History of the Centre
The Centre will be closed for the Family Day Holiday on Monday, February 19th, 2018. - Click here to read more about it!
History of the Centre
Date Edited: April 11, 2017
Our doors opened at our present location on Matchette Road near Chappell Street in March of 1978. Prior to this date, the Centre and school operated out of the Red Cross building, located then on Ouellette Avenue at Giles Boulevard.

It became apparent in the mid 1960's that the Red Cross rehabilitation complex would need new facilities due to limited space and wheelchair inaccessibility.

In November of 1965, a Steering Committee determined that there was a need to review the compatibility of the space. Plans for a new, fully integrated facility with a focus on children began shortly after by a Planning Committee chaired by John McGivney.

Approval to proceed with the project was obtained from the Ministry of Health in December of 1969 and after almost a decade of fundraising , the first sod was turned in March 1977. A Board of Directors had been elected, and working together with the Rotary Club of Windsor (1918), the Ontario Society for Crippled Children and the Provincial Ministry of Health, the Children's Rehabilitation Centre of Essex County officially opened its doors on June 26th, 1978 to the new $1.2 million facility. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social work, school and preschool were provided for children with special needs. At that time we served 150 families.

The Children's Rehabilitation Centre of Essex County celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2003.

To date, we are one of only 21 Children's Treatment Centres in Ontario.

Currently, we host both preschool and school-aged programs on-site in conjunction with our core rehabilitation services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, communication therapy, recreational therapy, family services, seating and augmentative communication. In addition to our daily programs, various medical clinics and camps are also held at the Centre along with toy and equipment loan and resource libraries for our families. We are also a training site for several post-secondary college and university professional programs, and high school cooperative education experiences. We participate in research and development, notably through membership in the Ontario Association of Children's Rehabilitation Services and our affiliation with CanChild, a research program through McMaster University.

On June 27, 2006, The Centre changed its name from the Children's Rehabilitation Centre of Essex County to the John McGivney Children's Centre. View press release.

The Centre has outgrown its facilities and must upgrade and significantly increase in size to adequately meet the needs of the community. Children, family and staff members face daily challenges related to insufficient and outdated facility space. As a result, we are embarking on a capital project which will allow for much needed facility redevelopment and expansion.
CRC Early Beginnings
1938  A curative workshop for handicapped adults and children is established in the old Red Cross bulding at the foot of Ouellet Avenue, providing physical and occupational therapy.

1947 Parents of children with cerebral palsy form a parents' group.

1949 The parents' group with Cora Stephenson successfully petition the Windsor Public School Board to establish academic classes for the disabled in the Ferry Building.

1950 The school and curative workshop move into the new Red Cross Building at 1226 Ouellette Ave. on the main floor.1953 Lack of space forces the curative workshop to move to Riverview Hospital.

1954 The curative workshop and the school move to new facilities in the basement of the Red Cross Building, partially finished by the local Easter Seal group (the Windsor Rotary Club). Also the parents' group is incorporated under the present name, the Cerebral Palsy Association of Windsor and Essex County. In addition to the school and curative workshop, there is a sheltered workshop for young adults and special classes for preschoolers.

1956 A vibrant Board of Directors is elected by the parents' group.

1966 Bus transportation became available to almost 50% of the children and young adults. Taxis and volunteers transported the remainder.

1968 Negotiations are begun with the Rehabilitation Foundation for the Disabled (March of Dimes). Twenty-two young adults move to the new Workshop in the suburbs.

1969 The basement of the Red Cross is renovated by the Sertoma Club and the preschool is expanded.

1970 A wheelchair bus, complete with a wheelchair lift and removable seats, is delivered to the Workshop, purchased with donations from the Community Fund, a group of local industries, and the Provincial government.

For more information:
The History of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Windsor and Essex County
The History of the Windsor Red Cross School

Feature Pages

Child and Family Resources
Child and Family Resources
Photo Gallery
John McGivney Children's Centre Photo Gallery
John McGivney Children's Centre Videos
Shared Stories
Shared Stories
Read/share Stories