WoodGreen Celebrates 80 Years!

WoodGreen inaugurated during the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties. WoodGreen’s founder, a Toronto Reverend named Ray McCleary, recognized the immense need his community had for social support. He moved into a big house at 37 Boulton Avenue in Riverdale, and opened his newly painted red front door to his neighbours. On April 12 1937, Ray McCleary incorporated WoodGreen began expanding the types of social services WoodGreen provided.

Following the Second World War during more prosperous times, WoodGreen launched a fundraising campaign to build a Community Centre in Riverdale. 95% of households in the neighbourhood contributed and on May 8th, 1948, WoodGreen opened the brand new doors of 835 Queen Street East.

The new community centre ran day camps, sports & music programs, social clubs, a health clinic and offered employment services to the neighbourhood. The centre also began offering customized programming for children with disabilities.

Over the next 6 decades, WoodGreen continuously developed innovative new solutions-based programming, designed to tackle the most pressing social issues of the day.

And now, in our 80th year, WoodGreen’s reach extends far beyond Toronto’s east end. A founding United Way of Toronto member agency, WoodGreen has grown from one neighbourhood house on Queen Street to 36 locations.

We’ve evolved into one of the largest non-municipal providers of affordable housing in Toronto, and serve some of Toronto’s most marginalized communities. WoodGreen helps seniors live independently, internationally-trained professionals enter the job market, parents access childcare, children and youth access after-school programs, newcomers settle in to Canadian life, homeless and marginalized people get off the streets and job-seekers find meaningful employment and training.

Our 700 staff members and 1,000 volunteers create new paths to opportunity for 37,000 people each year and together, we will continue working to build a Toronto where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Happy 80th Anniversary, WoodGreen!

Anne Babcock is WoodGreen’s President and CEO