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Avalon Recovery Society

Remembering Virginia Giles, OBC


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Avalon Co-Founder, Virginia Giles, OBC.


Virginia Giles and Helen Burnham met on their recovery journey, sharing their experiences as women in recovery and the unique challenges they faced.


The friendship they formed became the blueprint for Avalon Recovery Society, a place where women could connect with each other – as Helen and Virginia did – and give each other the strength they needed to live a life free from addiction.


When Helen and Virginia realized that a place for women in recovery didn’t yet exist, they took action. Together, they opened the first Avalon Women’s Centre in Vancouver in 1990. Nearly 30 years later, Avalon has three drop-in Women’s Centres in the Lower Mainland and welcomes almost 40,000 women through our doors each year.

Here, the legacy of Helen and Virginia’s friendship lives on. In these warm, inviting spaces women can connect with each other over their shared experiences in recovery, providing one another with the support and compassion they need to heal and thrive.


We are eternally grateful for Virginia’s commitment, dedication and dream of a place for women in recovery. Her life and work have forever changed the lives of women and families in our community.


A reception to honour Virginia Giles’ life will be held at Avalon Women’s Centre Vancouver, 5957 West Boulevard, on the weekend of May 8/9. Exact date TBD, please note the date change due to concerns around the spread of coronavirus.

All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Avalon Recovery Society.

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