Scottish community centre set to open this fall in View Royal

Jim Maxwell, president of the Victoria Highland Games Association and Ian Booth, president of the Victoria Scottish Community Centre Society stand inside the under-construction Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre on March 31. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)Jim Maxwell, president of the Victoria Highland Games Association and Ian Booth, president of the Victoria Scottish Community Centre Society stand inside the under-construction Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre on March 31. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
A series of renderings show what the Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre is set to look like once it opens this fall. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Highland Games Association)A series of renderings show what the Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre is set to look like once it opens this fall. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Highland Games Association)
The Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre in View Royal features a unique round design with wooden beams arranged in the centre to resemble a Celtic knot. The centre is expected to open in September should construction continue as planned. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)The Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre in View Royal features a unique round design with wooden beams arranged in the centre to resemble a Celtic knot. The centre is expected to open in September should construction continue as planned. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
The Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre in View Royal features a unique round design. The centre is expected to open in September should construction continue as planned. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)The Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre in View Royal features a unique round design. The centre is expected to open in September should construction continue as planned. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)
An aerial photo shows the Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre under construction in March. It is expected to open in September. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Highland Games Association)An aerial photo shows the Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre under construction in March. It is expected to open in September. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Highland Games Association)

Before the end of the year, View Royal residents and community organizations will be able to take advantage of a state-of-the art community centre, courtesy of the Victoria Highland Games Association.

The Craigflower Community and Performing Arts Centre is under construction and association president Jim Maxwell said it will be complete by the end of August and open to the public in September if all continues to go well.

“It’s extremely exciting, the whole group is looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a lot of work getting it together and it will be a lot of work operating it, but it is such a spectacular site.”

READ MORE: Highland Games calls in the cavalry for spring return to Victoria park

Construction on the 10,000-square-foot, $4.37-million building began in summer 2021, and despite the challenges of construction during the pandemic, the project is only slightly behind its original schedule, Maxwell said. Features include a large common area, plenty of washrooms, a kitchen, greenroom, meeting room, storage spaces and an outdoor amphitheatre.

The design is unique and specially chosen by the association to reflect historical Scottish architecture. The entire structure is a single-story circle featuring massive exposed wood beams arranged similarly to a Celtic knot in the centre of the building.

The exterior is to be clad in stone, with large windows facing the historic Craigflower Manor next door.

Opposing windows offer views of the water, and the entire building is slightly sunk into the earth so as not to completely disrupt views of the manor from the street.

“We wanted something that complimented Craigflower Manor, so the architects looked back at traditional Scottish buildings, and there were a lot of round buildings,” Maxwell said. “It has a spectacular look to it.”

The project is a result of the association’s successful 2012 pitch to the province on what to do with the property. Maxwell, association president over 20 years, said it also reflects the association’s growth.

What was once a small organization with a few volunteer members is now much larger, though still volunteer-run. Its annual Highland Games and Celtic Festival is now the largest of its kind in Western Canada.

The community centre property at the corner of Island Highway and Admirals Road has been used by the association for events for many years, including as a temporary home for the games earlier in the pandemic.

“With this building, we will just expand on this property as an attractive place to host activities,” Maxwell said. “Our association will be hosting regular events, things like dances and Burns dinners there … but it will also be available for use by the public. We already have lots of inquiries.”

For more information on the project, or to make a donation to support the association, visit craigflowercommunitycentre.com.

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