50th anniversary celebrations at Centennial College!
When Ontario Education Minister William Davis proposed a network of public colleges to help Ontario become more competitive in an increasingly technological world in 1965, a team of local volunteers found an empty radar instrument factory in the east end of Toronto and persuaded the federal government to lease it for a temporary campus.
The inaugural documents were signed in May 1966 and Centennial College, named for the upcoming 100th birthday of Canada, became a reality. It took only four months to transform the plant into the province’s first college campus, but the work wasn’t quite finished. When the doors opened on October 17, 1966, professors had to shout over the noise of jackhammers and drills outside their doors. It was an exciting time.
Centennial’s instructors had been recruited from industry and from other schools to teach applied courses in business, technology, public relations, journalism, welfare services and early childhood education, the disciplines of the emerging service-based economy. For students who previously could only choose between university study and manual labour, Centennial College provided a new path to promising careers.
Centennial leads the Ontario college system by marking its 50th anniversary first, since it opened its doors months before its sister colleges did so in 1967. Centennial celebrated its colourful history with a series of special events in 2016, and right into 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of Ontario’s 24 public colleges.
Paint the Town Green
A major event was Paint the Town Green, a campaign that saw the college close its doors on September 27, so thousands of students, faculty and staff to fan out across the city and lend a hand with environmental initiatives like planting trees, removing trash from waterways, nature trails and playgrounds, painting fixtures and beautifying 11 large Toronto parks.
At the same time, the Paint the World Green initiative prompted Centennial’s partner schools in China, Korea, India, Turkey, Panama, Brazil and other countries release their students so they could make meaningful contributions in their own communities. Why green? It’s the predominant colour of Centennial’s logo, which was worn by every volunteer all over the world that day. To mark the occasion, Toronto’s CN Tower was even lit up in Centennial green for all to see that night.
Fifty Years Bolder celebrations
Over 800 employees, students, alumni, retirees and special guests came together at the new Centennial Residence and Culinary Arts Centre to mark 50 years of success and growth with the Fifty Years Bolder celebrations on October 28. The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, cut the ribbon to officially open the gleaming $90-million addition to Progress Campus.
As part of our anniversary events, Centennial College welcomed author and broadcaster Steve Paikin at a special campus event on March 22, and professor, author and Libris Non-Fiction Award recipient Ted Barris on April 5.