Intercultural Centre Brings Together Diverse Communities

It was heartbreaking for the neighbourhood in 2010 when McCauley School was closed soon after Sacred Heart School closed. But in 2014, the former school found new life as the Edmonton Intercultural Centre (EIC) and McCauley residents discovered a new asset in their community.

The McCauley neighbourhood doesn’t have one central meeting place, but the EIC is quickly emerging as the go-to place to meet and make connections for area residents.

For example, the McCauley Community League has held several community meetings in the gym, the Our McCauley initiative holds its monthly intercultural connection events in the lunchroom, and area residents regularly play basketball in the gym.

Residents and neighbourhood organizations take advantage of the diverse spaces at the Centre – gym, lunchroom, former library, classrooms, and reasonable rates for short-term bookings for recreational activities, community meetings and private functions. Many McCauley parents have enrolled their children in the excellent childcare located in the building.

Just as important, the presence of the Centre in our neighbourhood is a catalyst for increasing efforts to bring the diverse residents in McCauley together in celebration and friendship. Our neighbourhood’s involvement in the Centre is also helping in the evolution of the Centre’s intercultural operating model.

The former school building is still owned by the Public School Board, but it’s managed by the City which in turn entrusted the day-to-day running to a non-profit board. The City provides ongoing supports and an annual $150,000 grant to help cover the costs of operating the building, which was built in 1911.

Currently there are nine member tenants and many user groups who book space on weeknights and weekends. The tenants are non-profit organizations, including the Centre for Race and Culture, Creating Hope, the Multicultural Health Brokers, and the Edmonton Multicultural Coalition.

On any given day, organizations and community members from about 20 diverse ethnocultural communities use the building. In 2017, over 73,000 people used common space rentals at the Centre, which generated about $60,000 in revenue.

Consider attending the EIC Annual Meeting on September 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Centre. Better yet, think about adding another community voice by becoming a board member. Please RSVP to Rose at edmontoninterculturalcentre@gmail.com.

Phil is a McCauley resident and President of the Edmonton Intercultural Centre.

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