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history milestones

Starting our journey as an organization providing respite care for children, we have evolved to now provide care for adults with disabilities who live at home with their families as well. When the Ottawa Rotary Home first opened, it was a new and revolutionized idea in Canada created at a time when children with severe disabilities would usually be institutionalized away from home. 

Our doors officially opened in 1982 with the name “The Rotary Home for Crippled Children”. We provided care for children with severe disabilities then, as we do now, and our occupancy rate has soared over the years as reliance on the program increased. Families and individuals using the Rotary Home vary from frequent users, to “just in case” users, whatever suits the needs of our over 280 registered families. 

On a 75-year land lease, we raised $290,000 for the capital costs of the Home and completed construction on the 21st of October, 1981. On June 14th, 1982 the Ottawa Rotary Home officially opened its doors. The Ministry of Community and Social Services then committed to 97% of the operating budget with The Rotary Club of Ottawa making up the remaining 3%.

Since 1982, we have continued to grow and change, adapting to the needs of the community. Launching a residential program to assist individuals with physical disabilities and complex medical needs requiring specialized care, embracing the care we provided from a medical, social and emotional vantage point. We started as a response to community need, and we continue to do so by developing a full range of services for both children and adults with physical disabilities living in our community. 



First Executive Director, Paula Goff, hired to oversee the challenges of beginning the program.


Faith Detchon took over the position of Executive Director (1983-2004) guiding the Home’s growth and success.


The Ministry of Community and Social Services began funding 100% of operating costs.


“The Rotary Home for Crippled Children” changed its name to The Ottawa Rotary Home.


The Ministry of Community & Social Services supplied funding to begin the Multiple Special Needs Program. Expansion renovations accommodated 3 extra beds for the program.


We began accepting children who are medically fragile, technologically dependent, or who have multiple special needs thanks to the addition of registered nurses to our staff.


Gina St. Amour came on as the new Executive Director, guiding use through the expansion into adult services at the capital and operational level.


Nurse Manager position was created and filled by Lauri Cox on a part-time basis to ensure the meeting of standards set out by the College of Nurses of Ontario.


Nurse Manager position expended to full-time in response to increasing responsibilities, partnerships with community agencies and working on the New Home Project.


The Ottawa Rotary Home receives a generous $2 million dollar grant from the Government of Ontario for the development of the New Home Project allowing us to expand our facilities.


We officially break ground on the construction of our new respite home expanding our capacity for additional children and adult’s requiring respite care.


Our respite home in Leitrim opens with the beginning of our adult respite program, and the opening of our residential home for adults at our Rochester campus.


The Rotary Home’s Leitrim Campus breaks ground with a new Splash Pad and Memorial Gardens providing our respite care clients a wider range of activities.


Celebrating 30 years of providing respite to families and caregivers, a new street was named on behalf of the Ottawa Rotarians entitled “Rotary Way”.


The Ottawa Rotary Home offers 889 overnights of adult respite and continues to expand adult day program services.


A formal Ottawa Rotary Home sign was erected at the entrance to the Ottawa Rotary Home on Rotary Way.


Along with the rest of the world, the Ottawa Rotary Home entered the world of providing residential and respite services during a pandemic. Infection Protection and Control measures along with active screening and cleaning took on a new meaning! ORH developed the Ottawa Developmental Services Covid Response Team for the entire Developmental Services (DS) sector.


ORH signed a formal agreement with Ottawa Public Health to have our nursing team lead the vaccination roll-out for people (age 12 +) with developmental disabilities associated with any transfer payment agency or outside paid resource along with our community clients. We also became the IPAC champion for congregate care, developmental services and youth justice for the Eastern Region.

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