The Who, Why, Where and When of The Society
This 45 page booklet above was created by many of the founding and other members in 2013 as a community development initiative funded mainly through a grant from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program. The work was assisted in partnership with Toronto Inter-generational Partnerships to recognize the Irish heritage within our club aided by youth volunteers from Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute.
The booklet explains in depth the start of the society. Also contained are thirteen personal stories from the members that cover events both from home 'across the pond' and their new homes here in Canada. Some will make you cry, some with laughter but they are personal stories told of a transition recognizing the new world they came to but never forgetting the old. A "must read".
Copies of the booklet are available through our Secretary, a small donation to the Society to cover postage & expenses [$5 suggested] will assist us in our continuing work.
It all started when...
In 1991 Pat Rooney (now Past President) went to Ireland on holidays, on his return he found out that his best friend died alone here in Toronto. This concerned Pat very much that no one in the Irish community knew of this untimely death and he then dedicated his life to make sure "No Irish person should die alone". With this he called on his retired friends to come together to form a club that would primarily take care of isolated seniors. With his social contacts and organizational skills a committee (see booklet for details) was formalized by Pat and then in 1996 followed the Society under non-profit charity rules in the Province of Ontario. In 1998 the Society was able to secure rental space for a drop-in centre at 324 Danforth Avenue, Toronto and the official opening was held on 27th October,1998.
The founding committee members consisted of Rita Adams, Henry Grimes, Agatha Hamilton, John Kearney, Eileen Keogh, Lily Maguire, Imelda O'Flynn (RIP), Helen O'Regan together with Betty and Pat Rooney who was elected President.
So many Corporations, Unions and individuals were deserving of thanks for the initial support that there are too many to mention here however all are contained in the booklet, "Memory Project".
The drop-in centre stayed in operation for about 5 years until the building was sold forcing the Society to take up temporary residence on Sherbourne Street for a further 4 years until moving to their own rented building at the corner of Greenwood Avenue at Danforth Avenue. The Society remained there fulfilling their goals until late in 2015 when they again, forced due to pending sale of the premises, moved to the current location on Danforth Avenue, Toronto.
In the years since 1991 Pat Rooney together with all the members, past and current, are achieving what the Irish are known for, "gaol teaghlaigh láidir", strong family relationships.