Excerpted from the article
September 2019 marks fifty years since the establishment of the Campus Community Co-Operative Day Care Centre on the University of Toronto campus. Several members of the Rise Up organizing group were involved in the Centre in its early days (and since), making this an issue and anniversary particularly dear to our hearts.
In Judy Rebick’s Ten Thousand Roses, Sarah Spinks describes the Centre’s origins in a “feminist group that met once a week or so” to talk “about feminist theory, and some of us just got tired of talking.” They negotiated with the University of Toronto for a space on campus, but when that didn’t work out, they simply found a place, paid for the rental (at 12 Sussex Avenue) and the Campus Community Co-operative Day Care was born.
Throughout Spinks’ account, and in other descriptions of the early days of the Centre, what emerges is the ground-up way that the centre was organized, and the commitment to simply sorting out an ethical, collective, cooperative approach to childcare that would “break down the nuclear family and the gender roles on which it was built.” This included a conscientious approach to providing childcare that relied on community, “bringing parents, volunteers and children into a social and communal experience with each other” through the collective provision of care. Bi-weekly meetings enabled ongoing decision-making, and parents provided care for a half-day a week (or equivalent service). And if the memories people have been sharing for the Centre’s anniversary are any indication, the community-building efforts were immensely successful.