General News · 24th October 2011
Samantha and I dropped in to the Coop Café on Saturday evening to listen to the Merry Mckenty’s fine fiddle music. What a nice scene it was in there! It was a pleasant surprise to see a comfortable crowd made up of young and older folks, some with well established names on Cortes and some “Who’s that sitting over there?” newcomers as well. The atmosphere was warm and inviting.
Part of that atmosphere comes from the space itself. You know that old saying “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”? Well somehow the Cortes carpenters have done it. You can’t turn your eye anywhere and not see fine craftsmanship attention to detail and artistic flair. They have turned a utilitarian box restaurant into a thing of beauty. Aside from the Gorge Hall, there are few public spaces on Cortes that show off the imagination and talents of our craftspeople. Up until now, most of their finest work has been reserved for the well off people and their private homes. I find it gratifying to be able to see the excellent work done by people I know, work that I was never able to look at before.
When visitors to the island see a space that it so unique and beautiful, in their eyes it helps define the character of the island and the community. I for one am quite happy to be part of a community that will be defined as being outside of the box store mentality!
Samantha and I sampled some of the delicious baked goodies, had a beer and chatted with friends. It almost had the feel of a neighbourhood pub. Most communities have a “local” and it can play a vital role as place to meet friends, to exchange ideas and to make contacts for work or for play. For the most part, Cortes has been lacking this vital component of community life and I think that it will only become more important as winter closes in, an excuse to get out from in front of the TV, computer screen or from dozing off in front of the woodstove.
I would like to give my sincere thanks to those visionary Coop staff, members and craftspeople who took the leap of faith and created the café. With the current economic slow down it needs the community’s support and patronage to keep going. I look forward to more music nights, imaginative food and good company in the months to come.