St. David's Day Celebrations
at the Vancouver Welsh Society
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Welsh Society, will celebrate St. David's Day on March 1 at the Cambrian Hall in Vancouver which has been the centre of Welsh activities in this city for the past 80 years.
Located on East 17th Avenue near Main Street, the Cambrian Hall is owned by the Welsh Society - a unique achievement in North America as no other Welsh society can claim ownership of their own premises.
Jane Byrne has been president of the Vancouver Welsh Society for the past five years. She was born in Ystradgynlais, Wales, but has called Vancouver home for the past 47 years. She still has family living in Wales and generally visits her homeland once or twice a year.
Jane spoke to The Celtic Connection recently about the history of the Welsh in Vancouver saying, "at one time there was a huge Welsh community in Vancouver. Of course now it is becoming less and less because there are no new young people emigrating from Wales.
"The Cambrian Hall was built by members in 1929, which would have been the year of the depression, because that's when the cornerstone was laid. It must have been a real feat to build it at that time. It's really quite something that it has survived all these years."
On St. David's Day, March 1, the Vancouver Welsh Society will celebrate the occasion with a formal dinner at the Cambrian Hall.
"Our entertainment for the evening is usually more classical such as a soloist or group singing. After toasts to Wales, Canada and the Queen, we usually have community singing. It's always a fun evening.
"Last year the Welsh community was very busy as we celebrated our centenary. It was really the highlight of the year," said Byrne. "We had a grand concert at the Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby and it was a lot of work. The concert included guest soloists from Wales who joined with the Vancouver Welsh Men's Choir and the Orpheus Choir. It was a huge success and sold out."
St. David's Day celebrations at the Cambrian Hall are always well attended by the membership of the Welsh Society and Jane Byrne said the public is always very welcome to join them. They can obtain tickets by calling Gaynor Evans at (604) 271-3134.
The Cambrian Hall is located at 215 East 17th Avenue in Vancouver. For more information about Welsh Society activities call (604) 876-2815, or visit: www.welshsociety.com.