United Services Centre

In 1943, a United Services Centre was established at 636 Burrard Street, where there is a park, today, between Park Place office tower and Christ Church Cathedral; across from Burrard Skytrain Station.*

The following excerpt from a historical report to the Rotary Club of Vancouver was presented in 2007 by Lorna Persson (see here for her complete report):

A United Services Centre was set up by the Rotary Club of Vancouver and was used as a recreation centre for men and women in the Armed forces on leave in Vancouver. The Rotary Ann’s (as we were called at that time) helped at the Centre as hostesses in the library, cloakrooms, and canteen. They worked long hours, as it was extremely busy serving 1,000 meals a day. The workers dressed in white and always looked crisp and fresh. The food was attractively served and very reasonably priced. Games, billiards, ping pong, and dancing [took] place in the evenings – to say nothing of the Wurlitzer which could fill your ears with music any hour of the day, along with a player piano.

The United Services Centre served over 1,000,000 service men and women who enjoyed its hospitality and recreation…. After the war the building was turned over to the New Veterans Branch of the Canadian Legion.

A slideshow appears below of CVA images, principally from the year of the Centre’s opening. There is also an image of Dal Richards playing the United Services Centre in this earlier-posted slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*Note: Adjacent to the Centre  – and sharing the space now occupied by the park – was another WWII-related building for the P.C.P.C/A.R.P. headquarters; in case that acronym is as opaque to you as it was to me, it stands for Provincial Civilian Protection Committee/Air Raid Precautions. This group was responsible for coordinating local blackout conditions and other homefront-related protection measures.

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