Women In Crisis opened its first Home at 123 March Street in March, 1979 thanks to the tireless dedication and efforts of Tony van den Bosch and Terry Shamess and the people who supported them through this process.

The first Ontario shelter had opened in Toronto in 1973. Women In Crisis was approximately the 9th of the over 150 shelters which eventually came into existence in our province. There are now 500+ shelters providing services to abused women and their children throughout Canada. In the 1970’s, this was an entirely new service modality, its client needs had received no recognition, and no governmental support was available for this issue.


The Home accommodated twelve (12) residents – women and children. Services were shelter, a telephone crisis line and walk-in services to women with or without children who were victims of abuse. The walk-in and telephone crisis line annually served hundreds of women from the community. The staff complement was minimal. Funding was unstable, reliant on a one-time grant after another. Closure of the organization was frequently imminent. The need for Shelter and support services was relentless. The need quickly and increasingly out-grew the organization’s capacity to meet the community’s service needs.

In January 1991, after four (4) years since application to the Ministry of Housing and a myriad of meetings and mounds of paperwork, the new twenty-four (24) bed Home on Oakland Avenue was opened. The budget had stabilized years later with permanent annualized funding from MCSS. The move saw the budget and staff complement doubled.