Kerby Centre History

Kerby Centre’s Founder – Patricia Allen

In 1973, Patricia Allen founded the 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.

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 the Kerby Centre’s core mission.

Beginning in the basement in the Central United Church in Calgary, the Kerby Centre evolved considerably during Allen’s tenure, growing to include an array of services, 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 (now called the Diana James Wellness Clinic.)

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

Along with her husband Grant, the pair worked diligently for years to restore a 1912 Mount Royal home to its original condition, traveled extensively all over the world, visiting every continent, and spent time with their two daughters, Susan and Deborah, and toy poodles.

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 Queen`s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

How We Got Our Name


The building called Kerby Centre began life as the original campus for Mount Royal College.

Once Mount Royal College moved to the Lincoln Park Campus, this building at 1133 – 7 Avenue S.W. was named the Kerby Memorial Building to honour the founder of Mount Royal College, Dr. George William Kerby.  Seniors began using the building and calling it Kerby Centre and hence the organization was named.

For information on Dr. George William Kerby, see the following link from the Calgary Public Library website History of Rev. Dr. George Kerby.

Please note, in the photo of Dr. Kerby’s residence on the Calgary Public Library website, the building behind Dr. Kerby’s residence is the building currently being used for Kerby Centre.  Dr. Kerby was literally surrounded by his work!