Cool Aid co-founder Charles Barber (right), photographed with staff in the old Emmanuel Baptist Church at Fernwood Road and Gladstone Avenue, circa 1970. (Photo contributed)

Captured in time: Cool Aid unveils photos from its 50 years of history

The photos will be on display and for sale at their Downtown Community Centre

Victoria’s Cool Aid Society is celebrating a milestone anniversary: 50 years of reaching out to its community.

To commemorate this, Cool Aid staff have dug through the archives and found 50 of their favourite photos and newspaper clippings and are putting them on display at their downtown community centre from June 14 to Aug. 10.

The photos range through the five decades, with an emphasis on the 1960s when Cool Aid began. The pictures include the long hair and shaggy beards of the days of flower power, when “hippies” were the ones trying to get the society rolling as an outreach centre for youth.

“That’s how Cool Aid became cool,” said Alan Rycroft, the organization’s community relations manager. “It was 1968 and everyone was cool then.”

The society started in the church at Fernwood and Gladstone – now the Belfry Theatre – and focused on helping youth. They also started a crisis phone line that offered help on everything from counselling in moments of personal distress, to providing information on local health offices, in the days long before the Internet.

Circa July 1967- Founders of the Cool Aid Society Laurie Smith (left), Lynn Curtis and Charles Barber. (File contributed)

Some of the founders have already seen the display.

“When we took them into the community centre, they just went straight to the walls with the photos, they just had to see them,” Rycroft said with a laugh. One of their favourites showed three of the founders standing on the roof of an old Chevy. “They were talking about how solid that roof was, I don’t think that would work now.”

Rycroft also appreciated the image, he said, as it looked like the three of them were looking forward to the future.

Undated- A glimpse of Cool Aid’s previous Street Link shelter at 1900 Fernwood Avenue (File contributed)S

The pictures will be for sale for $50 each, with contributions going to the Cool Aid Society. Artistic work from some of the society’s members will also be for sale.

The exhibit is on display at Cool Aid’s Downtown Community Centre at 755 Pandora Ave. through Aug. 10. Admission is free, but donations towards the society will be gladly accepted.

For more information you can visit coolaid.org.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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Circa July 1967- Founders of the Cool Aid Society Laurie Smith (left), Lynn Curtis and Charles Barber. (File contributed)

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