Skwachàys Healing Lodge Opens with a Party

Healing Lodge
Randy, Healing Lodge resident
Healing Lodge Art Gallery

 Vancouver Native Housing Society held a grand opening celebration and street party for the Society’s newest project, the Skwachàys Healing Lodge at 31 West Pender Street in Vancouver.  

Terra provided development management services to the Society for the project. 

Dave Eddy, CEO of the Society and master of ceremonies referred to the Lodge as “a once in a lifetime project”.  Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing and VHNS Society President, Richard George addressed the large crowd attending the opening.  Randy, an artist who had been homeless prior to becoming a new resident of the transitional housing, also took to the podium.  Describing himself as “a starvin’, carvin’ kind of guy”, he expressed his amazement that such a project existed and delight at being able to move in. 

Skwachàys Healing Lodge is a unique concept combining a medical stay facility, an Aboriginal artist recovery program and a Fair Trade art gallery and production space. It features 24 self-contained assisted living units, 18 Healing Lodge units for Aboriginal patients and family travelling to Vancouver for medical treatment, a ground level art gallery (showcasing the works of artists in the recovery program) and a basement workshop. The building is a redevelopment of the old Pender Hotel.  It retains the front heritage façade while adding a new-build social residential facility. Reclaimed wood from the hotel has also been used throughout the new building.  The project provides a culturally appropriate environment which incorporates such amenities as a Smudge Room, a Sweat Lodge and a common lounge area.

Terra has worked with VNHS for more than a decade and is currently the development manager for the Society's newest project under construction at Broadway and Fraser Streets in Vancouver.