Grand opening in Richmond shopping centre is music to RCD’s ears

Lansdowne Centre has a brand new tenant and no one is more surprised to see it opening in a mall than one of its prominent figures.

The Richmond Centre for Disability (RCD) officially opens its bright, new, wide open space in the shopping centre to the public on Monday, Jan. 14 with a week-long celebration and ribbon-cutting.

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Last month, RCD vacated its 4,500-square foot home of 33 years at the corner of Lansdowne and No. 3 roads to make way for a yet-to-be-built apartment building, where they will return to in the future when it’s completed.

But if you told RCD’s community outreach coordinator Dave Thomson a year ago that they’d be moving into a 5,000-square foot former kitchen and music store, he’d likely have smirked.

“Some of the old (music store) fixtures and fittings are still here and we’re using them to hang stuff on; it’s kind of funny,” said Thomson of the new location, right next to the centre’s customer service desk.

“I think it’s going to be very interesting being at the mall. At the old location, unless people had a specific need for coming in, they didn’t.

“Exposure-wise, people may stop for a second, come in and ask us a question, for example. Before, that simply wouldn’t happen. There was a barrier there that’s now been lifted.”

RCD staff are just about ready to welcome members and the public to their new location in Lansdowne Shopping Centre. Alan Campbell photo

Thomson added that a dedicated “Super Cyber Station,” sponsored by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, is a new addition to RCD, thanks to the new premises.

“This place is kind of temporary, but it’ll hopefully be for about five years or so,” he said.

“We are going back to the original location when it’s constructed. We’ve been promised space on the ground floor there.”

The new dawn for RCD starts on Monday lunchtime, with a different themed events taking place every day up and including Friday, where there will be a special wheelchair ballroom dancing show in the rotunda, followed by a dignitary-laden ribbon-cutting and reception.

“The public is welcome to come by and enjoy the fun any of the days and find out more about what we do,” said Thomson.

The week-long open house is packed with guided tours, refreshments, Chinese chess, disability etiquette presentations, Internet security, public speaking, singing and table tennis.

For more information and program details, visit the RCD website at

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