(Rendering of the now complete building/Craigflower Community Centre)

Ever since the Holyrood House was torn down in Victoria back in the 90s, a hole has been left in the Scottish and Celtic community of Greater Victoria.

Jim Maxwell, president of the Victoria Highland Games Association (VHGA), has been working to establish a new gathering place for his community for over 20 years now and this week, his efforts are coming to fruition. 

The Craigflower Community & Performing Arts Centre is located on the same property as the Craigflower Manor on the corner of Admirals and the Island Highway. It is a national and provincial historic and protected site that has deep Scottish roots.

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“It’s been a 20 year journey,” Maxwell told Victoria Buzz. “The first years were just about establishing our organization [the VHGA] and getting ourselves financially stable and relevant in the community.”

Once he had the VHGA established and stable, Maxwell and his compatriots took over the management of the Craigflower property, which houses the Manor, a historic schoolhouse and now the Celtic and Scottish-centric community centre.

“For the last four years we’ve been doing all the design and the fundraising and now we’re here and we’re opening this week,” said Maxwell.

The building was designed with intention and purpose to resemble traditional Scottish roundhouses and incorporates a Celtic knot as the focal point of the circular main chamber.

(Early construction photo depicting Celtic know ceiling design/Craigflower Community Centre)
(Early construction photo depicting Celtic know ceiling design/Craigflower Community Centre)

There are several satellite rooms that surround the main room meant for gathering, cooking and holding several types of events. 

The events that are held won’t just be for the Scottish and Celtic communities though—Maxwell said that he looks forward to everyone in the community being able to use the space and gather there. 

“We’ll be working with community groups and individuals who want to put some programming together, but we’re going to do it on a slow basis to allow us to adjust to our new building and make sure that all our events are high quality,” Maxwell told Victoria Buzz.

In the building’s future it will be host to many diverse events and celebrations such as weddings, Robbie Burns Dinners, yoga classes, bagpiping group practices, birthday parties and more. 

“I’m getting lots of calls now about booking the space because it’s quite a beautiful building that’s located on a beautiful site in the middle of Greater Victoria,” Maxwell told Victoria Buzz.

Ground broke on the project in July 2021 with an estimated completion date of November 2022. Due to certain setbacks, the project has only been completed this week, with a grand opening scheduled for this Thursday. 

The official opening of the centre is this Thursday, January 19th.

“The price [of construction] went up over the three years of construction but we were very fortunate,” said Maxwell.

“Various levels of government provided us with infrastructure funding, our association put in a significant amount of money and then we had a lot of private donations.”

“So the total building all in was in the $5 million range, which we have raised the money to pay for, but we are still fundraising to do landscaping on the property and furnish the building.”

Donations to help flesh out the Craigflower Community & Performing Arts Centre can be made here

Additionally, the VHGA is selling brick dedications to donors that will be organized in a Celtic knot design on the steps leading up to the centre for all to see.

(Craigflower Community Centre)

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