WHITBY, ON – The official Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Abilities Centre took place
today on the site of the new centre, paving the way for construction to begin.
Participants in the ceremony included: Hon. Diane Finley, P.C., M.P. Minister of Human Resources
and Skills Development Canada, Hon. Jim Flaherty, P.C., M.P, Minister of Finance, Hon. Margarett
Best, M.P.P., Minister of Health Promotion, Christine Elliott, M.P.P., Roger Anderson, Chair,
Regional Municipality of Durham, Pat Perkins, Mayor, Town of Whitby, Hisham Mohammad,
Abilities Centre Ambassador and Ken Shaw, Chair, Board of Directors.
“I am delighted to participate in this important milestone. The Abilities Centre will be an outstanding
addition to the community and indeed the entire region, and the Government of Canada is a very
proud partner in this world-class facility,” said the Hon. Diane Finley, M.P.
The Abilities Centre will be a world class recreation, athletic and performing arts facility fully
accessible to all persons with a varying degree of abilities and challenges. The Abilities Centre is
partnering with the Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby and will build on their existing facilities
and services. This new barrier-free facility will include a field house which will contain a
walking/training track, full size courts, fitness facility, therapy rooms, life skills, art and music
programs, performing arts components and much more. In addition, the Centre is intended to be
an international centre of excellence for the development and implementation of inclusionary
practices for people with special needs. The overall goal of the Abilities Centre is to shift the
paradigm – instead of seeing disabilities our focus will be the abilities of each person.
“I know that this project has been a priority for your community and I am pleased that the work is
now getting underway. Investments in projects like the Abilities Centre are supporting local
economies and strengthening communities,” said Margarett Best, Ontario Ministry of Health
Ken Shaw, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Abilities Centre, added: “it has been a long time
coming and taken a lot of volunteer work by a lot of people. We are all looking forward to the start of
construction and I am thankful to our supporters, both in the public and private sectors who have made
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