Vital agency celebrates 95 years in the `hood

By Stephanie Raymond –

The Central Neighbourhood House is turning 95 and to celebrate are inviting their neighbours to a birthday barbeque on Sept. 9.

The festivities start at 11 a.m. at 349 Ontario St. and include raffles, an obstacle course, face painting and sno-cones.

The official unveiling of the new Central Neighbourhood House (CNH) logo and sign, as well as the launch of the One Hundred Year Fund, will occur between 1 and 1:30 p.m.

George Smitherman, Pam McConnell, and Frances Lankin will be among the scheduled presenters.

The CNH is a multi-service agency that provides essential services to 7,800 low-income families, children, seniors and youth in the community.

It was created in the early 1900’s after twelve Victoria College students, who had spent two summers observing the neighbourhood, suggested a settlement house be created to assist the residents. At that time the community consisted mainly of immigrants paying high rents on deteriorating properties.

The CNH officially opened on Sept. 18, 1911, and has been working with local residents to improve their quality of life ever since.

Its long list of accomplishments include the creation of the first well-baby clinic in 1913, parent education classes in 1930 and the Gables Camp, a summer camp program, in 1942.

In the 1960s the CNH assisted displaced families find homes and in the 1990s it developed facilities to assist the homeless.

Other services include home support for elderly, mentally and physically disabled individuals, arts and recreation groups, summer camps, family support programs and educational assistance.