IODE in Ontario
Ontario chapters began forming in 1900. They provided clothing and amenities to Canadians serving in the Boer War and continued the tradition during World War I. In 1920 the Provincial Chapter, with headquarters in Hamilton, received its charter.
Municipal chapters are located in Chatham-Kent, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Sarnia-Lambton and Toronto. In 2004 one primary chapter celebrated its 104th anniversary and several have passed 90 years of service. Early projects included services for veterans and immigrant families. Chapters erected War Memorial monuments that continue to be cared for today.
In the first two decades, chapters concentrated on establishing hospitals. Due to the prevalence of tuberculosis, sanatoria were given priority. Toronto IODE established the first preventorium in North America in 1912. When it closed 50 years later, the land was leased allowing IODE to be a founding member of North York General Hospital, with the IODE Children's Centre as a distinctive unit. Many hospitals across Ontario were founded by IODE. Members remain committed to enhancing patient care.
A Coronation Bursary was inaugurated in 1937. Later it became the Lucy Morrison Memorial Fund for Education, named for a long-serving Provincial President. It still provides financial help to post-secondary students.
The war years brought out the best in Ontario members. They knitted, sewed, rolled bandages and contributed significantly to the purchase of aircraft, naval vessels and ambulances. They were tireless! In the post-war period, education and citizenship programs focused on integrating immigrants into Canadian society. IODE volunteers played a major role in programs such as English as a Second Language, Meals-on-Wheels and Girl Guides.
Two projects were initiated in 1973, building a community hall in Attawapiskat on James Bay and providing an anti-VD program to the public.
In 1975 the Provincial Chapter established genetic counselling initiatives through its Concern for Children program. Many proved so significant they were taken over by the provincial government. IODE funded genetic counselling clinics in six northern communities, the IODE Genetic Resource Centre at University Hospital, London, Canadian Directory of Genetic Support Groups, a web site and an interactive display at Science North, Sudbury. Recently funded research projects include pilot studies of Mutation Identification for Retinoblastoma Patients and Awareness of Pre-Pregnancy Folic Acid Supplementation in Ontario Women. An aquarium was recently donated for the waiting room of the Genetics Clinic at North York General Hospital, Toronto. The aquarium will entertain children and their parents while they are waiting for their appointments.
The Provincial Chapter was a founding partner of the Enrichment Computer Camp for Communication Exceptionalities, a two-week camp for profoundly deaf and learning-disabled children. Members have given a winterized cabin, yak boards, specialized kayaks, a giant weatherproof teepee, camper T-shirts and playground equipment to Camp Trillium, a camp for children with cancer and their families.
The Provincial Chapter of Ontario IODE Police Community Relations Award is presented annually to a member of the Ontario Provincial Police. Primary and municipal chapters honour local police and firefighters. Welcoming new Canadians at citizenship courts is a popular IODE service. Flags of all sizes are given to children, classrooms, new Canadians and cenotaphs.
Yearly awards are given for studies in Early Childhood Education, Applied Ecology, Library and Information Science and Music Performance, and at The National Ballet School and the Ontario College of Art and Design. A scholarship fund has been endowed at Nipissing University for a sociology student. The provincial packing room receives and distributes sweaters, toques, mitts and scarves knit with love. 'Toys For the North', `Footwear for Kids', dental kits and personal hygiene bags are also shipped to children in remote and First Nations communities. Members enjoy adopting schools and classes in Northern Ontario and Labrador.
Visit the website of the Provincial Chapter IODE Ontario.