The Peace Arch Hospital gift shop opened on the first day that the hospital opened in 1954.
It was located in a small space near the main entrance. The only items that it sold were small items for the comfort of the patients. It sold candies, gum newspapers and other small items. It also sold a few items for patient comfort including things like toothpaste and tooth brushes.
Since then or gift shop has evolved into a busy shop that serves not only our patients and their families but also our community.
The present-day gift shop is located in the front lobby of the hospital between the medical imaging department and the Tim Hortons coffee shop. It is run by 26 dedicated volunteers and all the profits of the shop go directly to the hospital.
There are no paid employees at the gift shop.
The uniqueness of the gift shop is the wonderful assortment of hand of hand-knit baby clothes. This is all co-ordinated a by an amazing group of ladies who make a variety of items, including baby layettes, baby sweaters, blankets and newborn hats.
None of the knitters are paid for their work.
We have one knitter who makes almost 400 pairs of slippers a year, not just for children and infants but she also makes men’s slippers as well. These come to the gift shop already sized and marked ready for sale.
We still sell many items for the comfort of our patients, not just the usual small toiletries but we also now carry a wide variety of sweets greeting cards and books. We also stock an assortment of magazines.
For amusement, there are playing cards, puzzle books and cribbage boards. These are comforting for patients when patients find themselves at the hospital for a few days.
Wonderful flowers in the cooler are the first delight when entering the gift shop. This part of the shop is also run by another dedicated group known as “Flower Power.”
All of these ladies are professionally trained, and volunteer their time and talent to flower arranging. All of the arrangements are made in the hospital.
They make a variety of arrangements and pride themselves in having interesting containers for the flowers. Arrangements are always available for special occasions and holidays.
Flowers may be ordered in advance from the gift shop for any occasion and at any price point.
What would a gift shop be without gifts? The products available at the the shop are meant to appeal to not only our patients but our staff and our visitors.
There is always a great display showing a variety of items for sale. Depending on the time of the year, there may be seasonal items for sale. I know that there were some summer hats available, but they may be sold out by now.
There are lots of ladies purses and interesting giftware including china, scarves, small gifts suitable for birthdays and some bookmarks and wall plaques.
Many people really enjoy the heritage books, which are written by our own B.C. authors.
Of course, we could not have a gift shop without a variety of stuffed animals including bears, cats and dogs as well as Sesame Street items.
The gift shop is run by volunteers and all of the money from it goes directly to Peace Arch Hospital to support excellence in care. Come out and visit the best-kept secret in White Rock.
Felicity Matthews writes monthly on behalf of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary.