The Institutes & the Hall
The Ryder Lake Farmers' Institute and the Ryder Lake Women's Institute jointly own the Ryder Lake Hall, and organize the majority of the events held in the community. Each Institute selects members to sit on the Joint Hall Committee which handles the maintenance of the Hall, and allocates funds for its upkeep. Operating costs for the Hall are funded entirely through hall rentals, fundraising activities, donations, membership dues and nominal programming fees. The City of Chilliwack waives property taxes but no regular funding is received from any level of government.
All residents are encouraged to join one or both of the Institutes.
Brief History of the Hall
The first Ryder Lake Hall was opened in 1934 on Ryder Lake Road and was built solely by volunteer labour. Materials were donated when several residents went to work at Bowman’s Mill and their wages were taken out in materials for the hall.
The Ryder Lake Women’s Institute was incorporated in 1935 and the Ryder Lake Farmers’ Institute in 1941.
The present hall property, the park site and the present firehall property was bought by the Ryder Lake Farmers’ Institute in 1955 and work to clear the land began in 1961. The actual construction started in March of 1963 and the grand opening was held the first week of August 1963. This hall was built with volunteer labour and a mortgage was taken out by twelve members of the community to purchase the materials. The $4,000 mortgage was paid off in five years, three years ahead of schedule, by various fund raisers such as teas, dinners, card parties, cattle and cottonwood sales, donations, etc.
In June of 1961 an agreement was struck with the Municipality of Chilliwack for them to purchase what is now known as Ryder Lake Park. Final payment was received in May of 1983. At this point the property on which Firehall No. 5 now sits was also turned over to the Municipality of Chilliwack for the continued fire protection of the Ryder Lake Community.