Friday December 9, 2010

Community News

Horse Of A Different Colour

PRDA kids will benefit from a $5000 CIBC donation

Craig Hill/Voice photos


Pat Fuller (L) accepts a cheque from Michael Regan, CIBC branch manager (2nd from R) and Mike Stevenson, Sr. VP Retail Marketing Western Canada (R) Tuesday at the Young Rd. Branch.


he Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce at 9245 Young Road celebrated it's 100th Anniversary in Chilliwack Tuesday and to mark the occasion, the bank made a $5000 donation to the Pacific Riding For Developing Abilities (PRDA).


The PRDA connects disabled kids in the community with horses for theraputic riding sessions. According to the group's website, the sessions provide psychological, physical and educational benefits to kids enrolled in the program.


CIBC Branch Manager, Michael Regan, told about 50 people at the bank Tuesday evening, that one aspect of the bank is to build strong relationships with clients in the community.

Regan said that they had 1 photos of the bank from the 1940's and another one where the building is half torn down as they made room for construction of a new bank

building in 1948.                        Long time customer Norman Miller shows 1943 bank book.

Regan explained that back then not a lot of the bank's male employees had access to baths so they asked the architect to take out one of the lavatories and install a shower.

"We remained there in that building until moving into here in 1981. Again from the photographs we see from the interior of this (building), it's changed very significantly from those days. It's hardly recognizably from what it was in that time," he said.


Regan quipped that their oldest client is 99-years-old and is also celebrating her 100th birthday this month but couldn't be there because she had bowling on Tuesdays.


Mayor Sharon Gaetz was in attendance and spoke about what Chilliwack was like 100-years ago saying that 1910 was a busy time for Chilliwack and that blacksmiths and flour mills were abundant then. It was also when City Hall opened it's doors and in 1912 Chilliwack Middle School and Chilliwack Jr. Secondary were also built.

CIBC branch manager Michael Regan talks about PRDA.


"Five Corners as it is today was the heart of the community. It still is the heart of the community," she said. "When we asked people what their favourite part of Chilliwack is and they said 'this part right here' at Five Corners, and I think it's fantastic that you guys are located right where the original commercial bank started."

"Those of you who will remember downtown Chilliwack as being a bustling commercial area where you could go to Eatons and shop and right now at this time of the year they'd be playing Christmas carols at the store," said Gaetz.

The mayor also spoke about the demolition of the Empress Hotel and the gifting of the Paramount Theatre to the City and how the city is evolving and is excited about the future prospects for the downtown core.

"I started the downtown revitalization task force and they are coming forward with some pretty cool ideas for the future," she said. "They're bringing a report back to council so probably in late winter, early spring, you can count on hearing back from us."

Gaet said the City is giving developers a big tax break if they opt-in to the downtown area.                                          One of the smiling faces you'll see at the CIBC on Young Rd.

"Right now if you were to build on piece of property here and expand your business you would pay the same taxes as you pay today for 5-years. No matter how big, magnificent, beautiful, it would be, you would get that kind of a tax break which I think is a pretty big incentive."

Gaetz closed saying that " I really want to take this opportunity to thank CIBC for believing in Chilliwack, for being a part of our community for all that I can ever remember. I thank you very much for doing your business here and I thank each one of you that is investing in CIBC for investing and believing in them too."

One of the longest CIBC customers is 35-year resident Norman Miller who's father opened a bank account at the Imperial Bank of Canada in Landis, Saskatewan back in 1943 and still has the account book to prove it.

"He used that as a bank, and it used to be called the Imperial Bank of Canada and then they amalgamated with the Commerce and he was a member ever since and it's been 100-years."

Miller plans to give the account book to CIBC at a later date so they can add it to their collection of memorabilia.

Mike Stevenson, Sr. VP Retail Markets of Western Canada thanked staff for the wonderful work they do, saying that "It's our people that truly make the difference and I believe that most of you will agree that its the people that make you come back."

CIBC employee serving delicious hors d'oeuvres Tuesday.

"We wouldn't be here if it weren't for you seeking the services and solutions and the things that we can provide to help you achieve your goals."

The bank is actively involved in raising funds for breast cancer through their annual "Run For The Cure" and Stevenson said he was proud of what the bank has done in that regard.

"CIBC employees have raised for breast cancer research $120-million all through the run for the cure. I get goose bumps every time I think about that. Our goal is to help the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation create a world that is breast cancer-free so we will not relent until we get there and I hope all of you here help us with that goal."



Stevenson talked about the PRDA prior to handing over the donation to Pat Fuller, co-founder of the group saying that they "Do amazing work for young children that need a little extra help."

Fuller said that the PRDA has been working in the community for the past 28-years and use special horses that are lower to the ground which is more suitable for what they do.

"We give a total of 33 children rides and lessons every week and your gift today is going to sponsor a horse and a rider for a year."

"I would like to invite anyone who is interested in our program come on riding day and watch the lessons."


Therapeutic riding got it's start in the US back in the 1960's and has since evolved and grown into a nationwide program offered in many Canadian communities.

Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities provides therapeutic horseback riding for children with physical and/or mental disabilities. With three branches in BC, the Chilliwack branch of Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities was established in 1983 with one pony and a handful of volunteers. Today, the branch serves 33 riders with five specially selected therapy horses and the generosity of 30 volunteers. Therapeutic riding is known to be an effective method of providing recreation, therapy and interaction with social, physical and emotional benefits.

See the photo gallery below.

About The CIBC

The Canadian Bank of Commerce first opened in Chilliwack on December 27, 1910.

The branch moved into a new building, a triangular-shaped branch at the apex of a lot bounded by Yale and Young Roads and Princess Avenue in 1948. The symbol above the sign over the door was a mythological symbol representing commerce and used to be the logo of The Canadian Bank of Commerce.

The branch was re-branded to CIBC on June 1, 1961, when The Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada merged to form the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

As business grew, the branch needed to expand but it was confined within the triangular lot. A larger building, our current branch, was built down the street on Young Road and opened for business on August 17, 1981.

CIBC (CM: TSX;NYSE) is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada, and has offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Press Centre on our corporate website at

For more information on the PRDA visit their website here:


Copyright (c) 2010 The Valley Voice



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