Gay Cowbourne: January 1999

Happy New Year and Happy 50th Anniversary to the CCRA

The CCRA was founded in 1949, by a group of parents from Centennial Road School's Home and School Association. I've often wondered if, just five years after the end of the Second World War, that group of local men and women ever could have imagined the changes that would take place in their neighbourhood over the next fifty years? Could they predict the building of the Highway 2A and the Lawrence bridge over the Highland Creek? Could they picture the widening of their quiet streets and the addition of paved sidewalks? Could they foresee the building of their own high school, the strip malls, the library and Community Centre and the new, huge subdivisions? Could they envision the then distant City of Toronto growing and spreading to encompass their farmland and orchards? Could they guess that their newly formed group, the CCRA, would become the strong voice of this community with such an important role to play for the next 50 years? I doubt it. I don't suppose that they could picture the Centennial Community as it is now, any more than we can envision life as it will be here in 2049.

Admittedly, the quiet, semi-rural community of 1949 is long gone. Yet, within the urban sprawl of Toronto, this area is still a quiet, green, treed corner. We can still find unspoiled riverside trails. We have Lake Ontario on our doorstep and the Highland Creek Ravine in our backyard. We have Adams Park and several smaller parks and parkettes. We have good local schools, a community centre, a library and many sports facilities. We also have the luxury of a relatively easy commute to Downtown Toronto, easy access to the 401 and a short journey to two major shopping centres.

From 1949 to the present, the members of the annual CCRA Executive Committees and a whole army of behind-the-scenes volunteers have given their time and efforts to helping maintain the distinct character of this community. They have worked hard to promote some projects and fought to veto others. They have addressed City Councils and Ontario Municipal Boards. They have planted trees and cleaned up streams. They have planned parades and organized community meetings. They have been the eyes, the ears and the voice of the Centennial Community.

In the December issue of THE NEWS, my predecessor, Joe Pileggi, praised the hard work of the 1998 Executive Committee and the many volunteers. It is with great pleasure that I welcome all of the "Team of '99". I look forward to working with them throughout the year. The dedication, energy, commitment and professionalism of this Executive and the huge volunteer team, truly is second to none. With your help, we will continue to make this community a good place to be.

Gay Cowbourne

(Gay Cowbourne has lived in the Centennial Community since 1991. She previously lived in the West Rouge Community for over 12 years. She has an extensive background in local community affairs, including over 4 years as Secretary of the CCRA Executive; 2 years Mowat School Council; 2 years Waterfront Trail Committee; 2 years Port Union Village Common Committee; CCRA representative on Asbestos in Easement on Manson Land Committee. While living in the West Rouge, Gay volunteered extensively with the Metro Toronto Police Crime Prevention Dept. She co-ordinated the area's Neighbourhood Watch programme, hosted monthly Crime Prevention meetings and wrote regular articles for the WRCA newsletter. She was also actively involved in Save The Rouge Valley System; The Pearse House; Port Union Library Committee for Extended Hours and other volunteer organizations.)