Portage opened its doors 45 years ago. Since then, it has relied, day in, day out, on over 400 committed employees to successfully fulfill its mission.
In the Francophone folklore, a 45-year anniversary is traditionally associated with vermeil, more commonly known as gilded silver, an alloy of precious metals valued for its strength and resistance, qualities that allow it to sustain the test of time. Among Anglophones, the 45th anniversary is rather known as the sapphire anniversary. Sapphires are hard, precious gems, usually of a deep yet transparent blue colour.
Strength, resistance, sustainability, depth and transparency… These are some of the qualities that Portage continually strives to practise in its day-to-day operations. They also aptly describe Portage’s therapeutic approach and objectives, as they are, in effect, what Portage’s clients are inspired to develop through their rehabilitation process:
- Resistance: To their vulnerabilities, their false beliefs, their fears, their past failures.
- Strength: The kind that only healthy self-esteem, a network of true friends and trust in the future and in life can give.
- Sustainability: Of their recovery, their well-being, their resources.
- Depth: Of their acquired knowledge, their wisdom, their hopes and dreams.
- Transparency: Which they have learned to practise with themselves and their loved ones.
Just as vermeil mixes silver and gold, Portage is a mix of its counsellors’ and its clients’ strengths. Such longevity was ensured because we have held hands, focused on the same goal, and known how to pool our strengths as a community.
Portage has been offering for years a residential rehabilitation program that rests on its clients’ personal growth.
It opened its very first facility for adults in 1973, on the shores of Lac Echo, located in the town of Prévost in the Laurentians. Ever since, Portage gained an enviable reputation that helped to fuel its expansion.
Two years later, in 1975, Portage opens a day centre in Montreal, and another one in Quebec City in 1983, closely followed in 1985 by a residential centre for adolescents in Elora, Ontario.
In the beginning of the 90s, Portage broadens its Lac Echo program to welcome adolescents. In the following years, Portage successfully launches new programs for specific clienteles, using its growing expertise: one for pregnant women and mothers with children, and another for men struggling with drug abuse and mental illness issues.
In 1996, Portage expands geographically and opens a service point in Fredericton and residential facilities for adolescents in Cassidy Lake, New Brunswick.
Near the end of the decade, Portage dedicates another residential facility to adolescents in Saint-Damien-de-Buckland, in Québec, which it later moves to Saint-Malachie, in 2009.
In 2001, Portage opens its services to the West-Island Anglophone community in Beaconsfield, later moving them on the Lac Echo grounds, in 2014. In 2002, Portage launches MIRE, an organization dedicated to helping adults who suffer from social exclusion and poverty to find sustainable, long-lasting employment.
To help its clients gradually and smoothly re-enter society, Portage offered supervised apartments. Les Habitations communautaires Portage I (HCP I) welcomed its first tenants in 2009, originally all from the Mother & Child program. Since 2016, graduates from other programs can request to move into Les Habitations communautaires Portage II (HCP II).
After 45 years of existence, Portage offers
- 7 bilingual programs in the province of Quebec for adolescents, adults, pregnant women, mothers with children, and men with mental illness.
- 2 day centres, in Montreal and in Quebec City.
- 1 residential centre in Ontario for adolescents and a service point in Toronto.
- 1 bilingual residential centre in New Brunswick for adolescents and a service point in Fredericton.
- 44 supervised apartments in Montreal.
- 2 centres to help with labour-market re-entry;
- 1 service centre in the West-Island area (Montreal) for admissions, family support and aftercare groups.
Since its beginnings, Portage has always believed that people suffering from drug addiction can tap into their personal strengths and abilities to overcome their addiction, find self-respect and live a successful, sober and dignified life. In the years to come, Portage will continue to develop its partnerships with the various communities to ensure that its services continue.