Last Saturday, September 9 was a watershed day for CAFÉ, Canadian Association for Equality, when they celebrated the opening of their Centre for Men and Families at 292 Montreal Road in Vanier after a long search and much fundraising. A similar centre in Toronto has been open and thriving for a few years.
To support the effort, Carp Ridge EcoWellness Centre donated lunch for the event and I was delegated to deliver the goods. After a climb to the third floor, I was greeted by a large, bright room with big windows, two smaller offices and a kitchen area.
–And a group of men: wonderful men dedicated to helping other men and families going through difficulties: separation and divorce, addiction, violence, mental illness and loss. It was obvious that many of these guys knew about hard times and had come through to a place of openness and compassion, willing to reach out to others in similar situations.
It was a delight to serve them local, organic chickpea curry and fixings followed by ice cream from the Carp Creamery and Kim’s delicious apple crisp made with apples from Harvest Moon orchard across the road and tea with mint from the garden. The meal was met with deep appreciation and I felt honoured to be in this company.
There is a full-time staff person during the week, Patrick Wright, including some evenings. Patrick is easy to talk with, kind and compassionate. One can imagine that men in need would feel good in his presence. There is no sign of any kind of judgement. Best of all for many men and families is that all the services are free, including psychotherapy from two therapists who are volunteering their time.
We wish the centre much success, hope to volunteer some hours as practitioners and feel comfortable referring men and families for support.
Thank you to all the board members, especially David Shackleton, and volunteers for bringing this service to Ottawa.
Wishing you well,
Canadian Centre for Men and Families – Ottawa
Address – 292 Montreal Rd., Suite 302 Ottawa On K1L 6B7
Phone: 613-518-1065 (office) or toll-free: 833-CCMFOTT (833-226-3688)
Fax – 613-699-9215
Executive Director: Patrick Wright