June 16, 2011

Taylor-Birks Foundation hosts much-awaited grand opening of respite home for children with complex needs, built with $1 million in private donations

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MONTREAL, June 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - The Taylor-Birks Foundation today hosted hundreds of guests at the grand opening and open house of Eleanor Cot© Home, a brand-new specialized children's respite home in Beaconsfield, which
corporate donors, West Montreal Readaptation Centre (WMRC), Centre Marc Vanier (CMV) and the community have helped to grow over two years by raising
over $1 million.

The facility will provide much-needed respite to parents of children
with an intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder and/or severe
behavioural disorder. It will be able to accommodate up to six children
at once, including those with physical disabilities, and will provide
those children with a wide variety of fun activities tailored to their
interests and needs.

"This house is a dream come true for the families of children with
complex needs," said Gary Whittaker, chairman of the fundraising
committee and the WMRC Board of Directors.

"We built this house for them, because there's no other way they can get
a break from caring for their child full-time.

"To our partners, our employees, our community and all of our donors: we
really couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for your
dedication, collaboration and hard work." 

The home

Eleanor Cot© Home is located in Beaconsfield behind WMRC's Department of
Child and Family Services with its specialized staff and facilities,
which include a gym and multisensory room.

While the Taylor-Birks Foundation raised the funds necessary to build
the house, WMRC partner Centre Marc Vanier contributed seed money, owns the building's title and will be in charge
of maintaining it.

"Because it has been built from scratch, Eleanor Cot© Home's design and
every detail have its future clients in mind," said Michel Massie,
president of the property management non-profit. "It is perfectly
adapted to their needs."

From the beginning, planners insisted that the house be a "home" and not
an institutional residence.  It is spacious, accessible and safe, with
playful and colourful decor inspired by Louise Chaddock Design.

"Not only is this house desperately needed, it has turned out to be more
beautiful than anyone ever imagined," said Martine Beaurivage,
director, Child and Family Services, WMRC.

"It is a real home that blends in with our family-friendly
neighbourhood. It's comfortable, inviting and safe."

The house has been operating for three weeks and will allow 48 families
to receive one three-day respite period per month. Please visit a
Website dedicated to the home at www.crom-wmrc.ca/maison-repit

Who will benefit?

The respite home's services will be chiefly available to families from
the West Island, Lachine, LaSalle, Point St. Charles, Westmount, NDG
and Park Extension.  Six children will be able to stay in the home at
once, for up to three nights in a row, providing hundreds of "children
nights" of respite to parents and siblings of children with complex
needs and slashing WMRC's waiting list for respite by almost half.
Ultimately, this respite home will help to keep our community's
families together.

The donors

"There is a huge need for projects like these, which go beyond what the
government can provide, and the community recognized that," said Ian
Moodie, president of the Taylor-Birks Foundation.

"We can't be grateful enough for the tireless efforts of our campaign
team and the generosity of our donors."

The facility is named Eleanor Cot© Home in recognition of the Eleanor
Cot© Foundation, the donor that "put the Building Hope campaign over the top" and launched the home's construction.

Mrs. Cot© herself energetically shovelled the first pile of earth at a
ground-breaking ceremony for the home one year ago. Nearly 90 years
old, Mrs. Cot© has been a volunteer and community organizer for the
West Island, and for people with an intellectual disability, for over
five decades.

Among other major donors, the Rotary Club of Westmount helped to launch the campaign in 2008 with the first major donation,
followed by Power Corporation of Canada, the Tenaquip Foundation, the Service d'adaptation et d'int©gration de Montr©al and the Trottier Family Foundation.

The project has also benefited from several WMRC employee-driven and
community fundraisers as well high-profile donations from MNAs Yolande
James (Nelligan), Geoffrey Kelley (Jacques Cartier), François Ouimet
(Marquette) and Pierre Marsan (Robert Baldwin).

Other corporate donors have included DesjardinsRonald McDonald House Charities, TelusDormez-vous? and the BMO Employee Charitable Foundation.


About the Taylor-Birks Foundation

A longstanding partner of West Montreal Readaptation Centre (WMRC), the
Taylor-Birks Foundation aims to strengthen the network
of families supporting people with an intellectual disability or autism
spectrum disorder.

As a registered charitable foundation, it financially supports
projects that improve quality of life for WMRC users and their
families, but that lie outside government mandates.

The Building Hope campaign is the biggest in the foundation's history
and has so far raised $1 million to build a respite home on WMRC

More information on the Taylor-Birks Foundation and how to donate is
available at www.crom-wmrc.ca/taylor-birks-foundation

About Centre Marc Vanier

Centre Marc Vanier (CMV) is a non-profit property management foundation
that has partnered with West Montreal Readaptation Centre (WMRC) since
1980 to provide quality housing for individuals with an intellectual
disability or autism spectrum disorder.

Eleanor Cot© Home, a new respite home inaugurated in June 2011, will
bring the number of homes CMV owns and manages to 30.

More information on Centre Marc Vanier is available at www.crom-wmrc.ca/centre-marc-vanier-EN

West Montreal Readaptation Centre

West Montreal Readaptation Centre (WMRC) is a rehabilitation centre for
children and adults with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum
disorder living within the territories of the CSSS Cavendish, CSSS
Jeanne-Mance, CSSS de la Montagne and the CSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Ile.

Over 400 bilingual employees help to provide habilitation,
rehabilitation, residential and community integration services in
English and French to some 600 children and close to 1,000 adults. 

WMRC earned its first accreditation from Accreditation Canada in
November with an exceptional first-time grade of 96.9 percent.


/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as

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SOURCE Taylor-Birks Foundation