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The Healthy Cities/Healthy Communities concept is not new. Its origins can be traced to the 19th century public health movement, and it is related to several landmark contributions, The history of Healthy Cities/Healthy Communities  in a Canadian context would include:

Healthy Communities in Ontario

drawing of the outline of Ontario showing environment, economic and social elements. In a 1984 one-day workshop entitled Healthy Toronto 2000, Trevor Hancock and Leonard Duhl proposed a model of a Healthy Community. This motivated the World Health Organization (WHO) to initiate its Healthy Cities Project. The Healthy Cities or Healthy Communities movement includes thousands of networks, projects and other initiatives worldwide.

In Ontario, the Healthy Communities Coalition grew out of discussions between Dr. Trevor Hancock and representatives of the Ontario Landscape Architects Association in 1986. These discussions led to the formation of a broad coalition of provincial associations interested in promoting Healthy Communities.

The Coalition continued as an informal group until 1990/91, when it published a study of Healthy Communities initiatives across Ontario, with funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MHLTC). This report became the basis for a proposal and request for funding to develop a provincial secretariat and create regional support systems. In 1993, the Ministry announced a three year funding package for the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition. This funding allowed OHCC to set up a Secretariat to provide a broad range of services and resources to help local Healthy Communities to become established and flourish.

Following this three-year pilot, OHCC was funded by MHLTC as a provinical health promotion resource centre to support healthy communities initiaitves throughout Ontario. Between 2009 - 2018, OHCC was a member of HC Link, a collaboration of three provincial health promotion resource centres funded by  MHLTC. Over the past years, funding has been received for special projects and initiatives from many other federal and provincial government ministries and foundations. FInancial support has also been derived from sales of products and services, membership fees and donations. 

Read our "Healthy Communities Backgrounder".

Read more about the history of the Healthy Communities/Healthy Cities movement in a report for the Senate Subcommittee on Population Health, written by Trevor Hancock in March 2009, entitled Act Locally: Community-based population health promotion.