Our History

South Gate Centre can trace its roots back to 1955 with the establishment of Woodstock’s very first Senior Citizen’s Club, under the direction of Mrs. Alice Thomson. She believed seniors should have a “home away from home” which also provided the sense of dignity and satisfaction that came from helping others. The local YMCA and the Moose Hall took turns hosting those first monthly meetings.

A small bungalow on Finkle Street became the first designated drop-in Centre in 1960. A move to a new location on Dundas Street followed in 1972 when the membership out grew Finkle Street. By 1982, membership had increased to the point where the very first paid Executive Director was hired. A full-time secretary joined the Director the following year.

As membership climbed to 800, it was necessary to look for a new site once again. After a few years of scouting, we made our way to our current location at 191 Old Wellington Street South!

Our membership pre-COVID was still over the 800 mark and we found that we were “bursting at the seams” once again as we grew and enhanced our programs and services. This is such a wonderful testament to continuing the commitment first made by Mrs. Thomson to create a place where people could feel at home and could have a sense of dignity and satisfaction that comes from helping others!

As we move into 2022, we have an active membership of 350+, we expecting to surpass 1,600 members following the expansion and renovation of the Centre.

Black and white photograph of Mrs. Alice Thomson founder of the first Senior's Centre in Woodstock, Ontario.