History & International Activities

Portage is, and has always been, by, for, and of the community

Portage Lac Écho - 1970 - hiver

In the late 1960’s, a group of Montreal residents, concerned about the increasing prevalence of drug addiction in the city, set out to find a solution to this growing social problem.

A grassroots committee founded Portage in 1970. They chose Portage as the name of the organisation, as a symbol of the rehabilitation process:

“Portage: Finding a pathway around an
obstacle in order to continue the journey”

Portage Quebec - Since 1973

With funding from the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation, Portage’s first residential rehabilitation centre opened its doors on February 14, 1973, in Prevost, on lac Écho, in the Laurentian Mountains near Montréal. The Portage lac Écho centre is still in operation, now home to an adult rehabilitation program and two adolescent programs.
Adult and adolescent programs have also been extended to the Quebec City region, and specialised programs for pregnant women, mothers with young children, and people with mental illness have been established in Montréal.

Employment reintegration programs have also been established in Montreal and Quebec City.

Portage Ontario - Since 1985

In cooperation with the Government of Ontario, the Portage Ontario drug addiction rehabilitation centre for youth was established in Elora in 1985. 

Portage Atlantic - Since 1996

In collaboration with the Government of New Brunswick, various community members, and the Lions Services Clubs, the Portage Atlantic drug addiction rehabilitation centre for youth was established at Cassidy Lake, New Brunswick, in 1996.

Important Dates

1970 - The Portage Program for Drug Dependencies is incorporated.

1973 - The Portage Foundation is incorporated.

1973 – A drug addiction rehabilitation centre for adults is opened in Prévost, near lac Écho, in Quebec.

1975 – The Head Office in Montréal is opened on Drummond Street.  

1975 – A Day Centre is established in Montreal, along with a program to provide services to family members.

1982 - The Centre d'accueil Le Programme de Portage, inc. is incorporated.

1984 – A Day Centre in Quebec City is opened.

1985 – A residential addiction rehabilitation centre for adolescents is established in Elora, Ontario.

1987 – The Portage Employment Reintegration Centre is created in Quebec City.

1989 - The Head Office in Montreal is relocated at 865, square Richmond.

1991 – A residential drug addiction rehabilitation centre for adolescents is established at the Portage lac Écho centre in Prevost, Quebec.

1995 – A service centre is opened in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

1995 – The residential rehabilitation program for Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers (MICA) is created at the Portage lac Écho centre in Prevost in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains.

1996 – The Mother and Child Program is created at the Portage lac Écho centre in Prevost, a first of its kind in Canada (pilot project began in 1993).

1996 – A residential drug addiction rehabilitation centre for adolescents is opened at Cassidy Lake, near Sussex, New Brunswick.

1999 – A residential drug addiction rehabilitation centre for adolescents is opened in Saint-Damien-de-Buckland, Quebec.

2000 – The residential rehabilitation program for Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers (MICA) is relocated to Montreal, Quebec.

2001 – A residential drug addiction rehabilitation centre for English-speaking adolescents is opened in Beaconsfield in Montreal’s West Island, in Quebec.

2002 – MIRE (Movement for Integration and Retention in Employment), an employment reintegration program, is established in Montreal, Quebec, in association with the Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon.

2007 – Inauguration of a new Portage centre in Montreal for the Mother and Child and MICA Programs.

2009 - A residential addiction rehabilitation centre for adolescents is opened in Keremeos, British Columbia.

2009 – A Daycare centre, La Ribambelle, is opened at the Mother and Child centre in Montreal, Quebec.

2009 - The Habitations Communautaires Portage Inc. are opened for the graduates of the Mother and Child program.

2009 – The Saint-Damien-de-Buckland residential drug addiction rrehabilitation centre for adolescents is relocated to Saint-Malachie, Quebec.

2010 - Inauguration of the new building at the Cassidy Lake drug addiction rehabilitation centre for adolescents, in New Brunswick.

2010 - Portage is accreditated by Accreditation Canada.

2011 - Portage signs an agreement with the Wapan Rehabilitation Centre for Quebec First Nations.

2012 - Inauguration of the new building at the Saint-Malachie drug addiction rehabilitation centre for adolescents, Quebec.

2013 - Portage develops a rehabilitation program for the Inuit community who are serving time in prison.

2013 - Accreditation is renewed by Accreditation Canada with Exemplary Standing.

2015 - Portage closes its centre in Keremeos, BC.

International Activities

Since its first years of existence, Portage has been a member of several international drug addiction associations and has hosted and attended a number of international events.

Institutions and governments abroad have sought out Portage’s expertise over the years. Portage has been involved in establishing treatment programs, has served as a consultant, or has trained correctional and social services personnel in many countries, including:

  • United States
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Belgium
  • Romania
  • Honduras
  • Philippines
  • Bermuda
  • China
  • Various Caribbean nations

Not only have these activities helped to establish long-term relationships abroad, but Portage’s transfer of knowledge and staff members to other countries has helped to build synergies and generate new ideas.

Contact us - Portage logo