by Lucie Roy
The Rendez-Vous Centre 50th Anniversary was a three-day celebration with an Open House on Tuesday, Sept. 20, Wine and Cheese on Friday, Sept. 23 and a Dinner and Dance on Saturday, September 24.
On Tuesday, the Open House with complimentary coffee and goodies included a souvenir postcard, brochure on the centre and history of the Centre read by Communications Director Nancy Lalonde.
The Wine and Cheese event also recognized Life Members of the Club; Irene Trepanier, David Gervais and Alice Wojtkiw. The event had invitees from the Town and Sturgeon County, MLA, MPs and from clubs and organizations.
A heartfelt thank you was expressed to all who helped them be where they are today as they celebrate their 50th.
The Dinner and Dance featured music by the Satellites.
The Centre is a 50 + club with about 165 members who partake in a variety of activities.
Members come from Morinville, Sturgeon County and St. Albert.
Lalonde said the club got its start in 1972 when a group of area bridge players outgrew their homes as a place to meet. Needing several card tables, it was difficult to operate out of private homes.
That is when the bridge players went to town council looking for help to find a home. Lalonde said the story is they went and got a rather cool reception and the council did not take them too seriously. Apparently, they went back with their card tables, their deck of cards and sat there in council chambers playing cards to demonstrate that they needed a space.
The story may be a legend but Mayor Arthur Stapleton and the council of the day offered the card players a spot in the basement of the old town hall.
In 1973, the space was needed by the Thibault School Board, so the town and school board offered the Rendez-Vous Club an unused country schoolhouse which would be moved to a site of the club’s choice.
In exchange for giving up the space in the Town Hall this building would be installed on site free of charge and would also be made ready with plumbing, electricity, water and complete kitchen and a fresh coat of paint.
Once again the facility became too small and in 1985 a Building Committee and a Fundraising Committee was set up.
With Government grants and help from the Town and Municipality of Sturgeon a bank loan and a tremendous amount of volunteer work, the Centre was completed in 1989 at a total cost of 273,000.
Five years later the bank loan was completely paid off.
Over the years they have endeavoured to follow the example that the previous Board of Directors have set.