Grand opening of Eleanor Côté Home


Photo caption: The namesake of the new respite home, Eleanor Côté, cuts the ribbon with Building Hope campaign chairman Gary Whittaker, Centre Marc Vanier president Michel Massie and Taylor-Birks Foundation president Ian Moodie.

MONTREAL, Quebec, June 16, 2011 — The Taylor-Birks Foundation today hosted hundreds of guests at the grand opening and open house of Eleanor Côté 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 Côté 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 Vaniercontributed seed money, owns the building’s title and will be in charge of maintaining it.

“Because it has been built from scratch, Eleanor Côté 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

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 Côté Home in recognition of the Eleanor Côté Foundation, the donor that “put the Building Hope campaign over the top” and launched the home’s construction.

Mrs. Côté herself energetically shovelled the first pile of earth at a ground-breaking ceremony for the home one year ago. Nearly 90 years old, Mrs. Côté 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 Westmounthelped to launch the campaign in 2008 with the first major donation, followed by Power Corporation of Canada, theTenaquip Foundation, the Service d’adaptation et d’intégration de Montréal 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 CharitiesTelusDormez-vous? and theBMO Employee Charitable Foundation.