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 History of the Cummings Centre

National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) conducts a survey and establishes a need for the first senior citizens’ club.
1951 - 1961
A budget of $75 is made available for the first seniors’ club. Over a 10-year period, clubs continue to expand in synagogues throughout Montreal.
1954 Florence Kirshner becomes first Executive Director of the Golden Age Association (GAA)
1962 GAA established the first senior citizen's camp at the Laurentian Fresh Air Camp.
1963 - 1964
Golden Age Association is recognized as a constituent agency of Allied Jewish Community Services (AJCS), now known as Federation CJA.
GAA, funded by AJCS, opens its doors in a rented duplex on Cote St. Catherine Road and Victoria Avenue.
GAA relocates to occupy half a floor in the AJCS building.
1975 - 1977 GAA establishes the Cote St. Luc Senior Social Club ... The first senior citizen community garden project is started on land donated by the Jewish General Hospital ... The first Jewish foster home for seniors (Vatikim) is established at Camp B'nai Brith.
A donation from the Cummings family makes it possible to construct a separate structure for the GAA on Westbury Avenue.
1979 - 1982 GAA establishes a programming department caled Learn and Live 50+ ... GAA assumes responsibility for coordinating kosher meals on wheels.
1983 - 1984
The Community Development Department is created to establish Mini- Centres in communities such as Cote St. Luc, Chomedey, Saint-Laurent and Dollard-des-Ormeaux. The main building undergoes a major expansion to double its floor space.
Jewish Support Services for the Elderly (JSSE), a constituent agency of Federation CJA, begins to provide services to frail seniors and their families.
The Centre for Creative Lifestyles opens its doors to challenge the 50+ community of Montreal to become involved in programs and seminars designed to enhance their lifestyles ... The Home Care Team is relocated from Baron de Hirsch to JSSE to provide a full range of services to seniors living at home.
The Maurice Gross Family Foundation makes it possible to expand and enhance the Wellness Centre programs which were launched in 1992 to promote the role of fitness for a healthy lifestyle.
The Maurice Pollack Family Foundation makes it possible to expand and enhance the Craft Centre ... The Westmount Mini-Centre is launched at Temple Emanuel Beth Sholom.
JSSE marks its 10th anniversary – what began as an intake, home care, and transportation service had grown into a social service agency which provides a wide spectrum of support services in the community.
JSSE and GAA merge to become one - the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors (Cummings Centre), an agency at work for all seniors age 50 and over ... Cummings Centre is one of 20 organizations presented with the Hommage bénévolat Québec prize awarded by the provincial government to honor volunteer involvement.
The Chaplaincy Program, providing a wide range of spiritual and religious services for the community, joins the agency.
Cummings Centre begins a major renovation project to continue to be able to best serve its ever-growing membership ... A Survivor's Assistance Office, the first of its kind in Canada, is established to provide Holocaust survivors and their families with information and access to compensation and restitution programs.
Cummings Centre launches its first annual Mini-Med School, for individuals interested in learning more about medicine ... CJCS Foundation launches a new Governor's campaign, offering another way of supporting the Centre.
Cummings Centre announces the creation of its Foundation to oversee all aspects of fundraising for the Centre.
2005 Cummings Centre hosts the first Sports Celebrity Breakfast which features celebrity sports personalities from today and yesteryear ... A new and exciting four-part Mini-Law Program is launched with lectures specifically designed to teach the general public about the law profession and related legal issues ... The Good Luck Club, one of the biggest clubs at Cummings Centre, celebrates 40 years of existence.
2006 The Life Options Initiative, a new division of the Cummings Centre, launches its new program for the nearly and newly retired.
2007 Chai Sépharade and le Bel Âge merge to form a new department, le Cercle Francophone Sépharade, to be housed at the Cummings Centre ... Prime Time, a new division of the Cummings Centre for the greater West Island community, promotes its fall programs by offering a wide range of educational opportunities including a mini-med school ... Cummings Centre re-launches its Chomedey mini-centre at a public information session at the Young Israel of Chomedey Synagogue.
2008 For the first time since it was established, the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors updates its logo to better reflect its development, its profile, its values and its place within the 50 plus community in the greater Montreal area and its suburban communities ... Cummings Centre inaugurates its expanded Adapted Exercise Program, offering several specialized classes to seniors with neuromuscular conditions
The Canadian Red Cross, in partnership with Cummings Centre, announces the official opening of the first Holocaust Survivors’ Tracing Centre in Canada ... CJCS Foundation participates in the “Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal & 5K” ... Cummings Centre launches “In the City,” a unique volunteer based initiative, in collaboration with Temple Emanu-El Beth Sholom ... Cummings Centre announces a new program for seniors with Parkinson’s disease.
2010 Cummings Centre celebrates 50 + years of service to the community. Over 700 attend a community wide celebration held at the Centre. A seniors’ health promotional symposium is organized for health and social service professionals from across Quebec.
2011 The Annual Craft Sale celebrates its 20th year ... Cummings Centre becomes a representative of Project HEART (Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce), an undertaking of the Jewish Agency in co-operation with and funded by the government of Israel.
2012 SIMPLY SOUP, a 140 page hardcover cookbook, is produced by the CJCS Foundation.


The Cummings Centre officially launches its long awaited newly renovated facility at a ribbon cutting ceremony held at its main campus. The occasion showcases many new areas of the Centre including a new Tech Lounge, state-of-the-art adapted program areas and a bistro style cafeteria. 


Cummings Centre

The Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors, “Cummings Centre,” distinguishes itself as a true community centre of excellence and proud Jewish organization embracing its heritage and enthusiastically welcoming people of all backgrounds. As the hub of Montreal’s 50+ community, the Centre touches the lives of 10,000 people on an annual basis.

From its humble origins in a rented duplex, the Cummings Centre has transformed itself into one of Montreal’s most important agencies for the 50+ community. The Centre’s early roots began with a 1949 survey regarding Jewish seniors, conducted by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). The results of the survey indicated a strong need to create a senior citizens club. The Golden Age Program was then initiated by the NCJW to provide social and recreational activities for older Jewish persons. Between 1951 and 1961 Golden Age Clubs were introduced in synagogues throughout Montreal with budgets of only $75.

In the mid 1960’s the Golden Age Association (GAA), recognized and funded by then Allied Jewish Community Services (AJCS), welcomed the Jewish senior community by opening a senior centre in a duplex. Within just one year the centre became so popular and crowded that additional funding was needed to relocate to a larger space. In 1973, the Centre moved into new quarters on the second floor of the AJCS building (now Federation CJA).

With membership, programs and participation continuing to grow, the agency became a fixture of the Jewish community. In 1978 the Cummings Family generously funded the construction of a new facility, the centre’s main location at 5700 Westbury Avenue.

In the following years, the Golden Age Association experienced a series of developments thanks to generous contributions. Between 1994 and 1998, the Wellness Centre and the Craft Centre program underwent huge expansions and gradually, mini-centres and clubs opened throughout the greater Montreal area. A Drop-in Centre for Holocaust survivors was inaugurated in 1997.

In February 2000, Jewish Support Services for the Elderly (JSSE) merged with the GAA and the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors was born. That same year it was one of only 20 organizations in the province to receive the Hommage Bénévolat-Québec prize from the Government of Quebec in recognition of the involvement, energy and generosity of its volunteers. The Centre was also presented with the Combined Jewish Appeal Award for Community Service, an honour that recognized superior initiative and achievement in the advancement of local community service.

In 2002, the Cummings Centre underwent a major renovation project with the help of the community to the tune of $3.5 million. This expansion saw a more modern space to continue to provide innovative programs and services for Montreal’s 50+ community.

In 2004, The Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors Foundation was established to oversee all aspects of fundraising for the Centre.

In 2007, le Bel Âge was welcomed to the Centre to join an already vibrant department offering the 50+ Francophone community even more exciting programs, services and volunteer opportunities.

The Cummings Centre’s rich history is crucial to understanding just how important it is in the community, how far the agency has come, and how it will continue to grow. The Cummings Centre, a constituent Agency of FEDERATION CJA, connects people 50 years of age and older to the arts, education, health and wellness. The Agency is committed to enhancing the quality of life of the individual and promotes positive attitudes about aging. It emphasizes volunteer involvement in all aspects of Agency life.

Successful aging combines stimu­lation for both the mind and body. The Centre offers more than 300 programs each season specifically designed for the 50+. A varied roster of educational and stimulating courses speaks to the vibrancy of the Centre and its commitment to embracing this age demographic. Pro­grams are designed for members to continually challenge themselves by learning, experiencing and sharing.

The Cummings Centre provides the oppor­tunity to stay active and connected through its many volun­teer opportunities. The Centre boasts a volunteer corps of 900 who are involved in all aspects of Agency life and are instrumental to the vibrancy and growth of the Centre. Volunteers play an integral role in the day-to-day functioning and success of the Centre. Working hand in hand with professional staff, members and clients, they find great fulfilment in their roles motivating participants through their exercise routines, planning events or using their business acumen for stra­tegic committee work.

The newly renovated main campus building in 2014 includes a state-of-the-art wellness centre and workout facility, a fully equipped art studio, a computer tech centre, meeting rooms, cafeteria and more. Adapted programming is also available providing in­novative art, fitness and social programs for individual’s recovery from surgery, with mobility problems and movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, post-stroke and Multiple Sclerosis.

Additionally, a Social Services Department aims to enhance the quality of life of older adults and their families through the provision of a full spectrum of programs and services that support aging with dignity and maximizing independence. The Centre provides an extensive range of community social services including a mental health program, a day program for individuals with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, kosher Meals on Wheels, homecare and transportation. The Cummings Centre also supports Montreal's population of Holocaust Survivors which is significantly funded by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.  

To learn more about the many unique opportunities at the Cummings Centre call 514.342.1234 or consult our web site at




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