A short history of the Algonquin Island Association (AIA)
The first houses on Algonquin Island were floated down by barge from Hanlan’s Point in 1938, and were placed around the periphery of the Island. The houses on the interior streets were later built after WWII, when many returned veterans used their housing grants to build a home. By 1949, most of the 110 lots on Algonquin were taken.
As many Algonquin residents began to stay in their homes over the winter a vibrant community formed, holding bridge parties, skating parties on the lagoon, and other social events. They built an AIA clubhouse in 1950. This building immediately became the focus of community life, hosting a New Year’s Dance, a bridge club, a garden club, a drama society, badminton, yoga, and dance classes. In 1964, a regular play program for moms and preschoolers was also set up at the AIA (early beginnings of the Waterfront Montessori that continues to thrive today).
In June 1989 the AIA clubhouse burned to the ground in a tragic fire. However, committees were immediately formed to rebuild the AIA, as a huge co-operative effort. By the end of 1990, the new clubhouse was in full use. Since then, it has been used by the entire Island community as a winter community centre, holding a wide range of activities: an annual Christmas Boutique of Island handicrafts, a Valentine Dance, a New Year’s Dance, yoga, dancing classes, cooking classes for kids, book readings, film nights, poker, euchre, and dart tournaments and more.
In the summer months, the Island community shifts its location over to the Ward’s Island Association clubhouse (WIA) for organized community fun. During the prime summer months, the beautiful AIA clubhouse is available to city folks for weddings, reunions, private celebrations, retreats and seminars. Torontonians are welcome to enjoy this wonderful facility, situated amid acres of pristine parkland with the most gorgeous skyline patio.