The Club isn’t exactly the bar in the old TV sitcom Cheers. But the Port Moody space for adults 50 and older has the same comfy, familiar vibe thanks to cozy furniture, affordable food and affable seniors who greet one another by name, warmly and with affection.
OK, perhaps, there is a bit of teasing when Fred Soofi, responsible for bringing the burgers to the barbecue for a spring feast on the new patio, is chided in jest that the lowly hot dog, not just his own hand-formed burgers, will be on the menu.
Meanwhile, Wayne Borthwick gives Gerry Nuttall a tip on folding his collar outside his shirt before a photo shoot and there is generally a celebratory air about the place that has only been open in Port Moody since last fall.
Couples and singles wander in, greet one another, and if The Club isn’t a second home for many Port Moody residents living in the Inlet Centre area, it should be.
“The idea is we want this to be a fun place,” said Nuttall, who was one of the founding members of the Port Moody Seniors Friendship Society.
People are encouraged to participate by volunteering or suggesting activities, and there is a large variety of events people can attend, no matter what their income, mobility level or interest.
“People are often isolated and the idea is to bring them back to the community,” Nuttall said.
Indeed, it appears the philosophy has paid off with more than 100 members since the club opened last year with support from Metro Vancouver, which allows the use of what was once a dining room at the Alex Graham Manor (the enhance is beside the door to Crossroads Hospice) rent free, and $28,000 in start-up funds from the city Port Moody and $35,000 in annual operating grants.
Recently, the society received a $10,000 provincial grant to upgrade the patio, resulting in an outdoor space decked out in planters and red and white in time for Canada Day.
“This wasn’t a very usable space before,” Nuttall said, but now the patio looks like an urban getaway, with red blankets slung over chairs in case a visitor gets cold.
There are card tournaments, trivia nights and day trips. What’s more, you can get coffee for $1 and a refill for free.
All good reasons to raise a cup and say, “Cheers.”
For more information about The Club, including upcoming events, visit theclubportmoody.com. Note: You don’t have to be a member to visit the 50-plus venue.