It's been described as London's best kept secret, but The Salvation Army London Village has served countless families and is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

It was an emotional walk down memory lane on Friday as Margaret McConnell and her former co-workers remembered the good times past.

She was a cottage supervisor at The Salvation Army London Village for a dozen years in the 70s and 80s.

"We tried to give kids an alternate way to live and to know that there were other possibilities in the world other than what they had experienced. We celebrated every birthday and every holiday. It was great," McConnell says.

Aunt Marg - as she was known - was among dozens of former staff, clients and dignitaries taking part in the 60th anniversary celebration for the village.

Yet many don't know about this community unto itself on the northeast corner of Dundas Street and Highbury Avenue, that has helped so many.

It began as an orphanage in 1954 and has changed over the years to serve the needs of the day.

Jean Sutherland had 12 children in her charge when she served as a cottage house mother in the early days of the village.

"A lot of them were from broken homes or orphans so as much as possible we tried to make them feel as though they belonged."

Currently the village offers three main programs, a community day care, a respite program and an adult day program.

The anniversary was also an opportunity to remember the positive impact the village has had on so many.

McConnell can't hide her pride as she says "I just learned today that one of my primary kids finished college."