How ‘Big Pink’ evolved into something even bigger

The Alexandra Foundation can trace its beginnings to more than 120 years ago, with the opening of Alexandra House in 1891 as a Vancouver women’s and children’s hospital. The hospital was converted to an orphanage in 1984, and was later established as B.C.’s first neighbourhood house.

Alexandra House was a place of love and charm, and the start of what was to become a long heritage of service to Vancouver’s neighbourhoods through the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of B.C. (ANHBC ). Affectionately known as “Big Pink,” the house dominated the corner of 7th Ave. and Pine in Vancouver.

As a neighbourhood house, it was an active neighbourhood centre open to all families, offering programs such as a preschool daycare and providing a place for seniors to gather and meet friends. It was also used as a youth hostel in 1969 to 1971.

“Big Pink” was destroyed by a fire in 1975. But from the ashes rose an opportunity – the property was sold by ANHBC and the money was used to established The Alexandra Foundation for Neighbourhood Houses two years later.

In addition to awarding grants for neighbourhood house projects and the creation of new neighbourhood houses, the Foundation has expanded to offer bursaries and grants for children and youth. These funds have been inspired by people who have exhibited exemplary commitment to students and their education, and a passion for building stronger neighbourhoods together.

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