Historical Characteristics of Roberts Creek... Sound Familiar?

The area now known as Roberts Creek is the traditional territory of both the First Nations of the Shishalh and Squamish. Roberts Creek is traditionally known as “Hwah-sam”,  meaning “big fat salmon.” Settlers arrived in 1889.

Gardeners

Thomas Roberts, the settler whose name the Creek now bears, built his first home in 1892. It was a well-made cedar shake cabin east of the mouth of the Creek Here he planted a garden and orchard. Roberts had been the head gardener of an estate in England. Today, Roberts Creek has the One Straw Society promoting a growing community of organic gardeners.

Self-Sufficiency

The Federal Government built the original pier (1912) but only completed it to high water mark. Beyond that was Provincial jurisdiction. However, the Provincial government refused to build the ramp onto the pier. This was too much for the settlers, and they build it themselves. Today, Roberts Creek is host to the first rural housing cooperative! We are also the only community in BC with its own Official Community Plan Commission.

Work to Survive

People made their living trapping, fishing, logging, gardening, working “away,” doing carpentry, sewing, farming; working in shake mills, the post office or store. Now the Creek is filled with home based businesses from graphic designers and writers to carpenters and auto shops.

Artists

Harry Roberts, son of Thomas, was an artist, not only with pencil and paintbrush, but also in the design of his houses and boats. Today, Roberts Creek has an array of exciting artists and artisans.

Musicians

The Roberts creek String Orchestra was formed in the late 1940’s. Enthusiasm was boundless and newcomers were carefully scrutinized to see if they showed any musical talent. Today, Roberts Creek still has a strong orchestra, and a plethora of home-grown musicians. It also attracts incredible talent from around the world.

Summer Visitors

The Union Steamship began daily commutes from Vancouver (1912-1920). Summer visitors flocked to the Creek. Many built summer cottages. Today, although we have many tourists, most of our community is permanently settled. They embrace the unique sense of community and the rural lifestyle.

The Roberts Creek School

The Roberts Creek School has been an important part of our community since 1952. Local community members raised funds and built the community-use rooms, office and gymnasium. Officially becoming a community school in 1997, as well as being the local elementary school, it also provides a much needed venue to welcome all community. We are also fortunate to have the vibrant Sun Haven Waldorf School, presently housed at Camp Douglas, and a strong home schooling group.

The Community Hall

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HISTORY OF ROBERTS CREEK COMMUNITY HALL

In 1932 the residents of Roberts Creek started a campaign to construct a building where people could gather together to play games, have dances and hold community events. Community functions were organized in an effort to raise money for the project, and many local people offered their labour for free. John Roberts, whose family was among the first Europeans to settle the area, subdivided and donated 0.22 acres of land for the community project in April, 1934, while others donated various necessary materials and labour.

Many residents of Wilson Creek also took an active part. The Elphinstone Bay (Roberts Creek) Farmers Institute became a Board of Trustees for the building. Voluntary labour and an initial donation of $100 built the sills and first floor in 1932, after which the funds were exhausted. Work remained at a standstill until it could be resumed in the fall of 1933 and everyone was pressed into service.

The new “Roberts Creek District Hall” was officially opened on May 24th, 1934. A dance was held at the opening and $140 was taken on the day. The music was supplied by Mrs. Horsley and W. Marlow, and also Elsie Steinbrunner. The opening day was recorded on film by Helen McCall, who lived and photographed on the Sunshine Coast from the 1920’s through the 1940’s (see photographs below). Admission for men to the Hall in those early days was 25c and for women it was cake or sandwiches. Music, when not donated, was supplied for $1 per hour. There were regular dances, amateur theatrical shows and talent and drama nights for all the family. The hall prospered under the management of the volunteer hall board and it was not long before a kitchen was added to the south side of the building. This was also erected by volunteer labour.

In 1944 the hall board, with considerable help from the Roberts Creek Players Club, built the stage, which was used for the first time on May 27th 1944. In 1945 a recreation club was formed for children between 10 and 18 years for 2 hours of badminton, ping pong and gym exercises at the hall. The hall board donated the cash for gym equipment and also put on a Halloween party.

Early in 1950 the title deed to the Hall was taken over by an incorporated Roberts Creek Community Hall Board under the Society Act, with Mrs. R. Hughes as its first president, Mr. R. Cummings its vice-president and Mr. W. F. Merrick its secretary. On November 18th 1957 a public meeting was held at the Roberts Creek Legion Hall to form a local community association and from that meeting the Roberts Creek Community Association (RCCA) was born. It was incorporated under the Societies Act on January 31st 1958 as a volunteer non-profit association and the first president was R. Cummings.

The hall and land was transferred to the RCCA as the successor organization to the Roberts Creek Hall Board. The key structural elements of the Hall remain the same as when it was built, with a few minor changes. The main hall area is approximately 220 sq. metres (2400 sq. ft.), with a sheet metal roof and small entry porch at the front. The traditional hipped gable roof and walls were secured through spreading four sets of steel bars in a triangular configuration across the top of the side walls and up to the roof, leaving the main floor completely open. The original steel bars supporting the roof were replaced with timber beams and support poles in 1999 as part of a facelift and necessary structural reinforcement. Again, in the spirit of its original construction, the renovations were completed by volunteer labour and donations. These measures were undertaken to ensure building safety, while preserving much of the original materials and character. New bathrooms were installed in 2003 and the kitchen porch renovated in 2013.

The Hall’s original purpose was as a place where people in Roberts Creek could gather together for games, dances and other community events and 80 years later it is still in continuous use for community events and meetings, dances and concerts, weddings and celebrations of life, and remains an important focal point for the community.

 

 The RCCA offers many services to the Roberts Creek Community. Click below to learn more:

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