History of Developmental Services

The Rideau Regional Centre celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2001. To mark the occasion, staff produced the Rideau Regional Centre Memory Book 1951-2001. At that time, the facility had 459 residents and 709 full-time employees.

The following facts and figures are taken from this publication. Although the information is specific to the Rideau Regional Centre, it shows the amount of work that went into operating one of Ontario's facilities for people with a developmental disability.


In 1972, staff with the assistance of residents, washed 4.5 million pounds of laundry. That amounted to 43 tons of laundry each week. The laundry department had 60 employees who worked an eight-hour day, five days a week. Every week, the laundry used:

  • 200,000 gallons of soft water
  • 700 pounds of soap
  • 200 pounds of soda, and
  • 14 gallons of bleach.

Each week the laundry washed:

  • 20,000 pounds of clothes belonging to the residents, and
  • 68,000 pounds of 27,000 sheets, 3,750 pillow slips, 26,400 bath towels, 50,000 diapers, 7,000 tea towels and 1,500 thermal blankets.

Food services

Staff of the food services department prepared food, cooked the meals, washed dishes and provided nutritional counselling for each resident. From 1951 to 2001, staff, with the assistance of residents, prepared more than 77,000,000 meals for residents.


The Rideau Regional Centre, like many facilities, had a working farm which produced food for the residents and staff of the facility.

In 1971, the garden produced 433.5 tons of vegetables including:

  • 9,000 bags of potatoes
  • 10,000 early cabbages
  • 2,000 mid-summer cabbages
  • 2,500 lettuces, and
  • 3,500 tomato plants.

In 1971, the facility had 80 acres under cultivation as well as 2,500 square feet of hot house space.

Staff, with the assistance of residents, also maintained:

  • 114 acres of lawns
  • 8,020 square feet of flower beds, and
  • 11,980 square feet of shrubbery.


The transportation department maintained 30 vehicles - vans, cars, buses and trucks. Staff averaged 450,000 kms per year taking residents to medical appointments and to various activities in the community.

Recreation and physical training

Staff of the recreation and physical training program encouraged residents to get involved in all kinds of activities from swimming to ping-pong, from card games to summer-time picnics. Rideau Regional Centre boasted a swimming pool, gymnasium and an outdoor artificial ice rink during the winter.


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