Founder of Terrace Child Development Centre dies at 84

Manuel da Silva and his wife stimulated the move to start CDC, along with several other doctors

By Margaret Speirs

A man instrumental in getting the Terrace Child Development Centre established, Manuel da Silva, passed away at 84 on July 30.

Dr. Kwadwo Asante, a pediatrician in Terrace in the 1970s who was also involved in founding the CDC, regularly saw children in his practice with developmental problems back in the 1970s, but at that time there was no place for them to get help.

“Manuel and his wife came to me and said ‘we do have some space in our basement, can you use it?’” said Asante by phone from the Lower Mainland where he now lives.

Asante talked to the school board which donated tables and chairs for the space.

”I was able to talk to Mrs. Appleton, Dr. Appleton’s wife, who had just come from England. I needed somebody to help these children and she was a speech therapist. She donated her time,” said Asante.

And the child development centre started.

Da Silva was involved with fundraising for the centre and continued to be involved, said Asante.

In the March 9, 1977 issue of the Terrace Daily Herald is a story about the start of construction on the CDC building after a two-year campaign to get it.

At the official sod turning, a large group of children set to benefit from the new centre did the sod turning.

The property was leased by the school board to the Terrace Cerebral Palsy Association for 35 years on Haugland across from Mills Memorial Hospital.

Construction costs reached $124,000 as of March 1977 and thanks to local organizations and individuals raising $44,000 and then-Skeena MLA Cyril Shelford telling the construction committee that the provincial government would contribute $80,000 to the project allowed the committee to begin construction.

Da Silva, chairman of the construction committee, looked after sub-trades and construction supervision.

Asante said when he was invited for the 40th anniversary of the CDC, three years ago, he came and was quite impressed with the services available today.

“I have not been in touch with him for a while so I was quite sad to hear of his passing,” said Asante.