The Early Years

In 1968, the Cool Aid Hostel opened its doors. Our mission was to provide short-term, emergency shelter to transient youth travelling the country. Quickly realizing the increasing local need for further shelter and holistic services, we established the “Cool Aid Free Medical Clinic” in 1970. In 1972, we launched our first dental clinic. By 1976, we united our efforts and The Victoria Cool Aid Society was formally established.

No One Should Have To Go Without Shelter

Throughout the 1980s, Cool Aid grew as one of British Columbia’s largest non-profit organizations, with an increasing focus on the development of safe, affordable housing. There was a time when Victoria’s homeless, poor, ill and addicted people returned again and again to emergency shelters in the city – they simply had nowhere else to go. Affordable housing in the 80s was drying up and large mental institutions were shutting down, leaving people with little support for getting off the street. Shelter workers were frustrated to see the cycles of homelessness unbroken, and the homeless themselves were trapped in an eviction cycle from whatever, often substandard, housing they could find.


Forty years after our initial launch, Cool Aid has developed a successful reputation by creating accessible, affordable, and alternative housing programs and holistic health services for people who need it the most.

Today we operate 14 different buildings that provide homes, shelter, health care and other services to Victoria’s most vulnerable, with three more apartment buildings on the drawing board for completion by 2018.

Cool Aid Society is an active participant in a variety of regional, provincial and national networks and organizations that work together to improve services, maximize effectiveness and influence policy. The Society is governed by an elected, community-based Board of Directors, which employs a comprehensive and open committee structure. This maximizes the input that our community can provide for Cool Aid’s various initiatives.

For information on our specific programs, explore the complete history of the Victoria Cool Aid Society from 1968 to 2008.

Our story has been over forty years in the making. Learn more about it! Watch this video: