Owl Child Care Services, since 1981

In 1981, Louise DeCorso and Chris Finlay realized a dream when they opened their first licensed child care centre at Forest Hill Public School. This was the beginning of Owl Child Care Services of Ontario. Over the next 35+ years, Owl's business grew and expanded as centres were added or relocated. From a small private company to a non-profit, registered charity, Owl quickly grew into one of the largest centre-based child care agencies in the Waterloo Region.

From the beginning, the focus was on quality child care that enables Learning, Caring, Sharing and Growing!

Click on our interactive timeline below to learn more about where Owl came from!

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Members Approve Future Name Change

After extensive research and collaboration, the members approved a special resolution to change the name of the corporation to RisingOaks Early Learning Ontario. The transition to the new name will take place throughout 2020, with a public launch in spring of 2021. Visit OwlChildCare.org/Rebranding for more information.

Expansion Underway

Eight centres operating, including new location in Ayr. Also operating 11 Youth Development programs within the Waterloo Regional District School Board.

☆ Owl Becomes a Federal NFP Corporation

At the Annual General Meeting on April 11, 2017, the members authorized the Board of Directors to shift Owl's incorporation from the provincial jurisdiction to the federal jurisdiction under Canada's Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. On June 15, 2017, Owl received its new Certificate of Continuance classifying it as a federal corporation. While the name Owl Child Care Services of Ontario continues to be used, legally, it is now a new corporation. Under the new corporation, there is one class of membership. Individuals are required to have the following qualifications to be considered for Membership: (a) the individual must be either a director in the corporation or be interested in furthering the Corporation’s Objects and has a child in his or her care and custody who is enrolled in at least one (1) of the Corporation’s programs; and (b) the person is not under the age of eighteen (18) years; and (c) the individual has applied for and been accepted into Membership by Resolution of the Board or in such other manner as determined by the Board.

☆ Setting the Future Direction

The Board of Directors approves a new strategic plan that focuses on Achieving our Potential and Advocating for Children. Underlying these strategic pillars is a goal to strengthen Owl's brand.

☆ Expansion Plan Approved

Owl commissions an expansion feasibility study to look at opportunities and risks related to expansion across southwestern Ontario. In May 2016, the Board of Directors approves an Expansion Plan to add six centres by 2021 across 4 regions.
2014 - 2016

☆ A new strategic plan

Owl embarks on a new strategic plan with a focus on expansion and government relations

☆ Modernization of Child Care

The Government of Ontario repeals the decades old Day Nurseries Act and passes the new Child Care & Early Years Act. How Does Learning Happen is introduced as Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years.

☆ Growing needs

A strategic look at Owl's resources saw a decline in the use of the Creative Learning Station due to competition with the Professional Resource Centre at Conestoga College. Resource needs were identified in other areas. As a result, the Creative Learning Station closed in 2014. Dollars were reallocated to hire part-time supports for marketing and human resources.

☆ Changing Needs

Due to an aging building and changing demographics, the Owl-Chiopee centre is closed. Many families transfer to Owl's newest centre co-located at Saint John Paul II Catholic School. With the Chicopee location closing, Owl's Administration Office is moved to southwest Kitchener on Washburn Drive. The new office includes space for a Creative Learning Station that offers curriculum planning support and professional development for educators.

☆ Professional College

The Government of Ontario establishes the College of Early Childhood Educators. Owl's educators are excited to be recognized as a regulated profession and seek registration with the College.

☆ Program closes

After years of struggling enrolment, the after school program at Lexington Public School closes due to low enrolment.

☆ 1st centre in Cambridge

Owl opens a new centre in Cambridge, co-located at the newly renovated Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School. Due to rising commercial rents, Owl's Northland centre relocates to Lincoln Road on the property of the Lincoln Road Chapel.

☆ Program Evaluation & Expansion

The after school program at Sir Edgar Bauer closes due to low enrolment. Owl's location on Fischer-Hallman relocates to the new John Sweeney Catholic School with an expanded capacity.

☆ Expansion in Waterloo

Owl's centre on Westmount Road closes due to low enrolment. Despite this, Owl continues to expand in Waterloo with the addition of two new centres co-located in Catholic schools (Owl- St. Luke, Owl-St. Nicholas )

☆ Growth in after school programs

The board approves the creation of two satellite after school programs at Lexington Public School and Sir Edgar Bauer Catholic School. Owl ends its partnership to deliver the Home Child Care program due to partner relations.

☆ Charities Act Registration

Owl's board of directors is succession in its application to become a registered charity. Programs are expanded at Owl-Chicopee and Owl-St. Matthew. The board enters into a partnership to deliver a Home Child Care program with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation /

☆ New Centre in WCDSB school

Owl opens the first co-located centre within the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Centre at St. Matthew CES. The Executive Director and support team move into a new Administration Office.

☆ Board growth

Board increased its membership to 15 directors

☆ 1st infant program added

Owl-University moves to a new centre on Northland Drive. An infant program is added to the new site.

☆ Centre relocation

Owl's Stanley Park location moves to Chicopee Park Plaza to better serve the community.

☆ Incorporation (Ontario)

Owl is officially incorporated and gets a new name: Owl Child Care Services of Ontario. In doing so, the new board of directors, led by President Don Kennedy, acquired Owl's centres and programs from the four owners. Three of the four owners became employees of the new not-for-profit - Louise as Executive Director, Glenyce as bookkeeper and Kim as centre supervisor.

☆ Relocation to better serve children

Owl's centre at Forest Hill Public School was relocated to Forest Hill United Church to better serve the community. The owners of Owl began researching the requirements to convert Owl from a for-profit to a not-for-profit agency.

☆ 4th centre added

Owl's 4th centre opened on University Ave in shared space with KW Habilitation Services. Kim Smola-Harburn was the supervisor of this centre and at this time joined Louise, Chris and Glenyce as an owner of Owl.

☆ 3rd centre added

A new centre was added at Stanley Park Baptist Church. Glenyc Maus joined the partnership at this time and took over accounting for Owl's 3 centres.

☆ 2nd centre added

Owl's second centre, called Owl-Fisher, opened at Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the corner of Fischer-Hallman and Greenbrook in Kitchener.

☆ Owl is born!

Louise DeCorso and Chris Findlay opened their first child care centre at Forest Hill Public School. They called it Owl Day Care.

Get In Touch

At Owl, one of our guiding principles is to conduct our business in a manner that fosters and promotes effective 2-way communication between all stakeholder groups.

Looking for information? Have a question or suggestion?

Members, potential members who are looking for child care, suppliers, and others are encouraged to use our Contact Us form below.

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Support Owl

As a non-profit, registered charity, Owl Child Care Services welcomes charitiable donations.

Through Canada Helps, you can set up a secure, online donation. Make a one-time donation or set up a recurring donation.

Click on the button below to make your donation now.