Independent Living Waterloo Region (ILWR) has a long and rich history in our community.
Originally named the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region (ILCWR), it was founded in 1982 by the Mennonite Central Committee. The organization came together under the direction of Henry Enns, a social worker and wheelchair-user, who was a pioneer when it came to the rights of people with disabilities. His focus was on self-direction and accessibility; which remain at the core of the organization today.
ILWR is proud to be part of the Independent Living movement in Canada. Here are some key highlights from our journey.
Our early years
- Local leaders, including Henry Enns, establish the first Independent Living Centre of Canada in Waterloo Region
- ILCWR opens at Erb Street Mennonite Church in Waterloo
- Kids on the Block, an inclusive puppet show, educates children throughout the region on accessibility and disabilities
- Our first Assisted Living site, Mooregate, opens
- Outreach program launches, providing attendant services in consumer homes throughout the region
- ILCWR helps found The Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres
- Shamrock Assisted Living site opens
- University of Waterloo students, along with ILCWR, successfully advocate for another Assisted Living site on Albert Street
- Kiwanis Village Assisted Living site opens
- ILCWR is selected as the Administrative office for the Direct Funding program in Central-Southwest Ontario
2000 to 2019
- ILCWR Administration office moves to its current location on Victoria Street South, Kitchener
- ILCWR assumes operation of Tournament of Hope Golf Classic, continuing to raise and distribute funding for equipment purchases
- Linden Assisted Living site opens
- Consumer Advisory Council is created as a pathway for communication with and to provide feedback to management and the Board of Directors
2020 to present
- ILCWR manages challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic
- ILCWR announces its name change to Independent Living Waterloo Region (ILWR)
- ILWR celebrates its 40th anniversary
We look forward to our next 40 years of growth and achievement in Waterloo Region.