The Women Behind Haven Toronto: May Birchard, Founder

May Birchard was one of the first female City Councillors in Toronto and an influential anti-poverty activist.

During WWI, her family moved to Winnipeg where, in the early 30s, she founded The Good Neighbours’ Club. On her return to Toronto, Birchard opened a second location of the Club, now called Haven Toronto.

It is still in operation today on Jarvis Street at Shuter.

May Birchard first served as a Toronto school board trustee in 1942. At the height of the war she pushed for daycare for the children of women helping with the war effort and for free meals for impoverished children.