores, at restaurants, and even on the occasional bus. But music was not always so easy to get. In the early settler years, there were just a few ways to hear music.

You could hear the church organ or piano, but that was just on Sundays. And, after about 1900, you could purchase a gramophone and records – but both were expensive and difficult to get. You could also make your own music if you had your own instruments, which, like the gramophone, were expensive and hard to get. If you had your own instrument, and could play it (even badly) you would be roped into a local band to play at events, community gatherings and the local community hall.

For about 100 years of Maple Ridge history, the place to be on a Saturday night was the local community hall for music night. When people had their own instrument that was transportable, they would become part of a local band to play at any one of the local halls throughout Maple Ridge.

Even by the 1960s, the community halls were still the place to be for local music. Local bands like Bud Webb and the Outriders, the Nocturnals, The Harmony Boys, The Merrymakers, and so many more, all got their start playing at these local halls.

Each neighbourhood had its own community hall, which would often be built not long after settlement. In those early years, the hall was an important part of any community. It was a place where people could gather and socialize and share culture. Theatre troupes, both local and travelling, could perform. The halls could even become arenas for indoor sports like wrestling and gymnastics. They were an integral part to the well-being and culture of each community they served.

In Port Haney, the first municipal hall was built by local residents in 1892 as a venue for dances, performances of various kinds, and an agricultural fair. It wasn’t until many years later that it was sold to the municipality which held council meetings on the stage.

Several of these old halls are still standing.

Sampo Hall in Websters Corners was built in 1915 and would serve the community as a cultural space until 1984 when it was sold. The owners kept up the old building until their deaths. The hall still stands as a reminder of the strong community ties it represents, but is currently vacant and in need of upkeep.

Other still standing heritage community halls include the Ruskin Hall, built in 1924 after a fire destroyed the previous hall, and Thornhill hall built in 1961.

Gone but not forgotten are the original Albion hall (1923-2011), Hammond Hall (1921-1971), Japanese Hall in Whonnock (1926- 1947), Reedsdale Hall (1926-1988), and the first Whonnock Community Hall (1912-1977). Many of these spaces have been replaced by larger community centres, which continue to serve their communities in much the same way as their early counterparts.

Learn more about the history of music in Maple Ridge by visiting the Maple Ridge Museum and checking out the temporary exhibit Sounds Like History: Local Bands and Musicians of Maple Ridge Past on now through February 2020.

Shea Henry is curator at the Maple Ridge Museum and Archives.

Just Posted

First two days of advance voting up 25 per cent

Polls busy including Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge

Council wants more details on Maple Ridge transport plan

Wants clarification from TransLink on roads, mass transit

Premier in Maple Ridge for new school announcement

Horgan at new school opening, announces funding to buy new site

Knights junior bantams move into first place

Ridge Meadows gets huge 62-0 win over Chilliwack Giants

BEING YOUNG: Holiday jobs key for many youth

Young people have much to offer employers, even on a part-time basis

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

$100,000 reward for B.C. gangster extended to United States

Police belive fugitive Conor D’Monte may be in the Los Angeles area

Emily Carr University closed Sunday after fire causes some damage

The school is working with Vancouver police to assist their investigation into the fire

Most Read