It’s possible the Pioneer Drop-in Center in Slave Lake is not as well-used (or maybe well-known) among area seniors as it could be. That’s certainly the opinion of Marlene Gamble, one of the executive members of the Slave Lake Pioneers – the group that operates the center.
“A lady last week told me she’s too young,” says Gamble. “And she’s older than I am!”
The center has been in business since 1973, as a place for senior citizens to get together for social activities. The regularly-scheduled ones, at the moment, are of three types: floor curling, cribbage and eight-ball pool. There are semi-regular tournaments in the first two, and once-per month crib get-togethers in combination with a potluck supper.
There’s a kitchen, a sound system and small stage and of course the meeting space.
“We would like to have more members,” Gamble says.
Membership can’t be called onerous. It’s only $10 per annum. Anyone over 18 can be an associate (non-voting) member. Those 50 and over have voting privileges. Meetings are once per month (Thursdays) at the convenient hour of 1:00 p.m.
Otherwise, pool (eight-ball, not swimming) is at 1:00 p.m., Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays. Floor curling goes Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. Cribbage sessions are the second Thursday of the month, at 7:00 p.m. and the third Saturday of the month, also at 2:00 p.m.
The centre will also host occasional regional crib tournaments.
The center is located on 4th Ave. NE, just next to the Legion Manor. It was built in 1977, thanks to contributions from various energy companies, various government grants and local donations. Probably a little-known fact these days is that renowned architect Douglas Cardinal (recorded as ‘Doug Cardinal’ in ‘Hi-Lites of Slave Lake Pioneers’) designed the building back in 1976. Not much more is said about it, but online sources show 1976 as a pretty big year for Mr. Cardinal. In addition to the Pioneer Drop-in Center, he designed St. Mary’s Church in Red Deer, St. Albert Place and City Hall, the provincial building in Ponoka and Grande Prairie Regional College.