Access Health Centre Celebrates History & Heritage Award

Victoria – May 20, 2010 – The Access Health Centre celebrated its restored heritage building today with the mounting of a bronze plaque on 713 Johnson Street outlining the building’s history. Hallmark Society’s administrative director Helen Edwards presented the building’s owners, AIDS Vancouver Island and Victoria Cool Aid Society, with an Award of Merit for the building’s heritage restoration.

“The Hallmark Society was impressed not only by the quality of the heritage restoration,” said Helen Edwards, “but also because it was completed by non-profit partners actively engaged in improving the downtown core.” The project was managed by CitySpaces Consulting.

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“We are proud to have restored the deteriorated and underutilized building that formerly housed the bingo hall downtown,” said Andrea Langlois, AIDS Vancouver Island’s manager of communications. “Even more exciting is the fact that we are able to deliver better health and social services to many more low-income clients than in our previous cramped quarters.”

$4.4 million of the $5.3 million cost for the heritage restoration and reconstruction has been paid for by the partners, foundations, government, businesses and caring individuals. “We are still searching for a million-dollar donor to finish paying for the capital costs and help us establish a small building endowment,” said Irene Haigh-Gidora, manager of community health services for Cool Aid. “If desired, a building naming opportunity is available.”

Donations to help support the Access Health Centre’s reconstruction can be sent c/o Victoria Cool Aid Society, 102-749 Pandora Avenue, Victoria BC, V8W 1N9, 250-383-1977 or made online at

The Access Health Centre is a one-stop health and social services building downtown serving over 6,000 people struggling with homelessness, addictions and mental health issues.  Access is a joint project of the Victoria Cool Aid Society and AIDS Vancouver Island, and cost $5.3 million to reconstruct the heritage building at 713 Johnson Street. Services at the Access Health Centre include counselling, education and harm reduction, mental health, dental, pharmaceutical and primary health care for people who are homeless, poor and vulnerable.

The Cool Aid Community Health Clinic is located on the first floor, the Cool Aid Dental Clinic on the second floor, and AIDS Vancouver Island’s prevention, support, education and administrative services is on the third floor. Counsellors from Victoria Native Friendship Centre also operate out of the second floor and VIHA Mental Health & Addictions will be moving additional complementary services to the second floor in the coming months.

For more information please visit

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Helen Edwards, Administrative Director, Hallmark Society
250- 686-0788 or

Deane Strongitharm, Senior Associate, CitySpaces Consulting Ltd.
250-383-0304 x22,

Irene Haigh-Gidora, Manager of Community Health Services, Victoria Cool Aid Society
250-385-1466 or

Andrea Langlois
Manager of Communications, AIDS Vancouver Island
250-384-2366 or