Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia (ANHBC) has a diverse and rich history of working with neighbours in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Originally founded in 1894, the Association has operated a hospital, an orphanage, a fresh-air camp, a neighbourhood house and more recently an association of seven neighbourhood houses and an outdoor centre. ANHBC is part of the neighbourhood and settlement house movement which began in the 1880 in England to address the needs of people who had moved into the cities to find work; often leaving behind their families and everything that was familiar to them. The neighbourhood/settlement house movement is credited with establishing public recreation programs, the first day nurseries for working parents, English as a second language and adult literacy classes as well as the profession of social work.
Today neighbourhood houses are hubs for local community development activities and for programs and services that address local needs; there are thousands of neighbourhood houses in more than thirty countries around the world.
Alexandra House, affectionately known as "Big Pink" because of its colour, once dominated the corner of 7th Avenue and Pine in Vancouver. It was a place filled with love and charm and the beginning of what was to become a long heritage of service to Vancouver neighbourhoods through Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia.
Alexandra House began as an orphanage in 1894, and later was established as British Columbia's first Neighbourhood House. It was an active neighbourhood centre open to all families, with programs ranging from preschool daycare to seniors dropping in to meet friends. It was also used as a youth hostel from 1969 to 1971.
In 1975, Alexandra House was destroyed by fire. The property was sold and the monies used to establish the Alexandra Foundation for Neighbourhood Houses. Today, the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC continues to care for Vancouver neighbourhoods by providing programs and services through its seven neighbourhood houses and camping/outdoor. Original artwork of Alexandra House is by Raymond Chow, who generously donated the artwork to the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC. Raymond Chow, acclaimed Canadian Artist, is best known for his drawings and paintings of Victorian buildings from Vancouver to Montreal.
Our history can be viewed below.