Niagara Children’s Centre began in 1952, when the May Court Club of St. Catharines provided half-day per week parent relief programs for children with cerebral palsy. Originally operating out of St. Thomas Church’s parish hall in St. Catharines, the May Court Cerebral Palsy Centre ultimately relocated to the St. Catharines General Hospital.
In 1963, the Centre added speech therapy and physiotherapy to its service offering and established a committee to investigate the feasibility of operating a full-fledged crippled children’s centre in the area. After due investigation, the committee recommended that a full five-day program be initiated to provide educational opportunities as well as therapeutic treatment.
In January 1964, classroom space was provided and a teacher was procured. That same year, through the efforts of the May Court Club, several area Rotary Clubs, and the Port Colborne Lions Club, the Niagara Peninsula Crippled Children's Society was established, and was officially incorporated on October 15, 1965, with Dr. William Orr was the founding chairman.
The Centre opened at its present location on Glenridge Avenue in St. Catharines in 1969. In 1978, a major addition was completed, incorporating a therapeutic pool and a gym. To meet increased space demands, five portables were added in 1990, while another major redevelopment was planned. This redevelopment, which was completed in 1996, provided the Centre with up-to-date space and equipment that allowed the Centre to serve some 3,000 children and their families each year.
In 1999, the Centre changed its name from the Niagara Peninsula Crippled Children’s Centre to the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre. The name change occurred in part to reflect the broader group of children served by the Centre, including children with physical, developmental and communicative delays and disabilities. In the fall of 2012, the Centre changed its legal and operating name to Niagara Children's Centre.
In 2019, the School Based Rehabilitation Services (SBRS) program transferred to Niagara Children’s Centre from the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand and Brant Health Integration Network. The SBRS program delivers occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech-language pathology services to children in their schools and supports their participation and success in school activities. This transfer aligned with the Centre’s vision of delivering services across the age continuum and provided greater continuity and coordination of services as children transition into schools.