Building on a foundation of scientific excellence, through the pioneering work of Bertram Brockhouse and others, the "Neutron and Solid State Physics" branch of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, at Chalk River, transitioned to a modern international user facility, beginning in the 1980s. The program was transferred to the National Research Council of Canada in 1997, from which time the "Canadian Neutron Beam Centre" thrived and supported a growing community of research participants from across Canada and abroad, involving more than 800 individuals in the final five years of operation with six neutron beam lines at the NRU reactor. This presentation will follow the ups and downs of the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre from about 1985 to 2018. We shall touch on some scientific highlights, technical achievements, and our Canadian approach to user access. Finally, we shall summarize the 30-year quest to replace the NRU reactor with a modern neutron source, as well as to establish a new framework to manage our national program for materials research with neutron beams, in decades to come.