In 1974 the former Jericho Beach Air Station Marine and Stores Building had long been abandoned and had an impending appointment with a wrecking ball. Although the building was hard to get to from the land side; through an armed guard station and other barb wire remnants of the closing military base; it was unofficially adopted by a passionate crew of dinghy sailors, including members of the UBC and Viking Sailing Clubs, who had a dream for a low cost, highly accessible, non-taxpayer funded community centre dedicated to ocean recreation for small, naturally powered craft. When the ominous wrecking ball confronted unrealized dreams the sailors took their idea to the City of Vancouver who agreed to a tentative one year agreement to see how such an entity might serve the needs of citizens in the newly created Jericho Beach Park. The Jericho Sailing Centre has been the park’s “anchor tenant” ever since.
In ’74 every window was broken, the roof leaked, there were no washrooms, showers, running water or electricity; the only power came from people with passion who had a shared vision. Volunteers dug trenches for waterlines, fixed windows; built: ramps, storage racks, washrooms, clubrooms, and removed metal and piling remnants from the beach. Four decades of consistently passionate evolution have created the world class ocean recreation facility enjoyed today by many in this city named after a prominent seafarer.
Since our humble beginnings, when we served just a few hundred people, the population of Vancouver has more than doubled and demand for naturally powered ocean recreation programs, services and facilities has increased exponentially. In 2013 more than 20,000 people from throughout the city and Metro Vancouver area, from all walks of life, from all of life’s circumstances, launched from the Jericho Sailing Centre and experienced Vancouver’s marine environment first hand.
Throughout this year the Jericho Sailing Centre Association welcomes all Vancouverites to climb on board and join us in the celebration of our city’s distinctive marine environment, seaside heritage and the unique recreational opportunities available through the Jericho Sailing Centre; Vancouver’s, Ocean Community Centre.