Throughout 2019, CCRA News will be talking to longtime residents and searching through old newsletters to bring you stories from our history. The information in this one is taken from a poster created for the 60th anniversary and from a story written by William Dempsey in the CCRA News in March 1990.
It all began at a Centennial Road Public School meeting on Tuesday, November 9. 1949. At the time, the small Centennial community was quiet and semi-rural. However, a new subdivision was in the planning stages and it was obvious that additional recreation activities and space would soon be needed.
Centennial Road School was the only public building in this area, so it seemed logical to expand the school to include a recreation centre. The Home and School Association hosted a meeting on the evening of November 8 asking: “Should the Centennial Road School site be developed as a recreation centre?” There was an air of excitement and anticipation in the crowded classroom and a resounding shout of “Yes!” to the chairman’s question.
Meetings to develop an organization quickly followed. Representatives of Council and the school board attended a public meeting on November 22 that year, at which time the name of the group became The Centennial Recreation Association.
On February 1, 1950, a committee of 13 members was elected with William Dempsey as the Founding President. Soon afterwards, a constitution was formulated and the association became known as the Centennial Community and Recreation Association. It was incorporated on June 22, 1950, and was Ontario’s first incorporated community association.
In the March 1990 CCRA News, Bill Dempsey recalled that first meeting: “Walking home that night, I knew that something magnificent had happened. It was greater than all the people who had participated in the meeting, but its greatness was because it had arisen spontaneously from people of conviction who wanted to build a beautiful, strong community where people would want to live. I also had a feeling of foreboding of the greatness of the task ahead – and that my own life would never be quite the same again.”
If you have any stories or know people you think we should cover during our anniversary year, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.