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Generations of supporters gather to celebrate Lansdowne 50th Anniversary

Brantford, ON -  An incredible gathering of past Board Chairs assembled in the lobby of Lansdowne Children’s Centre on April 16th for a small ceremony marking 50 years of supporting the needs of infants, children and youth facing physical, communication and developmental challenges, and their families.


“This gathering brought many familiar founding names and faces, representing decades of Lansdowne leadership. Chairing the board was a wonderful way to contribute to helping our community’s kids and families”.   Scott Lyons, Lansdowne Board Chair 2010- 2012

volunteer board mayor davis brantford lansdowne children's centre
City of Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis and Lansdowne Executive Director Rita-Marie Hadley joined past Lansdowne Board Chairs - spanning five decades of volunteer service - for a photo to mark Lansdowne's 50th anniversary


Lyons is a second-generation Lansdowne leader, following his father Hilton Lyons who chaired the inaugural board when the Centre was incorporated in 1974. Henry Hagey, who chaired the board in 1983-84 was on hand today along with a board chair from each of Lansdowne’s five decades. As past leaders unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the organization’s 50-year milestone, Lansdowne Executive Director Rita-Marie Hadley honoured the contributions of all past board members saying,


Our board leaders helped shape our history and clear the path for Lansdowne’s continued growth. From the first board meeting in 1974, to adding the A.F. Penny Occupational Therapy Wing on Preston Boulevard, to the advocacy that helped open this Mount Pleasant Street site in 1998, to building Lansdowne presence in Haldimand and Norfolk, and recent work towards a new building in Brantford, we cannot thank them enough for the countless volunteer hours sharing expertise and time in governance, strategy and philanthropy.


board members lansdowne children's centre John Bradford Henry Hagey 50th anniversary
Book Ends: Current Board Chair John Bradford with original board member (1974) Henry Hagey, who went on to chair the board 1983-84.

Also on hand were Grand-Erie District School Board representatives, reflecting the agency’s name from when it occupied part of the current Lansdowne-Costain Elementary School.


Rotary Club of Brantford’s current President Mike Mears and in-coming president Eric Sterne were also recognized. For decades before Lansdowne’s incorporation and the formation of the Brant County Parents Council for Cerebral Palsy in 1952, Rotarians have been a constant community ally for children with special needs. In 1923 the Rotary Club of Brantford struck its first Crippled Children’s Committee, going on to generate millions of dollars in donations to support child development locally, including transportation in the 1950s to bring children to medical appointments.


The Rotary Club of Brantford has helped Lansdowne to expand buildings and services through its history, working in partnership to help reach and support more families in need, with the notable 1960 opening of the Rotary Crippled Children Centre at Brantford General Hospital, officiated by Eric Sterne’s grandfather, Ted Sterne. 


Eric’s father, Rick Sterne, was also a longstanding Rotarian and Vice-Chair of Lansdowne’s Board when he died unexpectedly this past December. A month later, Lansdowne received the Ontario government announcement by the Honourable Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, “We are building a new children’s treatment centre right here in Brantford.”


Current Lansdowne Board Chair, John Bradford commented,


“Our Board carries on the commitment of our preceding leaders and founding organizations like Rotary, and we look forward to soon standing in front of a new Lansdowne, knowing what it means to the generations of families and supporters who have contributed to the successful legacy.”


Rotary Club of Brantford and Lansdowne Children's Centre plaque celebrates 50th anniversary
Lansdowne Children's Centre recognizes 50 years of support and partnership with Rotary Club of Brantford, John Bradford, Mike Mears, Rita-Marie Hadley, Eric Sterne

Lansdowne’s 50th anniversary coincides with active planning to construct a purpose-built facility for rehabilitation, respite and recreation services. Since renovating a building on Charing Cross Street to house the Cerebral Palsy Centre in 1952, and each expansion that followed, Lansdowne has accommodated needs within a predetermined space and layout, making this an exciting ground-up opportunity. 


Hadley invited past participants to reconnect during the anniversary year by visiting Lansdowne’s website,


“Lansdowne has been a fixture in our community for generations. This anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the impact made by so many great people, to reconnect with friends and families who have been a part of our history, and to share stories of progress and hope with new neighbours and next generations of families.”


2024 Event dates will include:

·       Sunday June 2 - Join the Lansdowne Cruisers for the 40th annual Rotary Classic Run

·       Sunday June 9 - Join Lansdowne for a day at the ballpark with the Brantford Red Sox

·       Wednesday June 19 - the Lansdowne Annual General Meeting

·       Saturday July 6 - Join the 20th anniversary Lansdowne Charity Motorcycle Ride event

·       Thursday July 18 and Thursday August 1 - Lansdowne will host the City of Brantford Movies In The Square events in Harmony Square

·       July, August and September - Lansdowne will be at Movies in the Park with Brant County

·       A fall Open House at the 39 Mount Pleasant St. site is in the works

·       Saturday October 5 - Join the Lansdowne Heroes Walk and Roll fundraiser event

·       Lansdowne Children’s Centre Foundation is planning a fall gala celebrating the Centre's 50th anniversary.





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