No Child Turned Away – Our Doors Are Open!

TORONTO, ON (March 13th) — East End Children’s Centre celebrates the success of its No Child Turned Away project.

For over 30 years, East End Children’s Centre (EECC) has operated two Ontario Early Years Child & Family Programs in the East Danforth neighbourhood at Terry Fox Community Centre, and the basement of Kimbourne United Church.  These free drop-in programs provide an opportunity for children 0-6 and their caregivers to come together, network and learn from our staff in a safe, supportive, community building environment for families in Toronto’s East End.

Over the last decade there has been a surge in the child population in Toronto’s East End.  This placed a demand on our programs that overwhelmed the resources available to service local children and families in safe way at each of the facilities. By 2011, room capacities were being reached at both sites within minutes of opening each day. Since then, children and families were turned away almost daily, in increasing numbers every year since.

Parents spoke out – It was a devastating experience for children, when they leave their homes in the morning hoping to come and play, only to find themselves repeatedly outside a locked door. Beyond the tears of these children, there was a larger impact.  This action of turning away children, undermined the EECC’s commitment to supporting young families in this community.

In its strategic plan for 2016 – 2021, the East End Children’s Centre identified increasing community access to its programs as its highest priority, and the No Child Turned Away Campaign was born.

Because of the generosity of our community, The East End Children’s Centre was able to implement a limited expansion of its program at the Kimborne location, two extra mornings a week starting January 2017. This has resulted in reaching more children and families with our free, unstructured play program, offering  100 more child visits each week.

While there isn’t sufficient budget to operate both sites daily year-round, the East End Children’s Centre will offer these extra programming days during the coldest months of the year in 2017:  January through April and November through to December.

On March 31st, we will celebrate this achievement by sharing breakfast with some of our community supporters and donors to recognize contributions in this important step toward our goal of implementing year-round programing available at both of our locations.  With further new funding, EECC hopes to deliver a multi-year commitment to our Toronto’s East End to satisfy the community’s growing demand of programing for young families.

About East End Children’s Centre:

The East End Children’s Centre has served Families in Toronto’s East End for over 30 years with free, accessible play programs for the community’s infants, toddlers and preschool children. Our mission is to encourage a connected community of parents and caregivers focused on the optimal development of children 0 – 6 years of age.  Funded by the City of Toronto and Ontario Early Years, and governed by a community board of directors, East End Children’s Centre offers a safe haven for isolated families, early learning activities for children, a healthy snack, circle time, school readiness programs for 3 & 4 year-olds, as well as evening and weekend programs.

East End Children’s Centre served 1083 children and 1038 parents/caregivers in 2016, who made a combined 19,707 visits to their two sites at 200 Wolverleigh Blvd and 2 Gledhill Ave in Toronto.

For more information, follow us on facebook: or contact:  Cathy Wright, Manager of East End Childen’s Centre

We’re adding some program hours!!

untitledThat’s right!!  Starting in January, both our Kimbourne and Terry Fox sites will be open on Mondays and Fridays!  We’re using fundraised dollars to support this and only have enough to maintain these extra hours until the end of April – but we’re beyond thrilled that we’re creating 100 additional child visits per week!

Terry Fox hours will stay the same – 8:45 am to 12 noon.

Kimbourne hours will be 9 am to 12 noon. MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY!  January through April 2017!  The actual date of implementation is TBA but we’re hoping for January 6th.  We will update our calendars when dates are finalized.

Thanks to all who support our fundraising – you’re making a difference!!


Thank you to everyone who supported the success of the Great Gatsby Gala on October 15th at Todmorden Mills!  Proceeds totaled almost $19,000!

Here’s what it looked like:


We gratefully acknowledge the following event sponsors:

Gold Sponsor:  Forest Hill Lions Club

forest-hill-lions-club-scanSilver Sponsor:  Giuseppe Flammia

gf-logoBronze Sponsor:  Equus Fabrics


Bronze Sponsor:  Charles Vilagut Photography


We also thank Plank Road Market, Food Dudes, Culture Snap and Border Ladner Gervais for their generous support!plank-roadfood-dudesculture-snap


Evacuation Drills

Monthly evacuation drills are a necessary inconvenience.  We are required to do them and we want to do them well because we care about your child’s, yours and our own safety.

You don’t have to love them, but if you are bringing children to our programs, you do have to participate without protest.

We expect adults attending our programs to model a positive attitude during evacuation drills, so that children feel safe while practicing these skills.  Please follow all direction from staff.  Do not collect your coat, bags and stroller.  You will be interrupted by staff and asked to cooperate if you try do this, or decide to depart the program during a drill.  If the weather is chilly, throw a coat or blanket over your child and leave the building.

Yvonne Kristensen – March 5th, 1950 – October 23rd, 2014

We are sorry to share the very sad news that our wonderful staff member Yvonne Kristensen passed away on October 23rd.

Yvonne has worked at East End Children’s Centre for the past 16 years, as well as several years during our organization’s early history in the late 1980s. She has given of her warmth, strength, passion and playfulness to so many children, parents, caregivers and co-workers. We are truly proud of the way Yvonne worked and played, making our programs and indeed our lives incredibly rich, during her time with us. We remember her powerful energy, huge voice, beautiful heart, and her joyful laugh. We miss her very much.

In addition to her work with EECC, Yvonne operated a small store in Kensington Market, called Vibe, where she sold essential oils she crafted herself.

Some of you knew that Yvonne had two diagnoses of breast cancer in the past 20 years, most recently in 2006. She decided to make those years great anyway; she had many, many tools in her toolkit for living well, not the least of which were her sense of humour and deep spirituality. She was still riding her bike this past spring and was actively working with us until the end of July, then took a few weeks vacation before discerning that returning to work was not an option.

Yvonne leaves a daughter, Jade, and two school-aged granddaughters Narissa and Deja, as well has a great many friends around the globe. Her family is honouring her wishes not to have a funeral. We will plan a memorial event at our Kimbourne site and will communicate further about that when a plan is in place.

Message for parents employing nannies or other caregivers

Wondering what that registration form is that you are being asked to complete? 

The form is so that we can maintain basic contact information, in case you ever need to be contacted.

Why would we be contacting you?

We would need to get in touch with you right away if there was ever an emergency involving your child, or your child’s caregiver.  We also wouldneed it in the event of an outbreak at our centres, as public health requires us to notify families when they may have been exposed to certain infectious diseases.

If you include an email address, and we hope you will, we will also send you our quarterly newsletter, and keep you informed about events and other things going on at East End Children’sCentre.