Who We Are

The Children’s International Learning Centre (CILC) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-driven organization supported by: membership fees, donations, grants, admissions and fundraising initiatives.

Our vision is to foster a world of care and respect for all people and our environment.

Our mission is to promote respect for diversity and awareness of our world community through guided discovery and interactive artistic programmes.

Our History

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.

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 - established in 1970 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the United Nations
  • 1972 - Official approval from the Director of the Hamilton Board of education for classes to visit the CILC located in the YWCA
  • 1988 - Incorporated as The Children's International Learning Centre (Hamilton) and granted a charity registration number
  • 1988 - honoured as one of fifty organizations across Ontario to have the distinction of being a patron organization of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (LGO)
  • 2008 - received Award of Excellence in Financial Reporting Transparency from Chartered Accountants of Ontario, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Queen’s School of Business
  • 2013 - Winner of Outstanding Community based Organization by the Hamilton Wentworth Occasional Teachers
  • 2016- received Governance Excellence Award from Capacity Canada and Cowan Foundation
  • 2017 - current logo was created
  • 2017 - created a vision statement and updated the mission statement
  • 2018 - received Bronze level of Achievement, CHCH Business Excellence Award within the Charitable/Non-Profit sub Category
  • 2019 - received Platinum Level for Best Learning Centre from the Hamilton Spectator Readers’ Choice Awards
  • 2001 to 2020 - Operated at 189 King William St, Hamilton.
  • 2020 - celebrated 50th anniversary of the organization with a virtual golden anniversary celebration
  • 2022 - piloted “Festivals of Light” travelling programme
  • 2023 - commenced planning of future travelling and virtual programmes

50th Anniversary Celebration

Viceregal Patronage

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 late Honourable Lincoln Alexander, PC, CC, OOnt, CD, QC, was the first LGO to bestow the honour to the CILC and subsequent LGO’s have continued to honour this tradition.

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario is the current LGO to grant the CILC viceregal patronage.

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