Founder of Pinewood Centre Celebrated for Contribution to Improving Mental Health and Addictions Care in Durham Region

Posted on Tuesday May 14, 2019

Dr. B. George Blake recognized for work to create a healthy and inclusive community

Oshawa – Today, nearly 50 community members gathered at Pinewood Centre at 300 Centre Street South in Oshawa to honour Dr. Buxton (B) George Blake, the founder of the Pinewood Centre and a visionary advocate for mental health and addictions care in our community.

Dr. Blake passed away in January 2018. At its Annual General Meeting in June 2018, Lakeridge Health committed to honour his outstanding work and contribution to the community onsite at Pinewood Centre.
At the event, Dr. Blake was recognized through the naming of the Dr. B. George Blake Room at Pinewood Centre along with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate his work to advance a compassionate and healthy community. Held during National Nursing Week, the event also paid tribute to Dr. Blake’s strong support and advocacy for higher education with the introduction of mentorship and bursary program for nurses in collaboration with Durham College, which includes a placement in Lakeridge Health’s Rapid Access Addictions Medicine clinic and Pinewood Centre sites.

Over 50 years ago, Dr. B. George Blake’s pioneering work to create a healing environment for people with alcohol addiction led to the formation of Pinewood Centre, a community-based model that provides a range of services for people with alcohol, drug, concurrent mental health and gambling related concerns. An important part of Lakeridge Health, Pinewood Centre spans 13 locations across Durham Region and the GTA and is at the forefront of addictions medicine and care.

“We are proud to honour Dr. Blake’s tremendous contributions to improving the lives of people in our community from all walks of life,” said Matthew Anderson, President and CEO, Lakeridge Health. “As a result of his tireless advocacy and passionate leadership, people throughout Durham Region have access to the highest standard of mental health and addictions care close to where they live and work.”

“Our family is honoured by the recognition from Lakeridge Health and the City of Oshawa,” said Yashin Blake, son of the late Dr. B. George Blake. “My father was a remarkable person during his lifetime and had a positive impact on so many people at Lakeridge Health and in the community. His memory and legacy will live on at Pinewood Centre and through the special mentorship and bursary program.”

“We are delighted to partner with Lakeridge Health on this special mentorship and bursary program,” said Dr. Judeline Innocent, Executive Dean, School of Health & Community Services, Durham College. “In keeping with Dr. Blake’s legacy of inspiring future generations of students and promoting an inclusive community, recipients of this special award will receive a hands-on learning experience in mental health and addictions nursing.”

“Those of us who had the privilege of working with Dr. Blake in those early beginnings were fortunate,” said Dr. Brian McLatchie, former director of Pinewood Centre. “For me, one of George's most significant contributions was his fervent belief in caring and respecting everyone. His creation of an attitude of caring and respect for the client permeated the whole of the Pinewood programming. How fortunate clients and fellow therapists were to have experienced what I refer to as ‘The George Blake Effect.’”

Earlier this year, to recognize the significant contributions of Dr. B. George Blake, the City of Oshawa approved the dedication of the Dr. George Blake Parkette, located one block away from the Pinewood Centre location at 300 Centre Street South in Oshawa.

“Today’s recognition of Dr. Blake with the naming of the Dr. B. George Blake Room at Pinewood Centre honours someone who did so much for our community,” said Dan Carter, Mayor of Oshawa. “Dr. Blake was devoted to not only his work helping individuals with addictions and mental health, but also to culturally enhancing our community.”

About Lakeridge Health

Lakeridge Health is Durham Region’s acute health care provider. With five hospitals, four emergency departments, a residential treatment centre and more than a dozen community health care locations, the new Lakeridge Health is working to provide the best experience for patients and their families. Home to the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre and Pinewood Centre, Lakeridge Health also provides regional mental health, eye care and nephrology services. With a committed and dedicated team of more than 5,400 employees, more than 760 physicians and more than 1,600 volunteers, Lakeridge Health provides care to the more than 650,000 people living and working in Durham Region.

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Lindsay Cochrane,
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