Community Sport Councils (CSCs) are not new! Efforts by the Ontario government to support the creation of CSCs date back to the 1970s, with some existing CSCs, such as Sport Hamilton, dating back to the 1980s. Sustainable funding was not provided and, because of this, many of the CSCs formed during these early days did not survive.
In 2000, the Sport Alliance of Ontario (SAO) studied the formation of CSCs as a mechanism for community sport capacity building. At the time, five existing CSCs were discovered: Mississauga (established in 1983), Hamilton (1986), Oakville (2000), Kingston (date unknown), and Kitchener (date unknown). Additionally, the London Sports Council and Huntsville Sport Council were formed around 2000, as the SAO was doing its research, and several municipal recreation committees similar to CSCs (e.g. Oshawa) were found. The SAO proceeded with a grant application to Ontario Trillium Foundation for a project to further develop CSCs in Ontario.
The SAO received a three-year, $501,000 grant in August 2001. With this support, the SAO set out to facilitate the formation of new CSCs and link these new CSCs to the existing ones, thus creating a network that would support the movement through sharing of knowledge and collaborative planning. By the end of the grant period in 2004, the following had been achieved:
With the end of the grant and change of direction at the SAO, efforts to sustain the initiative waned. In April 2005, representatives of nine CSCs and other agencies met in Hamilton and agreed to support the formation of the CSCO as an umbrella organization. In 2006, the SAO added a representative for Sport Councils to its Board. Unfortunately, there were delays in developing the new CSCO and momentum was lost.
The CSCO was finally incorporated in 2009, but remained largely inactive. In 2010, several individuals interested in CSCs met at Brock University in St. Catharines and began a process of reinvigorating the movement. By late 2010, there were approximately 17 CSCs existing in the province, and these were invited to a CSC Summit held at Brock in September. Representatives of 11 CSCs attended the Summit and again gave their support to the CSCO concept.
In March 2011, CSCO received a 24 month Trillium grant for business planning and CSC support to continue the work of CSC development in Ontario.