Winter view of the Hollyhock Learning & Leadership Centre lodge and garden. Photo by Greg Osoba.

A Cortes Island community hub is celebrating a milestone: Hollyhock Learning and Leadership Centre is turning 40 this year.

Hollyhock Founding Executive Director Rex Weyler says the push to create Hollyhock began in 1981, when he visited the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, where he visited a fortune teller. She told him that when he came upon hollyhock flowers peeking over a high fence, he would be in the right place.

Later that year, he recalls that he came face-to-face with such an image when visiting friends on Cortes Island who were caretaking an oceanfront property that was for sale. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Since 1982, Hollyhock has offered programs on wellness, wisdom teachings, social innovation and creativity. 2022 offerings include Social Justice in Work and Life; Non-Violent Communication; Finding Flow: Yoga, Pilates, & Dance; Healing Family & Ancestors, to name a few.

Over the years, the centre has hosted such luminaries as Eckhart Tolle, Allen GinsbergJoanna Macy, Dr. Andrew Weil, and Ann Mortifee, among others, who’ve taught programs for visiting guests. The centre has also undergone many changes and challenges over the past four decades.

Celebrations marking the 40-year anniversary will be held at Hollyhock’s Cortes Island campus during the week of July 27.

In the first of a two-part series, CKTZ News speaks with Rex Weyler about how Hollyhock began and its original purpose and intention as a residential learning centre:

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.