Originally owned by Bert and Amanda Blackwood, the land for the original community hall was donated in 1930 as a place for the community to gather and celebrate. The hall was built the same year, entirely by volunteers. Spruce logs for the building were hauled from Raush Valley by Olie Orhaus.
The official opening of the hall was not until New Year’s Eve in 1931. Dancing was held until the small hours of the morning (5am) and the event was very much a community celebration. “Dances, parties, weddings and shivarees gave proof of a flourishing community life. The annual picnic, the Christmas concert at the hall, these were the highlights of social life.” (History of Dunster, Dunster Women’s Institute)
In the winter of 1973/1974, a heavy snowfall led to the collapse of the roof and the building was fully demolished shortly thereafter. A new hall was constructed in the summer of 1978 and 1979 in its current location at the top of Blackwood Hill through funds raised by fundraising events in the community, government grants and hundreds of volunteer hours. The hall is currently well used for community and valley events given its central location between Valemount and McBride.
Photo: Bobby Haan and Betty (Sargent) Haan with some of their weddings guests outside of the original Dunster Hall, 1951. Valley Museum and Archives—Haan Fonds.