History

In 1901, Mary Harriman, a 19-year-old New York City debutante with a social conscience, founded the first Junior League.  Moved by the suffering she saw around her, Harriman mobilized a group of 80 other young women—hence the name “Junior” League—to work to improve the squalid conditions in which immigrants were living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Mary Harriman’s vision for improving communities by using the energy and commitment of trained volunteers caught on.  The second Junior League was started in Boston, MA in 1907 and was soon followed by the founding of the Brooklyn, NY Junior League in 1910.

In 1921, a public health nurse in Toronto was desperately in need of extra help in staffing well baby clinics in the city. Volunteers were enlisted and soon founded the Junior Organization, which later sought membership in the Association of Junior Leagues of America. On January 5, 1926, with a membership of 176, the Junior League of Toronto was incorporated as the 2nd League in Canada, sponsored by the Junior Leagues of Montreal and Buffalo.

The first President, in 1926 was Miss Elsie Watt.

The JLT has been an integral member of the community for over 80 years. Junior League members have contributed millions of volunteer hours in expertise, enthusiasm and hard work and over $4 million to support or initiate over 400 community projects. The JLT is a non-profit, charitable organization.

Click below to read more about our history over the decades.

2010's
2000's
1990’s
1980’s
1970’s
1960’s
1950’s
1940’s

1930’s
 1920’s

2010's

2010-11 The JLT Tea for Teens was held for the 6th time ensuring that 300 teens living in shelters had gifts over the holiday season.

A number of healthy living workshops with Pathways for Children, Youth and Families of York Region were held.

A running program with St. Alban’s Boys’ & Girls’ Club was held for the 3rd consecutive year, which enabled a number of young girls to successfully run in the Sporting Life 10K Run, September 2011.

Our first large-scale Kids in the Kitchen event was held at TDSB -Morse Street School with over 60 children in attendance. The event featured CJL spokespersons, Greta and Janet Podloski of “Eat, Shrink & Be Merry”.

2000's

2000-02   Connecting Rainbows - $10,000 (York Region)

2000-02   Rose Cherry’s Home for Kids (now known as The Darling Home for Kids) - $50,000 (Milton)

2001-02   Designer Showcase proceeds were directed through the National Breast Cancer Fund for the following initiatives:  Princess Margaret Hospital - $75,000;  ($25,000 Bone Marrow Transplant,  $25,000 Oncology Patient Education Family Resource Centre, $25,000 Paediatric Radiation Oncology video for children and support for the PMH annual children’s holiday party).  $70,000 – National Breast Cancer Fund to produce Hand in Hand, a paediatric oncology resource for children and family facing a cancer diagnosis.  $15,000 – Ceiling Tile Art Project – Sunnybrook Hospital children’s art ceiling tiles installed to help comfort patients in waiting rooms and undergoing treatment.

2002-03   The Pathways to Education Program chosen as the primary beneficiary for the proceeds from the 2004 JLT Showhouse.  The JLT donated $ 3,250 to develop Autism Guidebook for parents (York Region); as well as $ 3,250 to develop a clothing collection system from major retailers for Chill Out, a non-profit community clothing recycling agency helping families and individuals get outfitted for employment or everyday living.

Birthday parties for children held at Women’s Habitat; Christmas boxes prepared for girls and women in the parenting program at Welcome Baby (West Group); annual children’s holiday party held at Princess Margaret Hospital.

2003-04  League-wide JLT Showhouse 2004. Initial work with Pathways to Education begins

2004-05  Cheque presented to Pathways to Education for $190,000 in accordance with our joint letter of agreement for the JLT scholarship program. Participated in a Canadian National Done in a Day, “Kids in the Kitchen”.  New Member projects: Pathways and the Corsage Project.

2005-06   Presented second cheque to the Pathways to Education Program for a total donation of $360,000, the largest project donation in the League’s history.  We continued to provide mentors and special event programs to Pathways participants.  We completed 20 DIADs across the three Geo groups. The North Group focused on the Keswick Literacy project, Leeder Place and York Region Food Network.  The West Group held the 1st Annual Tea for Teens to support teens in crisis in the west communities of Toronto. Further financial and volunteer support shared with: The Rose Cherry Home for Kids, Women’s Habitat, Next Door Family Resources, and Oakville Community Youth Home.  The Central Group began the “Links Can Cook” program in conjunction with Variety Village. New Members executed two successful projects, the Corsage Project and the Malvern Literacy Project, with a successful attendance of 52 young people at the event.

2006-07  The Central Group partnered with Toronto Public Health to deliver a “Kids in The Kitchen” program through the St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club.  Wrapping up their partnership with Pathways to Education, mentoring programs were offered to teens in the Regent Park area. In the West, the 2nd annual Tea for Teens was held with over 100 people in attendance. The North group held their first JLT Tiaras and Ties Boutique Day in the York Region, a program that will run until 2009. With two new member groups in 2006-07, two New Member projects were delivered:  a Holiday Party for the children at the Geneva Centre for Autism in December and Queen for a Day Brunch to celebrate Mother’s Day for the women of Opportunity for Advancement.

2007-08  The Central Toronto Community Action Group built on their partnership with the St. Alban’s Boys’ and Girls’ Club, and introduced five programs for adolescent girls ages 11-18 and their mothers under a new Healthy Living brand called “JLT Kickstart for Health” - learn more at  http://www.jltkickstart.org/. The York Region Community Action Group executed the 2nd Annual JLT Tiaras and Ties project to rave reviews. The West Toronto Community Action Group hosted the 3rd Annual JLT Tea for Teens event and raised $16,000. In addition, two new member projects were undertaken. The fall new member class hosted a networking event for successful graduates of the Opportunities Unlimited Program run by the not-for-profit Youth in Motion. The winter new member class hosted a Healthy Living Culinary Workshop for women from the Scarborough Women’s Centre.  

2008-09   The JLT ran two workshops for the Girls on the Move group at St. Alban’s Boys’ and Girls’ Club; one on celebrating your strengths and another interactive Kids in the Kitchen workshop. In addition, following a three month weekly training program, 22 Running/Walking Buddies, 12 young women, and 4 St. Alban's leaders participated and completed either a 5km walk, 5km run or 10km run. The JLT hosted the 4th annual Tea for Teens event on November 24, 2008 at The Assembly Hall in Etobicoke. The Tea raised $24,000 and the proceeds of the event enabled the JLT to have an impact on the lives of more than 400 teens.

The JLT handed off the Tiaras and Ties project this year to Maple’s Closet, helped provide resources for the program, and helped out at the boutique day, “Diva Ball”, that was held on April 7, 2009. The Diva Ball resulted in the outfitting of 57 female and 30 male students with formal wear for their proms. In addition, the York Region CAT Chair, also planned a new project that will launch next year in partnership with Pathways for Children, Youth and Families of York Region as an extension of the current JLT Kickstart for Health Program. The York Region JLT Kickstart for Health Project will include two programs: a series of workshops and a series of recreation sessions.

2009-2010    The proceeds from the 2009 JLT Showhouse were presented.  $50,000 was given to  Sunnybrook Hospital Women’s and Babies Program, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. $100,000 was given to St. Alban’s Boys’ and Girls’ Club to expand the Sistahood and Girls on the Move programs to the Jane & Finch and Weston-Mount Dennis locations that have been designated by the city of Toronto and the United Way as priority neighborhoods experiencing growing levels of poverty.

The JLT continued work with the JLT Kickstart for Health – Central Toronto with the St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club; and York Region with the Pathways for Children, Youth and Families.  The West Toronto community project continued by holding its 5th Annual JLT Tea for Teens. The Tea raised over $13,000 in gifts and donations for youth living in women’s and youth shelters..  Gift bags and gifts were distributed to Women’s Habitat, Oakville Community Youth,  Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter, Youth Without Shelter, Interim Place, and Our Place Peel.


1990’s

1990-92   Turning Point Youth Services - $3,400 - established a library-study centre at Turning Point Youth Services, a hostel for homeless boys between the ages of 16-24 years.

1990-93   Stop 86 - $1,600 to develop and teach a weekly life skills training program for the residents of Stop 86, a crisis shelter for young women 16-25 years.

1990-92   Robertson House - $800 to supply books for and conduct a weekly reading circle program at Robertson House, an emergency shelter for abused women and their children.

1992-95   Family Resource Centre at the Health Station - $51,000.  The project involved researching and developing a Family Resource Centre to help meet the needs of parents of teens in North Toronto. This model for building healthy families can be implemented in other communities.

1991-94   Armagh House - developed and presented weekly sessions on personal development and children's time to abused women and their children. $800 was contributed toward developing and printing a brochure outlining the services of the second-stage shelter.

1992-95   Halton Sexual Abuse Program - one volunteer completed the intern program, enabling her to facilitate groups of survivors of child abuse, while the rest of the committee developed, conducted and then collated a survey to determine the effectiveness of HSAP in the professional community.

1993-95   York Region Abuse Program - developed, after intense research and training, a Presentation Document on Child Sexual Abuse, which the committee presents, on request from high schools, to classes of teenagers. Secured funding of $2,062 from Cantel to develop a magnet with emergency phone numbers on it for distribution to the students at the presentations.

1995   Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf: a) successful fundraising venue (house contents sale) b) Designer Showcase ’96.

1996   $182,277 raised from a Designer Showcase at the Colonel Mathews House, owned by the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf

1996-97   $36,000 in seed grants made to agencies across Metropolitan Toronto by the Geographic Groups.

1997-98   Brookdale School, Oakville - developed a proposal and established a breakfast program for the children at Brookdale Public School that was used as a model for community partnerships by the Canadian Living Foundation’s Breakfast  for Learning Program.

1998-00   Growing Together- $70,000. An early intervention program focused on the needs of young children and their families in the St. Jamestown area of downtown Toronto.

1999-00   The Bake Sale - $20,000 (York Region) developed and produced educational material on learning disabilities for use by children at the junior school level (grades 4-6).

1980’s

1980-83   Survivor Support Program - $11,600 - assisting people who have suffered a loss of someone through suicide.

1982-83   Preventative health care for Seniors - $3,000 - additional funding.

1983-85   "Toronto with Ease" update - $30,000 - reprint of 1980 edition.

1984-85   Task Force, Corporate Program for Active Retirement - $1,000

1984-85   Community Boards Conference - $3,600 - Community Boards Training.

1984-86   Palliative Care Project - $7,450 - to produce manual to be used for setting up volunteer programs in palliative care.

1983-91   New Directions, A Support Service for Displaced Homemakers -$265,000 - to provide peer support, counseling, resources and referrals to women who are separated, divorced or widowed and are not eligible for government assistance.

1986-91   Eating disorders video - $30,500 for production of documentary video "Perfection and Control" and its accompanying Facilitator's Guide and Bibliography to raise public awareness of two eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

1986-88   Royal Canadian Academy of Arts - $10,000 towards catalogue of historic first gallery exhibition of Academy artists since 1907 in new gallery at 8 Adelaide East; organized Academy Ball and lecture series in October 1987.

1987-90   Women's Health Centre - St. Michael’s Hospital - volunteers assisted in the planning and development of this innovative facility meeting the specialized health needs of today's women.

1988-92   $25,400 to produce, launch, and distribute the fourth edition of “Toronto with Ease” and develop its ALEX (computerized) application, thereby assisting people with physical limitations to find accessible recreational and leisure facilities in and around Metropolitan Toronto.

1970’s

1970-74 Delisle House - part of the North Toronto Youth Project - $27,000 over 3 years.

1970-71   $8,000 from the Moyle Estate funds given to the Community Association for Riding for the Disabled (C.A.R.D.) to furnish a lounge and physiotherapy section of a private indoor arena used in treatment of cerebral palsied children.

1971-74   Planned Parenthood, $7,000 over 2 years towards coordinating volunteer activity and the salary of a volunteer coordinator.

1971-74   Central Volunteer Bureau - $9,700 over 2 years toward the salary of an education and resource coordinator. Looked for a co-sponsor for entire project.

1972-74   Clarendon House (Cheshire Homes), a home for handicapped adults. $25,000. 1974 Junior League released from contract.

1972-73   Young People's Theatre, student company $2,800.00

1972-73   $73,101 from the Moyle Estate to Hospital for Sick Children to establish the William Davies Moyle Fellowship.

1972-73   $73,101 from the Moyle Estate to Bloorview Hospital to build the William Davies Moyle memorial pool.

1973-75   Future of Funding - $5,000 to be applied to a 1 1/2-day conference, co-sponsored with the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

1973-75   A.G. Bell Association Regional Conference, $3,000 for conference expenses, co-sponsored with the Metropolitan Association for Hearing Handicapped.

1974-77   T.A.P.P. Training and Prevention Program at the Dellcrest Children's Centre. $25,600 for 18 months. Then $25,600 for another 18 months.

1974-76   Project 1-2-1, $15,000 over 2 years.

1974-78   Community Boards Institute. $5,000 for a one-day seminar in Spring of 1976.

1974-76   Craft Resource Centre - $42,000.

1974-76   Diet Dispensary - $10,000 for 5 Fifty 5 Special Foods Shop; taken over by the Women's Auxiliary of Hospital for Sick Children.

1974-76   EtobiCOPE - $19,000 over 2 years.

1974-77   Transition House - $20,000 over 2 years.

1974-76   York County historical book - $7,000 for a photographer for "Rural Roots".

1975-77   Victoria Day Care Services - $8,950 for a Child Stimulation Program. 1976 - $5,500 for another year.

1976-78   $6,000 to sponsor a community boards training day in fall of 1978.

1976-78   Youth Services Network's Conference on Vandalism and a 3-year follow-up educational program - $5,000. Another $5,000 in 1978. Up to $8,000. of royalties received from "Rural Roots", to the Metro Toronto & Region Conservation Authority. Foundation for the restoration of the Sawmill Owner's House (Sawyers House) on a site in Pioneer Village.

1977-79   "Finding a Better Way" Conference - $4,000 - community boards
training.

1977-80   Delisle House - $10,000 for a day treatment program, 1978 - another $10,000 - for treatment of adolescents with emotional and behavioural problems.

50th Anniversary Project

1977-78   Toronto Rape Crisis Centre - $8,000 for production of a counselling manual for volunteers, to establish a hospital liaison program and a board member.

1977-80   "Toronto with Ease" - $27,000 - guidebook to Metropolitan Toronto establishments for disabled and seniors, distributed for free.
  
1978-80   Planned Parenthood Educational Outreach Project - $19,340.

1978-80   Children's Aid Society Parenting Research and Advocacy Project - $10,200 (P.R.E.P.) - survey of Family Studies Programs in Metro high schools to advocate for parenting education.

1978-79   1979 International Summer Special Olympics.

1979-82   Follow-up conference - "To-day for To-morrow Conference II" - $7,000 - community boards training plus manual on how to set up board of directors.

1979-83   St. John Ambulance Preventative Health Care for Seniors - $25,525 - to set up health care for seniors.

1960’s 

1960-61   Russian on TV - $4,500 in co-operation with the University of Toronto and CBC.

1960-61   Financial and volunteer assistance to organize the Canadian Committee on Early Childhood.

1960-64   Boy's Village - $30,000 over 2 years plus $11,850 to establish a non-resident casework service.

1960-64   $33,000 over 3 years for a school completion program in co-operation with Central Neighbourhood House.

1963-65   $1,700 to co-sponsor - with the Crest Theatre - The Hour Company, formed to dramatize literature on the curriculum of high schools.

1964-69   Centennial Project - $100,000 - Volunteer, administrative and financial participation in a new child and adolescent psychiatric centre, the C.M. Hincks Treatment Centre.

1964-66   National Ballet School Project - volunteer and financial ($19,200) participation.

1966-70   $15,000 over 3 years to Pioneer Village craft project at Black Creek Conservation area.

1966-70   New Horizons for the Inner City Child, a 2 year demonstration at Brant and Niagara Schools - $2,000.

1967-70   Two-year study project on "The Troubled Child", in co-operation with the Ontario Division, Canadian Mental Health Association - $16,000.

1967-69   $5,000 to complete a study of the "Predictability of Success or Failure of Adult Men and Women Placed on Probation", under the direction of Dr. Tadeusz Grygier.

1967-69   $2,500 for a guidebook to Toronto for the handicapped (“Toronto with Ease”).

1967-70   $1,000 to screen newborn infants for the detection of hearing disabilities.

1968-71   Distress Centre - $20,000 over 2 years.

1968-71   Mothers’ Enrichment Program - inner city schools. $1,000 over 2 years.

1968-73   Probation Assistants in juvenile court - $22,500 over 3 years.

1969-72   Marina Lodge, $20,000 over 2 years. Contract was delayed and then cancelled in 1972. Terms not met.

1969-73   Enoch Turner Schoolhouse Restoration $20,000 over 2 years. Delayed until 1971. Extended to 1973.

1950’s

1952-60   Annual sponsorship of New Canadian Service Association, which was amalgamated into International Institute of Metropolitan Toronto in 1956.

1954-58   $4,000 a year for 3 years for an arts and crafts program in the Second Mile Club.

1955-58   A study group on grossly defective children.

1957-58   $12,000 a year for 2 years to co-sponsor the Elizabeth Fry House with the Elizabeth Fry Society.

1957-60   Start of children's matinee performance of National Ballet of Canada, which was taken over by Junior Women's Committee of the National Ballet Guild after 1960.

1957-58   Blood donor pilot blitz for the Red Cross.

1957-58   "Sounds Fun" book on sale.

1958-64   $15,000 a year for 5 years - special lectureship in corrections at the University of Toronto; led to a course in corrections, which became a permanent part of the School of Social Work.

1940’s

1945-46   Children's radio program "Sounds Fun" began; and was taken over by CBC in 1955.

1947-51   $3,600 given to Woodgreen Community Centre, as well as $1,200 yearly until 1951.

1949-53   $58,000 for a cerebral palsy nursery and clinic, taken over by Ontario Society for Crippled Children - 1953.

1930’s

1930-35   Co-operating with existing welfare agencies, the Junior League unemployment exchange opened at Kemp House - $5,500

1930-50   Money provided to Hospital for Sick Children for eyeglasses.

1931-32   $14,000 to Hospital for Sick Children for a therapeutic pool and bed units (new mattresses)

1932-33   Salary paid for full time Occupational Therapist for the wards of Hospital for Sick Children. Junior League financial and volunteer assistance given to the Occupational Therapy Department until 1947.

1935-36   Rehabilitation Casework Department in co-operation with Neighbourhood Workers Association - $1,730. Assistance continued until 1945.

1935-36   $1,072 to open a Junior League demonstration playground at the Church of the Transfiguration, Manor Road East, taken over by a Community Parents Committee in 1936-37.

1936-39   Demonstration playground at Woodgreen United Church in Moss Park district.
1936-40   First Children's Theatre produced.

1938-39   Equipment for therapeutic tank given to Hospital for Sick Children.

1939-45   Special continuous war work undertaken in addition to regular volunteer commitments.

1920’s

1928-30   $275 in 1928-29 and $275 in 1929-30 to Hospital for Sick Children for an occupational therapy department.

 

Past Presidents

2014-2015    Elizabeth Simmie

2013-2014    Selby Kostuik

2012-2013    Nadine Spencer


2011-2012    Cecile Peterkin 


2010-2011    Jonna Smith 


2009-2010    Venise Stuart 


2008-2009    Kelly Koselek 


2007-2008    Elisa McFarlane 


2006-2007    Brenda Hogan  


2005-2006    Ela S. Landegger


2004-2005    Jane Beakbane


2003-2004    Lorie Sikura


2002-2003    Tina Wiebe-Carl


2001-2002    Elizabeth Carter


2000-2001    Lorraine Mellon 


1999-2000    Patricia Hetherington-Keys


1998-1999    Deborah Maw


1997-1998    Joan Crocker


1996-1997    Nancy Love (Mrs. John)


1995-1996    Elizabeth Gray (Mrs. Robert J. K.) 


1994-1995    Cathie Singer (Mrs. Peter D.)


1993-1994    Mary Beadon (Mrs. Richard)


1992-1993    Jennifer Deacon (Mrs. D. Campbell)


1991-1992    Joyce Clark (Mrs. Peter F.)


1990-1991    Karen De Koker (Mrs. Neil)


1989-1990    Jane Clark


1988-1989    Diane Hewitt (Mrs. William E.)


1987-1988    Sharon Moxon (Mrs. David)


1986-1987    Connie Eide (Mrs. Paul A.) 


1985-1986    Arlene Matheson (Mrs. D. C.)


1984-1985    Bette Martin (Mrs. E.W.)


1983-1984    M. Jane Barber (Mrs. T. Michael)


1982-1983    Anna Jane Gilchrist (Mrs. James M.)


1981-1982    Susan Carlisle (Mrs. Donald H.)


1980 -1981   Catherine Knox (Mrs. Douglas E.)


1979-1980    Ann Shaw (Mrs. Robert)


1978-1979    Shirley Allen (Mrs. C. Robert)


1977-1978    Judy Fletcher (Mrs. W. Grant)


1976-1977    Sally DesBrisay (Mrs. John T.)


1975-1976    Dyanne Gibson (Mrs. James G.)


1974-1975    Margaret Paterson (Mrs. William E.)


1973-1974    Barbara Steele (Mrs. Donald R.)


1972-1973    Jeryn McKeown (Mrs. C. Michael)


1971-1972    Mary Louise Clements (Mrs. John B.)


1969-1971    Elspeth Hogg (Mrs. Stanton) 


1967-1969    Elizbeth White (Mrs. Ian C.) 


1965-1967    Deborah Vernon (Mrs. Patrick H.)


1963-1965    Allison Kingsmill (Mrs. W. G.)


1961-1963    Elizabeth Rhind (Mrs. John A.)


1959-1961    Patricia MacKay (Mrs. Stuart)


1957-1959    Phyllis Parker (Mrs. Rex)


1955-1957    Catherine Gaby  Porter (Mrs. R.F.) (Armstrong) (Stahl)


1953-1955    Helen Phelan (Mrs. Paul J.)


1951-1953    Miss Patricia Mabee


1949-1951    Mary Nesbitt (Mrs. W. Rankine) 


1947-1949    (Mrs. Robert Johnston)


1947-1949    Virginia Wilson (Mrs. J. Thomas)


1946-1947    Margaret Godsoe (Mrs. J. Gerald)


1944-1946    Elinor Lind (Mrs. Burns Lind)


1942-1944    Margaret Young (Mrs. Arnold)


1940-1942    Kathleen Milner (Mrs. Arthur)


1938-1940    Miss Betty Long


1936-1938    Agnes Armstrong (Mrs. C.H.A.)


1934-1936    Margaret Meek (Mrs. Halden)


1932-1934    (Mrs. M.L.McWhinney)


1932-1934    Madeline Mara 


1930-1932    Miss Elizabeth Laidlaw


1928-1930    Margaret Rolph (Mrs. Grenville)


1926-1928    Marion Green (Mrs. Bremner)


1926               Miss Elsie Watt