WEPD has a long history as a daycare in this community. We began as a grass roots operation in 1971 when a group of mothers at the West End YMCA, led by Natalina Furfaro, applied for a grant to start a summer day camp program. In the third year, when the funding was in jeopardy, the mothers who worked in the program plus 22 kids took a bus to Ottawa and set up a daycare in the lobby of Parliament. They got the funding!
In 1975 the Centre was officially incorporated though still operated out of the YMCA. Needing more space, they moved into Ossington Old Orchard School in 1981, and then when the daycare continued to grow, moved across the park to our present location which was at that time an annex to the school. We are now separate from the school, although the building itself is still leased from the Toronto District School Board.
What made the daycare special from its start was the idealistic and committed staff who worked co-operatively to create a warm and stimulating environment for the children. In the early days the Centre was known as the “hippy daycare”. Many of the staff had children at the daycare, some of whom later worked there, including Natalina’s daughter Anna who grew up to become a daycare teacher at WEPD for several years and now teaches at Ossington Old Orchard School.
In 1985 new by-laws were adopted and the position of director was created. Parents also took on more responsibility. The staff has been unionized since the early 80’s. The Board of Directors strives to exceed formal and informal guidelines from The Ministry of Education. Our Board consists of parent users of West End Parents Daycare. The Board and staff are committed to providing unique, quality childcare services in the City of Toronto