Cool Aid Celebrates 50 Years of Community Service

On June 10, 1968,  Cool Aid began with the installation of a youth hotline to help transient youth in need. Later that year, 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 health services, we established the “Cool Aid Free Medical Clinic” in 1970. In 1972, we launched our first dental clinic. By 1976, the Victoria Cool Aid Society was formally established.

In 2018, Cool Aid is celebrating 50 years of community service with a number of very special projects described below.

Love In

The first official Canadian “Love In” was held right here in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park back in 1967. The founders of Cool Aid Society were an integral part of this celebration, bringing together people of all ages and social stature to share music and compassion for others. As Cool Aid celebrates its 50th Anniversary in Victoria, we would like to once again create a place where all people can gather and celebrate our shared humanity. Join us on Sunday, July 22nd, from 12 to 4 pm, in Centennial Square for this family-friendly event. An afternoon of music, food, art, face painting and of course peace, love and flower power!

Homecoming Presented by Knappett Projects logo

Homecoming 50th Anniversary Gala

Saturday, May 26 was a special night of celebrating Cool Aid’s 50th Anniversary and the community’s generosity, raising over $140,000 for Cool Aid programs, featuring comfort foods with a twist and fine local beverages, live music, an auction and a chance to double donations thanks to the generosity of Andrew Beckerman and Waste Connections.

Stay tuned for details on Homecoming 2019.

Indigenous Carving

Cool Aid acknowledges and is honoured to build homes, lives and community within the traditional territories of the TEECHA

MITSA and SWENGWHUNG (Songhees) and KOSAMPSON (Esquimalt) Nations of the LEKWUNGEN and WSÁNEĆ Peoples. This 50th Anniversary year we honour our connection to Indigenous peoples. Master Carver Carey Newman who was the creator of “Dancing Wind”, featured at the 2010 Olympic Games, will mentor Cool Aid Indigenous tenant carvers in creating a public art installation. This public art installation will be created in order to showcase the artistic abilities of the First Nations population in Victoria and to thank the community for 50 years of support. The ten-foot totem carving will be placed in a highly visible public site to be viewed by locals and visitors alike and become a point of interest in the Victoria cultural landscape.

Cool Aid thanks the British Columbia Arts Council, the Government of British Columbia and master carver Carey Newman for their generous support of this project.

Outdoor Mural

In early August, a professional mural artist will paint a 40’ X 25’ mural on the side of Swift House, Cool Aid and the Province’s first supportive housing building (1991), in the downtown core, which faces the new Pandora Street bridge. The mural will be a celebration of hope and the journey toward peace for all people. As a way to give back to the community 50 years of support, this public art piece is for everyone; a form of collective community expression. As we celebrate Cool Aid’s 50th anniversary in Victoria our hope is that this mural will be a lasting testament to the importance of wrapping our arms around the most vulnerable to create a safe, welcoming environment for all.


Open Houses

On June 1st from 1:30 to 6 pm, Cool Aid Society welcomed the public to open houses at four of our 18 properties. We showcased these special programs that are such an integral part of Victoria’s solution to house and support the most vulnerable people in our community: Sandy Merriman House for women, Mount Edwards Court’s seniors housing, the Downtown Community Centre and the Community Health Centre.


Play on 50s

Cool Aid has an interesting and deep 50-year history serving the Greater Victoria region. In honour of this history we developed a project to showcase the history of Cool Aid and its accomplishments through a collection of visuals including historic photographs and posters. This project is shaped to be of interest to a broad audience of varying ages and socio-economic backgrounds. From June 14 through August 20 the Downtown Community Centre at 755 Pandora Avenue will host an exhibition with 50 historical framed photos and Cool Aid client art. Stop by the Community Centre (755 Pandora Avenue) to enjoy some of Victoria’s most unique history and don’t forget to purchase some original art or an old, framed photo when you’re there.

Pride Parade

On Sunday, July 8th, Cool Aid Society will take part in the Victoria Pride Parade and celebrate not only our 50th Anniversary, but the inclusion and empowerment of all people. Say “hi” when we make our way past you walking along with our Cool van and 50 balloons. It’s going to be a fun, creative and inspiring day!