A Brief History
Like all not-for-profit organizations, we have faced exciting and challenging times and they continue today. We are proud of our 50-year-plus record of service to seniors.
We celebrated that milestone with a posh gala on February 24, 2012 – exactly 50 years to the day when we first opened our doors to the community.
Our beginnings - and the official opening of the Greater Windsor Senior Citizens' Centres on February 24, 1962 - was the direct result of the community's concern for the welfare of senior citizens. Financial contributions from industries, businesses and unions provided the needed funding to open the first Centre. The community was asked to donate through a very successful Porchlight Drive Campaign initiated by local service clubs.
In 1963, the agency became a member agency of the United Way. In 1966, we became the first seniors organization in the province to receive provincial funding through the Elderly Persons Centres Act.
As a community focal point, the agency have taken the lead in provision of services to seniors. The first "Meals on Wheels" program was initiated at the original Elliott Street Senior Centre. That service is now offered through the Victorian Order of Nurses.
In 1973, we opened our second facility in East Windsor - the Riverside Associate Centre. In the same year, we joined other agencies across the province to form a provincial organization. We have been a proud member of the OACAO (Older Adult Centres' Association of Ontario) for more than 30 years.
In those early years, senior groups contacted the us for support and direction. Today more than 65 senior clubs and groups in Windsor-Essex offer a variety of programming options for older adults to stay active and involved.
In 1983, the agency purchased the former Christian Missionary Alliance Church at 706 Goyeau Street. The site was closed for renovations and construction for two months and opened on February 13, 1984. Renovations continued for another year. Financial assistance was received from numerous foundations, service clubs, all levels of government, members and friends.
In 1988, the Riverside Associate Centre moved to the Edward Street Community Centre, and was renamed the Edward Street Neighbourhood and Senior Centre. In subsequent years extensive renovations ensure accessibility were completed at both facilities.
In the same year our Members' Council - elected representation of the membership - was constituted to recommend, advise, and liaise with members, staff, and Board of Directors. The members’ council was disbanded in 2012 under a new, more exclusive Board of Directors structure.
As the agency grew throughout the 1980s, so did our Community Support Programs - Footcare, Transportation (ESCORT), Friendly Visiting and Telephone Assurance. In 1990, with funding assistance from the Ministry of Community Social Services, we purchased an agency van. Today, our fleet of 3 vans plus a team of volunteer drivers provide more than 10,000 rides per year.
All of our programs are well utilized and support older adults in their efforts to remain active and independent.
A mandatory membership policy requested by the membership was endorsed by the Members' Council, and subsequently approved by the Board of Directors in 1991.
In response to senior requests, the Olde Sandwich Towne Senior Centre opened one day a week in West Windsor in January 1993. In September of that year, with the help of United Way Venture Grant funding, we expanded, opening two days a week. That site closed in 2002.
In 1994, the Centres Association changed its name to Centres for Seniors Windsor.
In 1997, the Board began planning for the future of the Goyeau St. Centre, recognizing the need for more flexible programming space. After much discussion, planning, and development of a strategic plan, we were ready when the opportunity arose to relocate to our current location, a former elementary school at 635 McEwan Ave in the west side of Windsor. Renovation of the school began in November 2003, and we moved in March 2004.
Our East Side Centre re-located in 2008. It is now on the 1st floor within the WFCU Centre on McHugh Ave, where we can utilize the recreational facilities through the City of Windsor’s Parks and Recreation Department.