After the end of the Second World War, men returned from the front and tried to settle back into life at home. Athletics provided the veterans with one of their most important outlets. By 1947, they decided that a local organization should be formed for the promotion and organization of local sporting activities, such as baseball and track and field events. Instead of charging for memberships, the members decided to fund their projects through donations from amongst themselves and from the community. Their straight-ahead approach was typified by a suggestion at one of their first meetings, where a member stood up and said-- if you want a sports field-- put a pot on the floor right now and get a start on things. The Kensington Community Athletic Association (which later became known as the Kensington Area Recreation Association) soon had accumulated enough funding for two ball fields, facilities which allowed local teams to compete against other towns province-wide.
But recreation in Kensington has not always involved sports. In 1963, elementary students were moved into the old high school, leaving a spacious and still very serviceable building vacant in the middle of town. After meetings were held on a possible use for the location, it was agreed that it should be sold for a dollar to the Town of Kensington, on the condition that it be converted into a recreational facility for community youth. The finished Rec Center has since become a magnet for young people in the area, providing them with a gymnasium, bowling lanes, and a hall for dances. The rise in tourist traffic led to an expansion of the dining area and, at one time, the operation of a visitor information bureau. During the national centennial, a beautiful park was built directly adjacent to the Rec Center.
One of the groups to hold their meetings at the Rec Center was the Lions Club, who have contributed immeasurably to the development of Kensington. Chartered on November 16, 1954, the club has always been at the ready with time, money, and helping hands for worthy community causes. The club worked tirelessly to provide meaningful activities for young people, such as the Red Cross water safety program, a Junior Brass and Majorette Band, and also a Youth Exchange. They also dedicated themselves to supporting town institutions and businesses; the Community Gardens might never have risen from the ashes in 1977 without their help, and they started the first Tourist Bureau in the area to promote this growth industry. Not only have the Lions looked towards the town's future, but have also considered its past, supporting the publication of a town history in 1973. And one of the ways in which they fund-raise for these many charitable causes is by providing another form of recreation: the ever-popular Lions' bingo. Regardless of who brings home the jackpot, the Lions guarantee that the larger community is always the winner in the end.
An outdoor swimming pool was opened on July 11, 1985 at the center, a facility made possible by a generous $50,000 donation by Hulda Smith, in the memory of her brother Edward Van Koughnet. On hand for the official opening of the pool was the Governor General of Canada, Jeanne Sauve. Mrs. Smith also donated a medal to be awarded to the youngest swimmer who swam the length of the pool each year, dubbed "The Tadpole Award." During the summer, the pool is full to capacity with people trying to beat the Island heat. And for those less aquatically inclined, the center is always abuzz with other events, whether an auction, flea market, bingo game, or card party.