The Phoenix Recreation Association (PRA) has been an active part of the Headingley Community for over 50 years.
On February 19, 1966. The Phoenix Recreation Association held their first meeting with John Kilbery as President. John’s family has continued to be active board members over the years.
The objective of the association was “to promote and foster healthful recreation and such other activities as may be for the general benefit of the Community” with the main focus being on activities for children.
Membership in the association was paid by a fixed fee. Board members would canvass the community. The membership covered the whole family, which would entitle them to receive a newsletter, detailing activities and upcoming events. Your membership gave you access to participate in all the activities.
The Phoenix Community Center found its home at 153 Seekings St (previously known as Main Street). The Charleswood Municipal Council donated this land. Clearing of the lot began in September 1966. The hard-working men of Headingley worked tirelessly clearing the trees to make room for the Community Center and a skating rink. The actual building was donated and arrived in November. It became a gathering place for groups, friends and neighbors for many years. The Community Center housed the first canteen, offering penny candy, pop, chips and even hockey sticks. Volunteers staffed the canteen then as they do now.
In February 1968, three buildings were donated to be used as a change house and 2 penalty boxes. This was added onto the “chicken coops” which were already in place.
The new Phoenix Community Center was built in 1970. The facility offered a kitchen, hall, washrooms and a much needed basement.
Many programs ran out of the Phoenix Community Center, girl guides, dance, brownies, karate, nursery school, and fitness classes. It was rented out for showers, parties, family gatherings and meetings.
The basement of the Phoenix Community Center received a much-needed facelift in 1997. In 2002 upgrades were done. There were plans to rebuild the changing hut. In January 2003 the south rink was rebuilt from scratch and the north rink was replaced. A larger changing facility with canteen and spectator viewing areas were added along with a new pleasure skating and a skating path through the bush. The toboggan run was moved but remains behind the south rink. In 2016 the seating was changed to hand made wooden benches. Although some were sad to see the old seating be replaced, everyone agreed these new benches with storage were a welcome addition.
Major upgrades to the Phoenix Community Center took place in 2011. New flooring, new lighting, new bathrooms, larger storage room, a new kitchen, new carpeting in the basement, new furnaces and air conditioning.
Since the Phoenix Recreation Association was incorporated in May 1969, they have run many programs and activities for the residents of the Headingley community. Organized events and programming over the years have included Hockey, Jam Pail Curling, Movie Nights, Dance and Baton, Winter Carnival, Baseball, Softball, Figure skating, Hockey Tournaments, Ball Tournaments, Halloween Howl, Santa Breakfast, Horse Shoes, Dances, Bingo Nights, Sportball, Baseball Clinics, and so much more.
The Phoenix Hockey program continues to grow. Families who have a child registered in the Phoenix Flames Hockey Program are asked to volunteer their time at the Hockey Hutch Canteen. The canteen now offers pizza pockets, slushies and of course the very popular candy bags.
The Phoenix Flames Hockey Tournament is traditionally held in February and use to be called the Phoenix Valentines Tournament. The tournament has gained popularity among teams in and around Winnipeg.
During the tournament, the PRA has kept up the tradition of a Family Night on Friday. The community is treated to a free BBQ, fireworks and hot chocolate, giving them a chance to get together with friends and neighbors.
The Phoenix Recreation Baseball and Softball programs have been very successful, winning several championships. With the added baseball diamonds, it has allowed them to host tournaments and events.
The PRA donates and supports many groups and organizations in Headingley. They have donated to the Phoenix School Playground and Outdoor Classroom, Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, and Headingley Families Fishing Derby to name a few. In 2019, the PRA spearheaded a campaign and won one of 5 Canadian regional prizes of $20,000 in the ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge. The funds were used to purchase a new Zamboni and install extra doors on the outdoor rinks. In 2021 the PRA invested $20,000 into its very own Endowment Fund with the Headingley Community Foundation and the first $1000 Scholarship Award was given to Amber Henry in the Spring of 2022.