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Celebrating a Century of Care – Ontario Shores Unveils Ambassadors of Hope

Ambassadors of Hope
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Ontario Shores has begun a year-long celebration recognizing 100 years of delivering mental health care.

The specialty mental health hospital unveiled its 100 year brand as well as a portion of its plans around its 100th anniversary at this morning’s kickoff event, which marks one full year before the organization officially reaches the century mark on October, 23, 2019.

The organization’s journey officially began in 1911 when architect James Govan consulted with psychiatrists, physicians and government officials to develop a design for a new mental health centre on the shores of Lake Ontario.

During World War I it became a convalescent home for wounded veterans named the Ontario Military Hospital before shifting back to mental health and officially opening as the Ontario Hospital for the Insane on October 23, 1919.

The hospital has had several names over the years before settling on its current moniker as part its rebrand in 2009.

“Over the course of the next 12 months we will look back at our journey and the impact we have had on our community and the lives of people living with mental illness,” notes President and CEO Karim Mamdani. “However, we will also celebrate our current efforts and our determination to create a better future for everyone impacted by mental health issues.”

Helping Ontario Shores celebrate this milestone and ignite conversations in the community are six Ambassadors of Hope. Following an open call for candidates last summer, Ontario Shores reviewed nearly 50 applications from patients, families, staff, volunteers and community members interested in assisting the organization in this celebration.

Ontario Shores is proud to welcome these six inspiring individuals as its Ambassadors of Hope:

Jordon Beenen
Jordon is an Oshawa resident and stay-at-home father to his son Dax.

As someone living with mental illness who had to change course in his career, Jordon feels strongly about removing the stigma associated with mental health issues and is determined to make a difference.

Ian Hakes
Ian is a veteran community volunteer who lives with Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

A Brooklin resident, Ian is a graduate of Ontario Shores’ Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), which he credits for rebuilding his mental wellness.

Ian is also a father of two who is determined to change the conversation around mental health and create a better world for his children.

Kristie Jennings
Kristie grew up and still lives in Whitby.

She is a volunteer at Ontario Shores who also balances a career in sales along with her passion and empathy for people living with mental illness.

Candice McAlister
Candice has always had a passion for volunteering.

A resident of Bowmanville, Candice was raised in a home with a family member living with Schizophrenia. She remembers the devastation and the stigma.

She also witnessed how the right treatment, care and compassion can help people recover from mental illness.

Barbara Murray
Barbara is an Ajax resident who has been helping people living with mental illness throughout her 30-plus year career at Ontario Shores.

Aside from being a dedicated mental health professional, Barb is a retired youth leader and instructor with the Canadian Armed Forces with a passion for making her community a better place to live.

Lori Lane-Murphy
Whitby’s Lori is a speaker, facilitator, author, comedian, and podcaster who has known the impact of mental illness since she was a child.

As an adult, she struggled before seeking treatment at Ontario Shores, and now shares her story through her podcast and one-woman show to get people talking about mental health in new and innovative ways.

Ambassadors of Hope will represent the hospital by attending events, and sharing their lived experience and passion for mental health over the course of the next 12 months.

To learn more about the Ambassadors of Hope visit

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