OUR HISTORY: Silverdale Hall: badminton, dancing, and great cooks

One of Mission's historians looks back at Silverdale Hall

The early settlers who had first started arriving in the Silverdale area in the 1850s got together in people’s homes. The first post office opened in 1891, and a general store soon afterwards.

They soon realized every community needs a gathering place, and pitched in to build their first community hall — a single room — which opened in 1914. It quickly became the social centre for the area and was used for concerts, dances, and weddings; the Protestant congregation met there on Sundays. During the war years, local women gathered at the hall to knit for the Red Cross.

Johnson Skinner is said to be responsible for naming the community: observing the sun shining through the trees and making them shine like silver, he called the place Silverdale. Many settlers were employed in the logging and mills, and most had vegetable gardens, chickens, and some farm animals.

By 1950, the community had outgrown the old building and a new community hall was built a half-mile from the old location. The present community hall on Manzer Street opened in 1951, has hosted many community events and became a meeting place for youth, families, and community groups. Badminton was popular with local youth, along with annual Halloween costume parties.

The kitchen volunteers had a reputation for being some of the best cooks around, and the hall was booked every weekend for spaghetti dinners, fundraising dances, and annual Christmas celebrations. Special events made the Silverdale Hall a stop-over, including Steve Fonyo’s run and Rick Hansen’s Miles for Millions for spinal cord research. The 60th anniversary of the hall was celebrated in April 2010.

Sharon Syrette researches and writes about the people and places of North Fraser communities. If you have comments or information about the Silverdale or other local community halls, please contact her at bethsdottir@gmail.com.