1961 – there were no local services for people or the families of people with a developmentally handicapped. Parents had two choices: institutionalize or keep their child at home without any assistance or guidance. There was a definite need for services. The local Ministerial Association recognized this need for services and called a meeting of interested people.

1962 – The Collingwood Association for the Mentally Retarded was formed.

With the help of the public school inspector and financial assistance from service clubs, council and interested citizens, a school began operation in the old Connaught School, (which became the Collingwood Fitness Centre many years after). The lack of formal training for staff and limited funding, resulted in the program resembling a baby-sitting service, but was the first relief to parents during the day.

1965 – The school ceased to be a part of our Association when it came under the jurisdiction of the local Board of Education and after 1969, the Simcoe County Board of Education. The school was named Davidson Memorial School and was located in the old Victoria School building on Maple Street. It closed in 1988 due to integration of children into the public school system.

1973 -Jack & Jill Developmental Nursery School opened its doors in the United Church Sunday School rooms with staffing of one supervisor, augmented by volunteer moms. This program moved into the old King George School until it was condemned, and Mountain View School until 1981. The Simcoe County Board of Education offered the use of the building at 1 Campbell Street.

Initiatives to integrate children into normalized community day care centres began in 1987, at which time the nursery school program was closed. The name was changed to Children’s Preschool Resource Service in 1991 to better reflect the goal of the program. Trained resource teachers provided support to children and their parents in both the daycare setting and at home visits to ensure maximum development in all areas of daily living. This program was then located at the headquarters of Collingwood Community Living.

1975 – A survey conducted by the Ontario Department of Community & Social Services in 1972, indicated approximately 25 persons from Collingwood, Stayner, Wasaga Beach, Duntroon, Creemore, Nottawa and surrounding areas, would benefit from the establishment of a sheltered workshop.  A.R.C Industries opened in leased premises at 9 Balsam Street with 6 trainees enrolled under the supervision of 1 staff member. The work included crafts, cutting and pasting and some ceramics. The enrollment grew to 25 trainees and 4 staff members by 1980. The work had changed to woodworking and assembly of muffler clamps along with other smaller contracts. The need for larger quarters was evident.

1976 – Starwood House, a group home for developmentally handicapped adults, was opened in Stayner. As a result of the Williston Report on conditions in Huronia Regional Centre, Orillia, a paper was presented to the government, changing the trend of services for developmentally handicapped adults. The paper basically stated that these people were capable of learning and developing if given the opportunity and training. It further stated that it was high time they received these opportunities in the communities from which they came, not in large backwood, overcrowded jail-like institutions.

The people of Collingwood, however, were not receptive to having a group home in the Town and a petition against the home voted it out. Therefore, the first group home was opened in Stayner. It had an approved capacity of 10 adults supervised 24 hours a day by 6 employees.

1979 – The apartment program was started.

Some of the people residing in Starwood House were progressing to the point of requiring less supervision. Three apartments were rented on Cameron Street in Collingwood with 2 adults sharing each apartment. The program name was changed to the Supported Independent Living Program in 1983. The SIL program (by the year 2000) operated with a supervisor and 4 counsellors serving an average of 36 people. Under this program, persons served live in their choice of accommodation and receive support in areas needed to live independently.

1979 – Land was purchased at 10 Ronell Crescent and a new 6,600 sq.ft. workshop was constructed. The Kinsmen and Kiwanis Clubs of Collingwood raised $40,000 toward this endeavor with the remainder of the capital provided by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. In accordance with guidelines for sheltered workshops, the facility completed second and third stage manufacturing services to various businesses in the immediate area and in Toronto.

1982 – Starwood closed and 4 houses were leased in Collingwood.

The Association moved more aggressively to place people in Collingwood. The large Starwood House was no longer in line with current trends in housing developmentally handicapped people, which leaned toward smaller group homes. Not all of the residents were in need of 24 hour supervision. Transportation to and from work in Collingwood was costly and restricted residents from using normal means of transportation. Two of the homes were still supervised 24 hours a day; the other two were semi-supervised with no night staff. Four adults lived in each home.

The Residential program continued to grow over the years to accommodate people previously placed in institutions. In the year 2000, 10 group homes, housing 48 residents, operated. Seven of the homes were in Collingwood and three in Stayner.

Developmental Services started, which consisted of an In-home program operated at Sweetbriar Lodge Nursing Home and an Out-of-home program operated at 101 Pretty River Parkway.

These programs were the result of the Tri-Ministry program. The Ministries of Health, Education and Community & Social Services introduced the program as an initiative to provide programming to developmentally handicapped people living in nursing homes. In the Collingwood area, this included 4 nursing homes and 60 people.

1984 – The Residential program expanded to five group homes when the first residence for multi-handicapped adults was leased on 9th Street in Collingwood, in a specially constructed, wheelchair accessible house. The Tri-Ministry program provided operating money. Five adults were moved from area nursing homes and were supervised 24 hours by staff, which included awake night staff.

The Residential program expanded to six group homes when 4 adult males were accepted from the closing of the Pineridge Institution.

1986 – A.R.C Industries moved its operation to leased premises at 3 Ronell Crescent, operating with 5 employees and 52 trainees. The Administration offices were also located upstairs in this building.

1987 – The Residential program expanded to seven group homes with the emergency closure of a private boarding home in Stayner.

The Ministry of Housing’s joint initiative with the Ministry of Community & Social Services provided funding for the purchase of a group home. A house was purchased at 17 Brock Crescent and became the eighth group home to operate under the Residential program.

Three more homes were purchased or constructed through this initiative and located at 444 Fifth Street. 120 Oak Street and 2 Reid Crescent, Collingwood. These three homes replaced properties which had been leased.

1988 – The Admission and Resource Department was started to house and maintain client files and to co-ordinate the admission, transfer and de-admission process of persons served. They would also co-ordinate Individual Program Plans and ensure follow-up of goals. The name changed in 1999 to Central Resource Team then later to Central Resources.

1989 – The Developmental Services program moved to a newly renovated building at 10 Ronell Crescent, the previous home of ARC Industries. The In-Home portion of the program was discontinued and people were served at the Alternate Day Program at 3 Ronell Crescent.

An organization name change was presented at a special membership meeting in May 1989 that would better reflect the goals of the Association, in line with changing needs and values. The accepted change to “Collingwood Community Living” clearly identified the goals of the Association and moves in the direction promoted by national, provincial and local associations.

The Supported Employment Program was started. The program provided on-going support to people working in the competitive work force. One Supervisor and one job support worker were responsible for providing support to persons served and employers involved in community job placements in the catchment area.

1990 – The Alternate Day Program was started to provide programming for seniors who have retired from the other day program. The program provided leisure and recreational activities for people in their senior years. Located at 1 Campbell Street, the program changed its name to Seniors Leisure Centre in 1993 and was discontinued in 1995.

1991 – Three new group homes were built with capital money received from the Ministry of Community & Social Services. These houses would provide homes to people moved from local nursing homes as part of the Multi-Year Plan of MCSS. Two homes were located in Stayner and a third in Collingwood.

Two of these homes replaced leased properties and Katherine Street became the ninth home to operate under the Residential program.

1992 – A.R.C Industries changed it’s name to Employment Training Centre (ETC). This change was the result of the announcement by the Ministry of Community & Social Services regarding the pending closure of all sheltered workshops throughout the Province. The alternate plan was a model of recreation, leisure and supported employment programs.

Supported Work Adjustment Training (SWAT) program was started at 3 Ronell Crescent to fill the gap between the Employment Training Centre program and the Supported Employment Program. Under this program, several work stations were developed throughout the catchment area in local business and industry. People in the program spent one or two days a week in each work situation which gave them the opportunity to experience several types of work. Funding was provided through the Trillium Foundation and JobLink. This program has since been discontinued.

1993 – The Developmental Services Program was renamed Adult Resource and Activity Centre

The semi-supervised houses were discontinued with the residents transferring into the SIL program. A house was purchased and renovated and 5 residents of Sweetbriar Nursing Home were admitted. One of the semi-supervised houses was not re-opened reducing the number of group homes to 8.

Town of Collingwood By-laws changed to delete any reference to group homes. Originally the By-law allowed group homes outside of a 400-metre radius of each other. With 4 leases expiring in 1990 requiring the relocation of these homes, the Association met with difficulty in locating rental units complying with the By-law. The Board of Directors challenged the Town’s position and requested the removal of the discriminatory By-laws. In the fall of 1992 the Town reviewed their position and put forward a request to reduce the radius to 300 metres which was approved by Council. Further lobbying by CCL brought a complete deletion of any reference to group homes in the By-law in 1993.

Collingwood Community Living assumed responsibility of the Mel Wright Day Care Centre from the Town of Collingwood. The program was located at 344 Hume Street.

1995 – The Residential Program expanded to nine houses with the construction of a new wheelchair accessible home on Christopher Street in Stayner, to accommodate more people being depopulated from Sweetbriar Lodge Nursing Home.

The ReUse Centre retail store opened. Furnishings and other goods that would otherwise be filling up county landfill sites donated by the community, repaired and refurbished and resold in the retail store.

1996 – 100 Pretty River Parkway was purchased, and in March 1997, the Administration offices as well as the Children’s Preschool Resource Service, Community Outreach Service, the Central Resource Team and the Supported Independent Living Program, moved into their new building. The Employment Training  Program was discontinued.

1999 – The Residential Program expanded to 10 group homes with the purchase and renovation of 8223 Poplar Sideroad which houses 4 gentlemen. The Ministry of Community & Social Services provided funding as part of their depopulation of Institutions.

Collingwood Community Living agreed to administer the programs of the Family Resource Centre on St. Marie Street.

2000 – Mel Wright Day Care Centre moved to purchased property at 60 Ninth Street which was renovated for that purpose. The name was also changed to Tots ‘N’ Tykes Child Care Centre.

2001 – Re-Use Centre relocated to 90 High Street, Collingwood to allow growth while maintaining the high traffic locale. The loyal customer base responded well to the move and, with very little down time, the Centre was back to business as usual.

2002 – Collingwood Community Living celebrated its fortieth anniversary of providing services for people with special needs. The Association had grown from a staff of 1 in one program in 1962, to a staff of about 210, supervising approximately 190 people in 9 programs and 10 group homes. Supporting services in Administration and Central Resources accounted for 9 employees. CCL was designated as lead agency for the Ontario Early Years initiative. This responsibility was embraced and the Simcoe-Grey catchment area was offered this much needed service.

2003 – Collingwood Community Living became E3 Community Services. This new name reflected the agency mandate to Educate, Enable and Empower, persons served, our staff and our community. Accompanying this new name, a new Strategic Plan was developed after a year of planning and discussion. Some of the suggestions made during the development process were more operational in nature, leading to a new Operational Plan being developed in late 2003.

2004 – Pay Equity – long being a burden to the agency, was brought up to date relieving huge financial pressure caused by years of denial of responsibility by government. Almost 300 appeals for funding were sent out with some positive results. The annual golf tournament was very successful and we gratefully received several In Memoriam donations. A Quality Assurance measurement process was developed and implemented.

2005 – New payroll and scheduling systems were set in place after months of development. Computer training was enhanced for staff following extensive deployment of information to E3’s new internet/ intranet sites. The highlight of 2005 was the purchase of a new group home to accommodate individuals depopulated from provincial institutions.

2006 – E3 continued to grow and enhance services. An internal Quality Assurance process was developed and instituted with a full mandate and terms of reference. An agency-wide policy restructuring was completed as was Board Policies and Governance training. E3 was chosen as the charity of choice by Collingwood Canoe Club’s Dragon Boat Festival. E3 handled some of the administrative work for the Club, and received pledge money raised. The creation of a Snoezelan Room was started with the help of fundraising, to be completed as funds allowed. A donation from Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities was received, to be used toward the completion of E3’s Snoezelan Room. The fundraising initiative called Georgian Gold was set in motion.

2007 – One-time economic stimulas funding was recevied from the Ministry of Finance which enabled the third phase of renovations at the Peel Street facility, and helped address several other health and safety issues. The 20th Annual Golf Tournament raised over $20,000 – the best outcome ever! Georgian Gold™ Coupon Books were published and sales brisk. This fundraising endevour showed promise as an annual event. The Snoezelan Room in the Peel Street facility was completed at long last! It is of great benefit to those E3 supports. Quality Assurance efforts continued and if mandated by the Ministry, can easily be incorporated into the CARF model of accreditation. We went “LIVE” with our scheduling and payroll system, after several years of development. E3 joined 6 other local charities to form AMONG FRIENDS, to encourage In Memoriam donations to remain in the community.

2008 – As the end drew near for Ontario insitutions, E3’s 12th group home was built on 7th Street to accomodate some of the last HRC residents. With the depopulation all but complete, E3 expected growth to decrease and other areas of need to be focussed upon. The  Brock Crescent residence, which was not an accessible home, was to be sold when funds allowed a replacement to be built. In anticipation of this, a lot was purchased in Collingwood. Accreditaion moved forward at a positive pace. FOCUS Accreditaion was proven to be a better fit for E3 therefore, that was the chosen method, rather than CARF. A second ReUse Centre opened in the spring of 2008 and sales were favourable in its first months. E3 renovated a garage of an existing residence, and created a comfortable and pleasant, dedicated Respite Room. There was a vital need in the community to provide Respite to the many families who care for their disabled loved ones at home. The Rotary Club of Collingwood donated funds to furnish the room, which was greatly appreciated. This donation was above and beyond their already vital support of E3’s Annual Golf Tournament, which in 2008, earned over $21,000!

2009 – Accreditation was the focal point of 2009.  Thousands of E3 documents, processes and systems were examined and improvements were made where needed.  By the end of 2009, E3 was fully accredited.  Land was purchased on Stanley Street in Collingwood as a step forward to building an accessible home to replace the Brock Crescent residence.  Construction on the new home started in the Spring of 2010.   With fundraising becoming ever more difficult, E3 moved toward revenue generation to cover the shortfall.  Software developed in-house as tools to improve internal processes was sought by other agencies and proved to be a good source of revenue.  E3’s Annual Golf Tournament continued to succeed in raising funds and awareness, with the ongoing help of the Rotary Club of Collingwood.

2010 – A new group home was built on Stanley Street in Collingwood, to replace an aging, inaccessible home.  The new one level home gave much more freedom and mobility to it’s residents and also included a much-needed Respite room.  Stimulus funds helped to make headquarters more accessible with the installation of automatic openers on the main entrance doors.  The Peel Street building was given a real facelift with new windows and siding, thus completing the planned three phase renovation schedule.

2011 –  Ministry-directed Quality Assurance Measures were achieved quite easily, with the agency having been fully Accredited by FOCUS in 2009.  Land was purchased in Wasaga Beach for a group home which is in the planning stages.  E3 has undertaken this project in response to emergency placements taking up essential respite space and an endless Needs List.  A Safe Bed room was created in one of E3’s Stayner Group Homes by converting the garage.  The room is intended for emergencies only.  A Management Skills Development Progam was initiated to support and improve leadership skills for E3 staff.

2012 –  Management and staff worked together to develop greater capacity in various programs and property was purchased to achieve this.  E3 has now expanded its’ Life Skills program to better support residents of Wasaga Beach;  added a much needed ESIL (Enhanced Supported Independent Living) pogram;  increased vocational opportunities for COS persons served;  and  augmented space for Respite Care.  All without additonal funds from the Ministry!  E3 also intends to build a group home in Wasaga Beach in the coming months – another much-needed resource for adults on wait lists throughout the County.    E3 celebrates its 50th Anniversary as an agency and events throughout the year commemorated this milestone.  2012 is also the 25th Anniverary of E3’s Golf Tournament – our largest annual fundraiser, which had the greatest outcome ever – $25,750.00!!

2013 –  The group home built by E3 in Wasaga Beach was completed and residents moved in over the summer months.  During construction, staff traveled throughout the province, meeting with potential residents.  Compatability is essential to the success of the home.  The five young men who now reside there have aged out of the Children’s system.  This is a huge issue in the developmental service sector as there are no spaces even for the people who have  been on wait lists for years.  E3’s initiative to build such a home, with their own resources, was a bold but worthwhile move. As well, the motel purchased in 2012 has had several rooms renovated to full accessibility and proving to be a popular vacation destination for E3’s own clients and agencies across the province.  E3 achieved re-accreditation in the fall of 2013 through FOCUS.

2014 –  As part of strategic planning, E3 has developed a vacation fund to assist persons served who have limited resources, to be able to go on vacation.  As well, we are renovating the few group homes where clients share a bedroom, so every resident may have their own bedroom.  Renovations at Oasis by the Bay have been completed to create another two fully accessible rooms.

2015 – Management continued working toward increasing capacity and strengthening E3’s infrastructure.  Social Enterprise funds provides the flexibility to make growth  possible.  After many years of no increases in staff salaries, MCSS  increased wages throughout the developmental services sector, which helped ease the ongoing issues of recruitment and retention.  Late in the year, CEO Gordon Anton retired after 28 years leading the agency. Gordon built a strong foundation on which to carry on the vision of providing the best supports possible, through innovative thinking and constant advocacy.

2016 – A new group home for Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) was built to ease some of the pressures for young adults who have aged out of the Children’s Sector, but had no where to go as there is no room in the Adult Sector.  This is E3’s second home built for this purpose.  At a time when the Ministry is pushing for fewer group homes, E3 is finding ways to fill this vital need, using many of it’s own resources.  The notion that the community can meet the needs of every adult currently being supported by Transfer Payment Agencies such as E3, is, at best, unrealistic.

2017 – A new CEO assumed her duties in May of 2017.  Christine Vallis-Page has come to E3 with the education, experience and energy to take E3 forward, enhancing supports to persons served and to staff. Children’s Services have been amalgamated in Simcoe County.  E3’s long-time, dedicated staff of the Children’s Preschool Resource Service, now report to Community Living Huronia.  This change will not affect services to children and families.

2018 – Ontario Early Years Centres were rebranded as EarlyON Centres by the County of Simcoe.   The Centres expanded their outreach programs to reach more communities.  The goal is to have an EarlyON Centre located in public schools when space allows, to give children the sense of familiarity within an established learning environment.

The Association started as a non-funded program and has grown to have an operating budget of over twelve million dollars, partially subsidized by the Provincial Government and the County of Simcoe.

The Board, Management and staff of E3 Community Services are dedicated to ensuring quality service to people with special needs, is not compromised.