By Eva Nichols
My family and I moved to the Centennial community in June 1969, almost 50 years ago. We first became aware of the CCRA when we decided to make arrangements for having boulevard trees planted on Charlottetown Blvd., our street.
My husband Michael and I both became involved as members almost immediately after moving to the community and we were both members of the CCRA Executive starting in 1970/71.
I became vice-president to Peter Tilston, who was president, in 1972. I was elected president in 1973 and had the honour of being the first female president of the CCRA.
Local planning was the biggest challenge facing our community at that time. It seems, looking back, that we spent a lot of time making representation at the Ontario Municipal Board. In addition to members of the executive, community members often came to represent the community at the OMB and we were mostly successful at achieving our goals. We had several large public meetings where hundreds of people turned out to support the CCRA.
We were then and still are a community that stands up for what it believes in.
In 1974, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of the CCRA. Some of the founding members still lived in the community and attended the celebrations, including Bill Dempsey and Ben Stanton. As part of that celebration, the CCRA executive sponsored a local artist, Nell LaMarsh, who lived on Colonel Danforth Trail, to paint the Annis House, which at that time was at the corner of Port Union Rd. and Lawrence Ave. and housed the Bank of Montreal. Nell painted three versions of the Annis House. The CCRA executive bought two of the paintings to celebrate the anniversary. One now hangs in the Port Union Public Library and the other is in Mowat Collegiate.
As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of our community association, I want to acknowledge all those who founded this organization and who over its 70-year existence gave of their time and contributed their efforts to create and maintain this community that we live in. Thank you to all the volunteers who have contributed time, effort and resources. I feel honoured to have served as a president of this organization and appreciate the opportunity to share some of these memories with you all.