The COVID 19 pandemic was devastating to many residents of the Centennial Community. To galvanize
support for the Tony Stacey Centre Fundraising campaign, CCRA President Kathy Rowe and her team led by Lori Gagnon, organized a car parade on May 1, 2020.

The functions of the association are: “to study neighbourhood conditions; to collect and distribute information; to plan constructive action; to take whatever action seems necessary and appropriate under law to the situation; and to promote and encourage the participation of all persons in some constructive phase of civic and community life.”

Above: excerpt from the constitution.
Soon after the Centennial Community and Recreation Association was formed, a constitution was
formulated and the association was incorporated on June 22, 1950. It became Ontario’s first incorporated community association.

Please support our wonderful community by becoming a member during our 75th anniversary year. Join now.


How Centennial got it’s name

In honour of the 100th anniversary of Methodism founder John Wesley’s death in 1891, a Wesleyan church was opened on Kingston Road and named the “Centennial” Wesleyan church. The north/south road leading to the church was named Centennial Road after the church and the community was thus named Centennial after its main road. Today, construction of Highway 2A separated the Centennial Community from its namesake church. Subsequently in 1967, when the community was being planned, many streets were named after the 1867 Fathers of Confederation.


The Centennial Community and Recreation Association (CCRA) is born
On the evening of Tuesday, November 22, 1949, a large crowd attended an open meeting at Centennial Road Public School to discuss recreational needs in the district. Groups discussed various phases of recreation such as adult activity, dancing classes, hockey and skating, handicrafts and general planning. This new recreation association was named The Centennial Road Recreation Association and set up a provisional planning committee with W.A. Dempsey as provisional president.


Adams Farm becomes Adams Park
CCRA President W.A. Dempsey, announced at a meeting on October 19th, 1950 that an offer to purchase the Adams property for use as a community park has been accepted. The price of the land amounted to $500 per acre or $23,500. Reeve O.C. Crockford offered to lease the land to CCRA over the long-term to relieve the new association of financial worries and allow them to raise and spend the money on planning and improving the park.


John Mansfield plant asbestos cleanup
In the 1960s, the local Johns-Manville plant produced and stored transite pipe inlaid with asbestos. In 1982 manufacturing ceased and the owners declared bankruptcy. For the next 20 years a succession of CCRA leaders demanded the safe demolition and clean-up of waste on the asbestos-ridden property. The CCRA and many community residents worked tirelessly to monitor the huge and controversial project. Among many other stipulations, the CCRA insisted at the OMB Hearings that warning clauses be included in the purchase agreements of the original homes built there. The western section of the Port Union Village now stands on the remediated site.


July Summer Concert Series
In the summer of 1998, City of Toronto recreation programmer Zephine Wailoo, with the support of city staff and community members, organized live music concerts over three Sunday evenings in July. The series began with a jazz theme and over the years the music broadened to include performances by pop, classical and children’s entertainers. The CCRA partners with WRCA, WRSR and the Port Union Seniors to make these annual concerts memorable for all who attend.


Winterfest celebrates 25 years
In 1999, a City of Toronto event planner at Port Union, chaired Winterfest in association with local community organizations. This evolved in 2013, with a local resident taking over the community chair for 2014 and 2015 aided by city staff. In 2017 Winterfest broke away from the city partnership and became financially independent. Today, Winterfest is a community run event with CCRA as the lead community sponsor with a planning committee chaired by CCRA executive Jake Forsyth, along with board members.


Highland Creek Sewage Plant Upgrade
In 2004, the City’s Biosolids Master Plan recommended that the plant’s 40- year old technology be updated to use environmentally preferred technology. The CCRA alongside the Highland Creek Liaison Committee, local politicians and residents fought to uphold this recommendation against the City’s wishes at the time. The petitions, letters, boulevard signs and many meetings finally paid off. In 2016, Toronto City Council voted in favour of the desired upgrade. The plant upgrade is still in process with
a completion target of 2029.


Port Union Waterfront Park opens
Our beautiful waterfront trail came to be because of Bill Dempsey’s wish back in 1949. Bill Dempsey had always advocated for access to the waterfront and he never gave up his dream. Flash forward to the year 2000, CCRA Vice President Jeff Forsyth and CCRA President Gay Cowbourne, who later became our local councillor, were a part of the Waterfront Trail Committee since its inception. They ,along with Councillor Ron Moeser and many others, were highly involved with all of the planning aspects. Phase one of the
trail finally opened in September 2006. The Port Union Waterfront trail was established as a recreational destination and a welcome boost to the local economy.


The green newsletter becomes a tabloid
At a Christmas executive potluck meeting in 2015, CCRA’s transition from little green newsletter to tabloid newspaper was discussed and approved. President Jeff Forsyth laid out the guiding principles: report local news and views not found anywhere else, profile local residents, promote CCRA campaigns and events plus be sustainable both financially and editorially. As of this issue, the newspaper team, all members of this community alongside resident contributors have published 80 issues thanks to readers and advertisers.


Passage to Port Union Mural
Over the summer of 2016, Centennial residents watched the evolution of a stunning new neighbourhood landmark, a mural named Passage to Port Union. Led by CCRA executive Janice Bennick, the concept developed from community consultation and was carefully researched and painted by lead artist Allan Bender. On September 8, the mural was introduced at a public celebration and ceremony. On display near the community centre, it highlights the importance and significance of our community heritage.


The Pumpkin Parade casts a warm glow
What to do with all those beautifully carved pumpkins after Halloween? Local community organizations, Centennial, West Rouge and Highland Creek, made the first Pumpkin Parade a reality November 1, 2018, when over 50 pumpkins arrived at the Port Union Village Commons. The event was moved to the Port Union Recreation Centre in 2019 and the community responded with a surge in pumpkin participation. After the carvers and admirers leave, the pumpkins are dropped into bins for composting.


The Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care car parade
The COVID 19 pandemic was devastating to many residents of the Centennial Community. To galvanize support for the Tony Stacey Centre Fundraising campaign, CCRA President Kathy Rowe and her team led by Lori Gagnon, organized a car parade on May 1, 2020. The Centennial community came through, and 100 cars and emergency vehicles were greeted by about three dozen staff members lined up at the entrance. In total, $10,930 was raised from online donations, $10,000 donated from the CCRA, $1,675 from cheque/cash donations and $362.15 on site. The $22,967 donation was used to purchase much-needed Point of Care kiosks for resident care.

Please support our wonderful community by becoming a member during our 75th anniversary year. Join now.