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Kerby Centre History

For nearly 50 years, Kerby Centre has been a place where seniors made friends, built community, learned, exercised, and sought resources. A place where “whole health” is the foundation of service and where aging is honoured.

Kerby Centre is a not-for-profit organization with programs and services in Calgary and Medicine Hat. Kerby Centre is committed to enhancing the ability of older adults 50+ to live healthy, productive lives with a focus on their mental, physical, social and emotional well-being.

Unison History
About our founder

In 1973, Patricia Allen founded Kerby Centre — a vision born from a life-long dedication to improving the quality of life for seniors.

Originally hailing from Toronto, Allen earned degrees from the University of Toronto and McGill before making her way westward to Calgary where she was the first graduate from the University of Calgary’s Master of Social Work program in 1969.

Unison History

While attending a retirement planning workshop as part of her graduate studies, Allen noted many seniors were not making decisions for themselves and sought to include them in policy decisions that were affecting them: ‘Nothing about us, without us’ became the slogan which came to define Kerby Centre’s core mission.


Beginning in the basement in the Central United Church in Calgary, Kerby Centre evolved considerably during Allen’s tenure, growing to include an array of services, which included the Adult Day Program, a grocery delivery service for isolated seniors, the Kerby News — which Allen saw as a tool to both inform and act as a voice for seniors — an income tax filing service, and a wellness clinic.

Unison History

In addition, Allen organized a federally funded demonstration project to address violence in older families, which led to the construction of the Kerby Shelter for senior men and women, the first of its kind in Canada.


Allen was the recipient of many awards during her lifetime, including the City of Calgary Grant MacEwan Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003; the Women of Distinction Award in 2003; Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005; two Paul J. Harris Fellowships given by the Rotary Foundation; and the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Kerby Centre 50 Stories

Discover Kerby Centre: 50 Years of Serving Seniors

Kerby Jubilee Storie..

Dec 24, 2023

Kerby Centre has served our community for 50 years, and to celebrate, our writer Andrew McCutcheon h..

A Finale; Part One

Dec 17, 2023

Fifty years. Fifty stories.

Santa’s coming to to..

Dec 10, 2023

Fifty years of Kerby Centre means we’ve had 50 years of holidays.

Common ground

Dec 03, 2023

It’s hard being a senior, sometimes.

Close to your heart

Nov 26, 2023

It’s no surprise that the folks at the Kerby Centre keep seniors close to our hearts.

Equivalent Exchange

Nov 12, 2023

You can’t get something from nothing. That’s just a law of the universe.

Perfect partners

Nov 05, 2023

We’re getting closer to the end of our journey here: 50 stories for 50 weeks, celebrating our 50th a..


Oct 29, 2023

In telling all the stories from our half-century of existence, I’ve looked at a lot of old photos.

How We Adapt

Oct 22, 2023

Throughout history, the one thing that’s kept humanity moving in a positive direction is our adaptab..

Active Aging with Ax..

Oct 08, 2023

For the past few years, we’ve been doing more adventurous activities for Active Aging week.

Chatting with the Bo..

Oct 02, 2023

We’re working on a story a week, every week, for a year celebrating our 50th anniversary. We’ve cele..

A Roof over our Head..

Oct 01, 2023

Every week I remind readers in each new story about our final goal: trying to answer the question: “..

When Kerby Met Veine..

Sep 24, 2023

Reverend George Kerby and former Medicine Hat Mayor Harry Veiner were very different people.

Golf Tournament

Sep 17, 2023

In 50 years of history, Kerby Centre has hosted a lot of fundraising events.

Patricia Allen (Part..

Sep 10, 2023

Last week, we started our story about Patricia “Pat” Allen, one of the most instrumental figures in ..

Patricia Allen (Part..

Sep 03, 2023

“Nothing about us, without us”

Kerby Sensations

Aug 27, 2023

There’s nothing quite like live music.

Who are our Seniors?

Aug 20, 2023

One of the big things we had to do when we rebranded our organization to become Unison, Generations ..

One Hundred and Elev..

Aug 13, 2023

50 years of history is a long, long time.

Kerby Centre Timelin..

Aug 06, 2023

For everyone of our major milestones, the Kerby Centre and Kerby News has put together a massive tim..

Cribbage Tournament

Jul 30, 2023

Kerby Centre has hosted an overwhelming number of programs and events in it’s 50-year history.

Scientia potentia es..

Jul 23, 2023

The phrase “Knowledge is Power” needs to be updated for the current century.

Between the pages of..

Jul 16, 2023

Look, I’ll admit I’m biased.

Halfway There!

Jul 15, 2023

We’re halfway through our 50 stories! Here’s a quick message from our Communications Specialist, And..

Where were we in 197..

Jul 09, 2023

Nostalgia is a picky thing.

Remembering Kerby’s ..

Jul 03, 2023

Less than a year ago, years of hard work culminated in a rebranding campaign for Kerby Centre.

How ADP came to be

Jun 25, 2023

Even the most dyed-in-the-wool Kerby Centre members or volunteers might not know everything our orga..

A Day in the Life at..

Jun 18, 2023

12:00 P.M.

A Day in the Life at..

Jun 11, 2023

8:00 A.M. -ish.

Bits and Bobs at Ker..

May 28, 2023

In 50 years of history, we have a lot of stories about the Kerby Centre and the work we’ve done in o..

The Wisest of Wise O..

May 22, 2023

When we ask the question, as we do every week in this column, of what exactly the Kerby Centre is, a..

Taking a trip throug..

May 14, 2023

If you didn’t get the chance to check out our 2023 Seniors’ Expo, we have an awesome video checking ..

The History of Senio..

May 07, 2023

One of the most vital services Kerby Centre has provided in its 50-year history is our incredible in..

Appreciation of our ..

Apr 30, 2023

The Frontlines

Apr 23, 2023

We continue on our weekly journey — in honour of our 50th anniversary — to answer the question: what..

Kerby’s 50-year Hist..

Apr 10, 2023

In our weekly quest this year, celebrating Kerby’s 50th anniversary, we’re aiming to answer the ques..

Staying on point wit..

Apr 04, 2023

We’re constantly asking the question, every week, what exactly is Kerby Centre?

Unison Alberta Premi..

Apr 02, 2023

A Legacy of Safety; ..

Mar 26, 2023

Kerby Centre has a lot of accomplishments under our belt in our storied 50 year history.

Making connections w..

Mar 19, 2023

If the past few years have taught us anything — here in Alberta at Unison and the world over — it’s ..

Threads of Fate

Mar 12, 2023

This is a special story.

Active Aging’s Aditi

Mar 05, 2023

Every employee contributes to the success of the whole when it comes to Unison and Kerby Centre; and..

Kerby Family History..

Feb 26, 2023

A Hidden History of Aviation

Kerby Family History..

Feb 19, 2023

Last week, we dug into the history of George William Kerby, the namesake for the Kerby Building and ..

Kerby Family History..

Feb 12, 2023

We’re still on our weekly mission to answer the question: “what is Kerby Centre?” in honour of its 5..

Robbie Burns Day

Feb 05, 2023

Unison’s Kerby Centre held a fantastic event for Robbie Burns day on January 25th. We celebrated the..


Jan 29, 2023

In 50 years of Kerby Centre, we have helped so many seniors through rough times and difficult issues..

Origins of the Centr..

Jan 22, 2023

Kerby Centre is celebrating its 50th anniversary; five incredible decades of serving the seniors of ..


Jan 15, 2023

John Gagnon is a well-known presence at the Kerby Centre.


Jan 08, 2023

Where do we begin.

Veiner Centre History

Council meating

Written by Gillian Slade on August 28, 2020 and published in the Medicine Hat News

It has been 45 years since the first vision of the Veiner Centre emerged.

At a council meeting in October 1973, Mayor Harry Veiner offered an acre of land for the development of a senior citizens’ recreation facility.

In March 1974 an architectural drawing was approved by city council.

“The Veiner Centre is needed now,” reads a news story from the time. “It will be needed in the future. It should be built as a service to senior citizens who have made their contributions to the community’s growth and development and well-being.”
The province had covered 80% of the cost and the city chipped in the other 20%.

“Medicine Hat was very lucky. In the past 3 years seniors have been top priority with the provincial government,” said Bill Wyse, who in February 1977 was coordinator of Medicine Hat senior citizens services.

The Veiner Centre — open 7 days a week — was known as a “multi-purpose social service and cultural drop-in and information facility” available to all residents more than 50 years old.

Council meating

There was a housing registry to assist seniors in finding affordable accommodation — a concept passed by city council in February 1977.

There was home help support and minor maintenance services for those over 60 or who had a disability. Services included lawn mowing, hedge trimming and shoveling snow.

You could take courses there in sewing, jewelry making, defensive driving, banking, cooking, fitness, art, wills and estate planning, woodworking, candle making, gift wrapping, income tax, home repairs, public speaking, needlework and basketry.

A loved one could be brought to the Veiner Centre for a hot meal in a safe environment allowing the caregiver some respite.

Mary Anne Jablonski, the provincial minister for seniors, visited in January 2010. She learned of how use of the fitness centre had increased by 247 per cent in four years. Local doctors had started suggesting that those recovering from hip and knee replacement surgery join the Veiner Centre to benefit from its fitness centre. There were 1,732 members in 2009.

Council meating

In addition to Meals on Wheels there was also a program called Wheels to Meals. Volunteers provided rides to seniors — who seldom left home — for a midday banquet at the Veiner Centre about once a month. Hundreds of people attended not only enjoying the meal but the vital socialization and informal entertainment.

The 2013 flood damage to the building resulted in drastic changes.

Land Acknowledgement

Land Acknowledgement: Treaty 7 Territory Land Acknowledgement

In the spirit of respect, reconciliation and truth, we honour and acknowledge Moh’kinsstis, and the Treaty 7 territory on which we stand. This land belongs to the various nations of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, as well as the Îyâxe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations. We acknowledge that this territory is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. Finally, we recognize that our work also reaches also to the lands belonging to the Cree, Sioux, and the Saulteaux bands of the Ojibwa in southeast Alberta.

This sacred gathering place provides us with an opportunity to engage in and demonstrate leadership on reconciliation.

Annual Reports

Unison team 2023
$ 0 K

worth of food we gave to Seniors in 2023


tax returns filed for low income seniors

0 K

volunteer hours in 2023


Charitable Number: 11897-9947-RR0001
All donations over $20.00 will receive a tax receipt.

Download Annual Report
MicrosoftTeams-image (9)

volunteer hours between Jan 1 - July 1, 2022


tax returns filed from Oct 2021 - Apr 2022


lbs of rescued food donated to food programs in 2021


Charitable Number: 11897-9947-RR0001
All donations over $20.00 will receive a tax receipt.

Download Annual Report
MicrosoftTeams-image (8)
0 K
Kilograms of food were diverted from landfill through our program.
$ 0 K

Our Give the Gift holiday Campaign raised
for low-income seniors

0 K
volunteer hours in 2021

Charitable Number: 11897-9947-RR0001
All donations over $20.00 will receive a tax receipt.

Download Annual Report
MicrosoftTeams-image (6)
0 K

Volunteer hours in 2020


participants of the Zoom classes


Frozen meals delivered to vulnerable older adults


Charitable Number: 11897-9947-RR0001
All donations over $20.00 will receive a tax receipt.

Download Annual Report
MicrosoftTeams-image (5)

People welcomed Kerby Centre ’s annual Stampede Breakfast in July, 2019

0 K

volunteer hours in 2019


Christmas gifts delivered in 2019


Charitable Number: 11897-9947-RR0001
All donations over $20.00 will receive a tax receipt.

Download Annual Report
MicrosoftTeams-image (4)
0 K

Hours our volunteers contributed in 2018


Attendees who took part in The Kerby Expo in September 2018

$ 0
Our team raised in the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon

Charitable Number: 11897-9947-RR0001
All donations over $20.00 will receive a tax receipt.

Download Annual Report