About the CILC

Who We Are

The Children's International Learning Centre was established on October 24, 1970, as a volunteer project of the Hamilton-Wentworth United Nations Association. It is a not-for-profit charitable organization supported by volunteers, memberships, donations, grants and admissions.


A world of care and respect for all people and our environment.

The City of Hamilton and the Children’s International Learning Centre are situated on the traditional territory of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Mississauga Nations. This land is covered by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt, which was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and the Anishinaabek  to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Purchase, 1792, between the Crown and  the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

This land acknowledgement marks an important step in the process of Truth and Reconciliation, honouring the land and becoming better informed neighbours and partners.


Promote respect for diversity and awareness of our world community through guided discovery and interactive artistic programmes.

Smiling Boy
Governance Excellence Award
Cowan Foundation and Capacity Canada - Governance Excellence Award

Our Approach

The Children's International Learning Centre is a not-for-profit organization supported by volunteers, membership fees, grants, donations, fundraising and admissions.

Registration Charity # 13042 1456 RR0001

History of the Children's International Learning Centre

Celebrating 50 Plus Years!

The CILC was established in Hamilton, on October 24, 1970, to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the United Nations. The CILC, housed in a single room and requiring untold volunteer hours to set up temporary displays in schools and libraries, dreamed of acquiring artifacts from every continent.

Class Visits

In January 1972, the CILC received the official approval of the Director of Education for Hamilton Public Schools for classes to visit. For many years, school classes and community groups visited the CILC in a permanent space at the MacNab St. YWCA. By 1990, the Children's International Learning Centre, had grown to be a free-standing not-for-profit organization with its own Board of Directors and was working from its own suite at 100 James St. S., using artifacts from over 92 countries, to produce interactive educational programming for all ages.

  • 1970 - CILC began as an Information Centre on Children's Cultures
  • 1972 - Official approval of the Director of Education for Hamilton Public Schools for classes to visit the Centre in the YWCA
  • 1988 - Incorporated as The Children's International Learning Centre (Hamilton) and granted a charity registration number
  • 1990 - Opened location at 100 James St. South, Hamilton from 1990 - 2000 (leased)
  • 2001 to present - Operating continuously at 189 King William St, Hamilton.
  • 2017 – Designed a new logo
  • 2017 – Created a vision statement to reflect the growth of the CILC since its humble beginnings
Board of Directors

The CILC has a Board of Directors, with a maximum of 15 members, which meets once a month. The Board uses a governance model and members also serve on one or more CILC committees.

Patron Organization of the LGO

The CILC is a patron organization of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt

The Lieutenant Governor plays a key role in supporting outstanding contributions to
civil society. To this end, the Lieutenant Governor from time to time grants viceregal
patronage to organizations and initiatives, lending them vital support and recognition.

The CILC is lucky to be one of fifty organizations across Ontario honoured in this way.

Meet the Team

The late Sheila Davies



Lana Lowe

Executive Director

Eleanor Chithalen




Cynthia Holder 

Client Relationship Executive who works for Manulife Financial, a leading international financial services group.

Cynthia was drawn to the CILC because its programs promote diversity and highlight the similarities in our human experiences.

As Maya Angelou said, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike”. 



Sanjum Hunjan

First-year medical student at McMaster University and recent graduate of the Biomedical Discovery & Commercialization undergraduate programme.

Has been involved with the CILC since 2019. A passionate and engaged member of the community who actively contributes to promoting diversity and equity within all domains of Hamilton and area.

Portrait of Janet Liu

Janet Liu

Current CILC Treasurer, associate at TD Securities, and an MBA graduate from DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University.

Janet has been volunteering with the CILC since 2017.

Portrait of Eric Noue

Isabella Marchese

Chair of the By-Laws and Policies committee, Isabella has been a member of the CILC since 1994 because she firmly embraces the mission and vision of the CILC.

Before becoming a board member, she frequently visited the CILC with her elementary and Immigrants Working Centre classes. She has served on the board as Vice President, President and on various committees during the 1990s-2010

Eric Noue

Procurement Executive who works for Manulife, a financial services firm with headquarters in Toronto.

The mission statement and goals of the CILC are very much in line with Eric’s values around diversity and inclusion. Eric is Chair of the CILC Strategy & Visioning Committee.

Eric also volunteers his time coaching and mentoring boys basketball programs.

Mike Paquet

During his 27-year career in fund development, Mike Paquet has helped several community-based and grassroots non-profit groups throughout Southern Ontario to implement long-term sustainable fundraising and resource development programs.

Mike has enabled several organizations to discover the enormous potential of major gift fundraising. Currently, Mike is the Chief Fundraising Strategist of People First Fundraising Solutions in Hamilton.


Sahanah Thirukumar

Honours Life Sciences (BSc) graduate from McMaster University. She has been a CILC volunteer since the fall of 2018.

Sahanah aims to truly dedicate her skills and efforts to CILC's benevolent objectives and commit to promoting diversity, equity and inclusivity in our communities. Sahanah chairs the Communications Committee


Jason Townsend

Honours Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) candidate at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton.

Jason previously volunteered in the organization’s finance team since 2019.

How to Help

If you share our vision and would like to support the Centre, there are many ways you can help!

To find out more, visit our Volunteer and Membership pages.