As one of Inclusion BC’s founding members, we are honoured to support this exhibit showcasing the Chilliwack Society for Community Living’s (CSCL) incredible contribution to their community hosted by the Chilliwack Museum. Visitors will learn that the concept of community living grew from conversations around a dining table. Five families decided to develop their own educational resources to support children and adults with disabilities. In 1954, they officially formed CSCL, which went on to provide support for many facets of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Viewers of the exhibit will learn about the disability justice movement, the evolution of language in relation to disabilities, ableism, and the evolution of vocational training and employment initiatives. While it’s interesting to note the changes in the wider society’s perspective, you might find it even more surprising to observe how goals have changed amongst people with disabilities and their supporters. 

Framed art made by people who lived at Woodlands. Each piece contains illustrations, and clippings of photos with words describing each of their experiences, good and bad.

At first, families fought simply for their children to have the basic dignity of education and care within their own homes. But as these aims were achieved, expectations grew. It wasn’t enough for people to be making crafts for fundraisers; they deserved opportunities to earn a living wage doing meaningful work. And was it really necessary for supporters to make all the speeches and organize campaigns? People with disabilities could express their own needs, hopes and desires.

CSCL’s success is owed to the endless hours contributed by volunteers in numerous capacities over the past 70 years, many of them family members of people with disabilities. Eventually, our current inclusion movement was born of these families’ desire to end institutionalization and transform communities into welcoming spaces for all. 

This 70-year journey to inclusion has not been easy, and it is not over. But with these hard-won precedents, it is clearly inevitable.   

Our Journey to Inclusion: 70 Years of Innovation is on at Chilliwack Museum and Archives from January 25 to June 8, 2024. Check their website for hours and rates.


This article was featured in the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, Inclusion in Action. Subscribe today to receive regular updates with stories like this.

Want to read more? Browse our newsletter archive here



Skip to content