The original building that houses the Carleton Community Centre was constructed in 1863. It served as a public meeting hall and was used by the water department, health department and even the police, who had a lock up in the basement. While a fire destroyed the third story in 1925, the hall was rebuilt and used as a theatre until the 1950s when it became a recreation centre. In 1970, the City of Saint John took over full operations to deliver recreation programming. Since then, the Carleton Community Centre has seen many generations of west side residents come through its doors.
What began as a recreation centre for families and youth in the Lower West Side grew to become much more. Today, users come from far beyond the borders of the lower west side to participate in youth and adult sport, seniors fitness, art classes, cooking classes, computer access, social activities, and educational and life skill development opportunities.
Residents now also benefit from the addition of primary healthcare services offered at the Market Place Wellness Centre, food security services through the West Side Food Bank, and even gardening plots at the community garden. All of these assets contribute to improving the quality of life for west side residents.