100 Years of Impact and Leadership
For the last century, Easter Seals Ontario has been leading the way toward a more inclusive society so children and youth with physical disabilities can experience greater independence, freedom, and dignity. You can help grow this legacy so Easter Seals kids can continue to achieve their dreams in the next 100 years.
Founded in 1922,
Easter Seals Ontario has been one of the most influential organizations in driving the needs of children and youth with physical disabilities to the forefront.
Over the past 100 years, the organization has been a leader in developing and initiating several ground-breaking programs and services to improve the lives of kids with physical disabilities.
We are incredibly proud of our legacy of service and are dedicated to continuing our efforts to help kids live their lives to the fullest over the next 100 years.
Highlights from 100 years of creating a better world for kids with physical disabilities.
On November 28, 1922, representatives from seven Rotary Clubs came together to form the “Ontario Society for Crippled Children,” later to be renamed “Easter Seals Ontario.”
Rotary Clubs start helping families get mobility devices for their children with disabilities – 500 items were purchased over the organization’s first three years.
Reg Hopper was hired as Executive Secretary, the first employee of the organization.
Easter Seals launched a public campaign for the universal pasteurization of milk to help stop the spread of tuberculosis.
Easter Seals was the first organization to employ nurses to carry service into the home.
Through the generous support of Rotary Clubs, Easter Seals opened Blue Mountain Camp in Collingwood, the first Canadian camp for children with physical disabilities.
Camp Woodeden in London, On officially opened.
The first Ontario mail fundraising campaign was sent out at Easter time. Included in the package were the decorative “seals” that would become our namesake.
The Easter Seals Ambassador Program was initiated, with Lynn Berry selected as the first provincial ‘Timmy’ to represent all children with physical disabilities.
Camp Merrywood, near Perth, On officially opened.
Star athletes and sports personalities, including champion wrestler “Whipper” Billy Watson and Conn Smythe, started to get involved with Easter Seals, contributing innovative fundraising event ideas, such as the Conn Smythe Sports Celebrities Dinner, that live on to this day.
Camp Lakewood in Wainfleet, On officially opened.
Camp Northwood near Kirkland Lake, On officially opened.
The Timmy Tyke Hockey Tournament, which included championship games played at Maple Leaf Gardens, was started by George L. Kitchen.
Easter Seals opened the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre, now known as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. It was considered the most outstanding treatment centre for children with physical disabilities in the world.
The annual Easter ‘seals’ fundraising campaign exceeds $1 million for the first time.
Easter Seals partners with Hospital for Sick Children to launch “Track Three Skiing,” the first downhill skiing classes for kids with physical disabilities.
“Whipper” Billy Watson initiates the first Snowarama fundraiser.
Al Balding Golf Week for Timmy/Tammy was started and raised funds for Easter Seals Ontario for over 15 years.
Easter Seals is instrumental in establishing a network of children’s treatment centres throughout the province and creating a formal alliance, now known as Empowered Kids Ontario.
Nadia de Franco selected as the first female youth Ambassador (“Tammy”).
The Ontario Society for Crippled Children officially changes its name to The Easter Seal Society, Ontario.
Easter Seals is the first to create a public awareness and prevention campaign focused on bike safety and helmet use in Ontario.
Roger Abbott and Don Ferguson host the first CBC broadcast of the Easter Seals Telethon.
The first Easter Seals post-secondary scholarships were established. Through the generous support of donors, we continue to award scholarships to assist youth with physical disabilities in achieving their dreams of post-secondary education.
The President’s Council was founded by 68 individual donors who contributed an annual gift of $1,000 or more.
Easter Seals sponsors a public awareness campaign to promote the importance of folic acid during pregnancy.
The high ropes course at Camp Woodeden is expanded with the addition of eight new activities.
A new multi-sport activity centre at Easter Seals Camp Woodeden, including a full-sized gym, indoor climbing wall, amphitheatre, and life skills kitchen, is completed.
A new covered sports pad, complete with lighting and a washroom facility, opened at Camp Merrywood.
The Start of a New Century
Easter Seals launches its first remote camp program, Camp E-aster Seals, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, offering campers accessible, camp-style activities and a way to connect and interact with other kids during a time when they needed it the most.
November 28, 2022, Easter Seals Ontario celebrates a century of providing opportunities for children and youth with physical disabilities to experience independence, freedom, and dignity!
Be a Part of History
Together, we can continue to create a more inclusive society so kids with physical disabilities can continue to achieve their dreams in the next 100 years.