Construction crews broke ground Monday to officially begin building Ottawa's biggest Aboriginal centre, the multimillion-dollar Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Brad Pickody, who teaches drumming at the centre, said the 25,000-square-foot centre was important to him and his family as a cultural resource and a place away from potentially bad influences.
"Living in the city is a totally different experience from living in the bush," said Pickody, who moved his family from the Chapleau reserve, west of Timmins, Ont., three years ago.
Allison Fisher, the executive director of the Wabano centre, said that 70 per cent of aboriginals in Canada are leaving reserves and moving to cities. That's why the new revamped facility means so much."It's to create a sense of belonging with our kids," she said. As the centre continues to fundraise to make up the remaining $7 million for the project, Fisher hopes the Ontario government will help out with funds.