Canadore’s health ‘Village’ to open this fall

The Village will enhance the delivery of community-based services using holistic care and healing, that we hope will be adopted by communities everywhere,” said the president and CEO of Canadore College, George Burton


A unique $20-million facility that brings education, healing and wellness together at Canadore College in North Bay will open its doors to students in September. Known as The Village, the 35,000-square-feet building connects to the main campus through a glass walkway. The centre integrates seniors’ and community care with teaching, skills training and applied research. It focuses on combined Indigenous, Eastern and Western healing practices, with students, families, professionals and community members coming together to teach and learn from one another.
Phase 2 of The Village (yet to be built) will place a 144-unit seniors’ residence adjacent to the teaching facility, allowing learning across generations, and promoting healthy and safe aging.
The Village will become a research site for the development and testing of new medical, wellness and mobility technology. A request for proposal (RFP) for Phase 2 with a December deadline was recently initiated by the college.
“The Village will enhance the delivery of community-based services using holistic care and healing, that we hope will be adopted by communities everywhere,” said the president and CEO of Canadore College, George Burton. “We are not replacing services with The Village, we are looking to augment them. Across the country there are elements of what we are doing and we would like to see those recognized and built upon.”
Burton explained the idea of The Village came about when Canadore was considering how students could best obtain knowledge in all health-related disciplines beyond the program they are studying.
The philosophy behind The Village is that wellness is based on a healthy mind, body, and spirit, and to accomplish well-rounded health and wellness professionals of the future the three types of healing (Indigenous, Eastern and Western) need to work together, ideally under one roof, as in The Village.
“We will produce a better rounded graduate who at the very minimum has been exposed to and has a knowledge of those three disciplines in addition to the specific program that they are studying, and we will have people on our campus and in the community receiving services from our student-led clinics that incorporate the three disciplines.”
Burton said the parameters still need to be determined but the college plans to do long term research to see how this “real life” form of education and care enhances quality of life, with the hope that by combining the three disciplines in a multi-generational setting a new model of care for all ages will evolve.
Burton reflected personally on why this combination of healing principles is important for the future: “The expectations of baby boomers, of which I am one, are different from the previous generation. We take a different view of aging. I’m kind of selfish. I want certain things, as I get older. As individuals we don’t really care where the practise originated, we care that it does no further harm and improves an illness or condition. We are seeing more of a mix now in treating patients, and as a consumer of health and wellness I want the very best so I can stay productive and active longer after I retire.”
Financial support for the project comes from both the federal and provincial governments, as well as an ongoing $5 million community fundraising campaign. The college students showed their support recently with a donation of $300,000.
“It’s very easy for our student council to invest in The Village project. It is a place where people come together to learn about caring for each other, but in bold and unique ways through meshing traditions. Our communities need this, and it feels amazing to be a part of it in some way,” said Robin Chokomolin, president of the Canadore Student Council, currently studying in the Indigenous wellness and addictions program.
The student council requested a portion of its donation be directed to The Village’s roundhouse, one of the dedicated spaces to teach and celebrate Indigenous people’s culture and history.
The project has also received donations from the TD Bank, the Deacon Family of North Bay, and David Ding and Sapna Thakur of Toronto, who say it aligns closely with their own beliefs that traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic healing principles complement conventional medicine.

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