Canadian Institue Of Planners

Shaping our Communities
Sustaining Canada's Future.

Stella’s Circle

This year’s recipient was Stella’s Circle, a non-profit organization dedicated to community development in a low income neighbourhood in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Stella’s Circle serves over 800 individuals annually through 14 different programs and services. The organization employs 165 professional staff in clinical services, supportive housing, employment and training, supported by a small administrative team. 

Stella’s Circle is named after Dr. Stella Burry, a pioneering Social Worker who made an outstanding contribution to her church, to her community, and to her province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Working with the United Church of Canada, she introduced a community inclusion Choirdevelopment approach to St. John’s and in 1945 founded Emmanuel House to provide food, shelter, friendship, and counselling. Stella Burry was also a founding member of the Community Services Council and the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for the Aging.

Stella Burry passed away in 1991 at the age of 93, but the work that she had begun almost 50 years earlier continued at Emmanuel House. In 1995, in memory of the visionary who recognized that a secure source of food and shelter are essential requirements before one can address other life issues, the organization now known as Stella’s Circle was established.