Representatives and supporters of the Lewis Fitness Centre Capital Campaign Committee, Portage staff members along with youth gathered for the official opening of the Lewis Fitness Centre.
Since 1996, the 165 acre site has undergone a significant transformation, with the construction of new buildings completed in 2010 and the creation of the therapeutic Recovery Trail in 2013. The construction of the Lewis Fitness Centre is yet another exciting development for Portage Atlantic’s rehabilitation centre. Construction of the new centre began in April 2016 and the placement of the 10,715 sq. ft. centre allows natural light in the gymnasium and a view of the lake from the fully equipped weight/cardio room. The existing activities, cross-country skiing, running, snowshoeing, bicycling and canoeing, for example, combined with the new activities to be held in the Lewis Fitness Centre will greatly improve the overall fitness programming for the Portage Atlantic residents.
Long-time supporter of Portage Atlantic and Honorary Chair of the Lewis Fitness Capital Campaign, Frank McKenna said that he was pleased to see how the facility has grown to accommodate youth in need. “I am extremely proud to have been involved in the realization of Portage Atlantic when I was in public life and as the Honorary Chair of the Capital Campaign for the new Lewis Fitness Centre. “Portage Atlantic is a place of hope for so many youth in desperate need of rehabilitation,” said Mr. McKenna, “over 2000 youth and their families have benefited from the programs and services at Cassidy Lake since 1996”.
“The addition of the Lewis Fitness Centre goes well beyond bricks and mortar for youth in treatment,” said Dr. Frank Wilson at the ceremony, a close friend of the Late Dr. Bill Lewis, whose initial generous donation kick-started the Lewis Fitness Centre Capital Campaign in 2014. “At the heart of all of the construction, meetings and decision making are the young men and women working to overcome drug addiction and take back control of their lives; an accomplishment that takes incredible courage and determination.”
Dave Emmerson and André Vincent, co-chairs of the Lewis Fitness Centre Capital Campaign, as well as Chairman of the Portage Atlantic Board, Russell King, said that the new permanent structure will benefit countless youth for many years to come. They agree that the fitness centre will be a place where the youth’s interests in physical fitness will be re-awakened and that engagement in regular physical activity will help improve their focus in treatment and in school.