Never underestimate the power of a cup of coffee and a walk on the seawall.

That type of gentle activity helped Gina Haggerty in her earliest months in Vancouver.

Haggerty moved here from Seattle with her former husband for his work. The couple had just suffered a huge loss when their son died.

Haggerty was grieving and isolated but pushed herself to find a social circle. She found the Vancouver Newcomers Club.

"It was an extremely tough time but at some point I had to make the decision: jump in and surround myself with women, caring women," Haggerty said.

"I always felt that was the best way to get through things and that's what I did."

Tough city to crack

The club has approximately 80 members. They hold book clubs and coffee chats, go skiing or snowshoeing, meet for happy hours and travel to the B.C. Interior on wine-tasting excursions. 

Peggy Whiteway joined shortly after moving to Vancouver a few years ago. Whiteway heard of the city's reputation for being a difficult place to make friends. She found that those rumours to be true.

"I was so shocked because you get the sense of it being such an outdoor wonderful place... but I don't know if it was my age or what but the Newcomers bridged that gap and it gets us going, gets us connected with people and doing things we like to do."

New members can stay in the club for four years before they move on to the alumni branch. That allows for turnover and space for fresh faces. 

Both Whiteway and Haggerty are thankful the organization existed. The club is marking its 30th birthday this year.

With files from CBC's Our Vancouver


To watch the full Our Vancouver interview, click here