History

About Kerby Centre

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.

Located in the heart of Calgary, Kerby Centre is a not-for-profit, multi-service organization committed to enhancing the ability of older adults 55+ to live healthy, productive lives with a focus on their mental, physical, social and emotional well-being.

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.

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, 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.

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.

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.

Our Vision

A happy, healthy senior population.

Our Mission

To assist older people to live as well as possible, for as long as possible, as residents in the community.