Community members on the steps of SRCHC

Our History

In 1976, a galvanized group of South Riverdale residents committed to building and sustaining a healthy community. They successfully compelled the Ministry of the Environment to 'get the lead out' of the soil. Advocating for healthy communities was embedded in our collective psych 45 years ago and is still going strong.


The South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) opened its doors at a former police station on Pape Avenue in November 1976. After outgrowing the Pape Avenue facility, SRCHC moved to the current building on Queen Street East in June 1998.

Over the last 45 years, the Centre has increased staffing from three full-time health professionals (two doctors and a nurse practitioner), cleaners and a bookkeeper to more than 200 staff today servicing 14,000 unique clients.

Number of clients on the first day (1976): 4
Average number of encounters per day (2013): 223

Client encounters in 1976/77: 2,850
Client encounters in 2012/13: 80,964  encounters from unique clients

The 70s:

1976 — SRCHC opens and receives its first clients.
1977 — SRCHC first Annual General Meeting is held, with 75 people attending.

The 80s:

1981 — AIDS symptoms are first seen at SRCHC; it is identified as a disease in 1983.
1982 — SRCHC and the City of Toronto carry out Canada’s largest screening for lead levels in blood, testing 2,300 schoolchildren and adults.
1983 — Our first legally recognized chiropodist starts work.

The 90s:

1992 — The Board changes from hands-on to policy-making. It is now compromised of 12 community members.
1993 — The first full year that we have an environmental health promoter.
1998 — SRCHC moves to Queen and Heward, our current location.
1999 — The Health Information Centre opens with mainly volunteer staff. A harm reduction worker develops programs for injection drug users.

The 2000s:

2002 — A breast health program for Chinese women begins, plus a diabetes education network and early-years JumpStart programs for families at risk.
2002 — The Canadian Institute of Health recognizes our work on a training manual on environmental risks during pregnancy. Medicare advocate Roy Romanov receives an Atkinson Foundation award at the Centre.
2005 — The Centre advocates for a bike lane on Dundas Street and starts a bicycle clinic. SRCHC wins the City of Toronto bicycle commuting award.
2007 — COUNTERfit coordinator Raffi Balian receives the national Rolleston Award at the International Conference on Drug-Related Harm in Vancouver.
2007 — SRCHC is a host site for the 16th International AIDS Conference, held in Toronto. Delegations from around the world come to observe our harm reduction program.

The 2010s:

2010 — Healthy Eating for Life, which develops healthy recipes in Chinese and English, receives and award from the Association of Ontario Health Centres as a Model of Care in Health Promotion.
2010 — The COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program received the Jay Browne Living Legacy Award by the Ontario HIV Treatment Network in recognition of excellence, leadership and innovation in the field of HIV/AIDS and to advance the work of community leaders, the award is supporting the development of a memorial project for drug users.
2010 — SRCHC becomes the host site for the Toronto Central LHIN Regional Coordination Centre for diabetes.
2010 — Received the Model of Care Award from the Association of Ontario Health Centres for the Healthy Eating for Life Initiative
2011 — SRCHC opens a satellite office in the Crescent Town/Victoria Village Neighbourhood.
2012 — The Riverdale Food Working Group starts the South Riverdale Good Food Market in partnership with FoodShare Toronto and Queen East Presbyterian Church.
2013 — SRCHC establishes a satellite clinic at the City Adult Learning Center offering primary care and social work supports.
2014 – SRCHC is accredited by the Canadian Centre for Accreditation
2015 – The AOHC recognizes SRCHC’s Sustaining Health Advantage Initiatives (SHAI) with a Community Engagement Award
2016 – SRCHC celebrates its 40th Anniversary. SRCHC’s DECNET program is accredited by the Canadian Diabetes Association. COSTI distinguishes SRCHC for its work with Syrian Newcomers.