Over the 25+ years since we opened our door, we've become a hub of the community. We've also created a larger community with all the great people and organizations we've worked with over the years. Check out more on other pages including Partners, Sponsors, Calendar, Cafe, Art Gallery and more.
Dovercourt is a community, and we'd like you to get to know some of the interesting people we've had the pleasure of getting to know over the years. Stories by Sarah Banks. Portraits by Dwayne Brown/ Dwayne Brown Studio.
This is Shelley Ann Morris. This is Dovercourt
Shelley Ann Morris grew up across the street from Dovercourt and learned how to swim in its outdoor pool in 1968. It was also the place where she discovered her visual impairment wouldn’t be a barrier to her personal fitness goals.
In 1992, Shelley Ann enquired about joining a group fitness class at Dovercourt. She thought she may encounter some stumbling blocks, but to her delight, they said “Come on in. We’ll find a way to make it work.” Right away, they ensured Shelley Ann was situated directly behind the instructor and had lots of helpful verbal cues and hands-on correction if she was doing something wrong. She started with a step class and eventually moved onto strength classes, circuit training and spinning. She now visits Dovercourt once a week to train for the CN Tower climb. She has also completed a remarkable 16 triathalons at the age of 53.
In addition to being a client of Dovercourt, Shelley Ann has also sat on the Board of Directors, where she tirelessly advocated for accessibility and inclusion.
“Dovercourt does many good things that go unseen”, says Shelley Ann. “Families in crisis, people with disabilities, seniors with health issues, children with behavioural difficulties – Dovercourt always rises to the challenge.”
This is Ian Blagden. This is Dovercourt
In 2014, Ian Blagden heard about Dovercourt’s WAVE (Work and Volunteer Experience) program for people with autism. Ian himself had just recently been diagnosed with high-functioning autism, also known as Asperger Syndrome. He jumped at the chance to enrich his life skills and employability.
He started as a volunteer apprentice, and within a year he had a paid position wearing two hats – Group Lead and Social Media Coordinator.
And while the paycheque and responsibility are nice, it’s the boost in confidence he’s most grateful for.
“WAVE helped me realize I was capable of much more that I actually thought I was. I could lead and manage and communicate. It’s been a very empowering experience for me.”
This is Mijn and Oscar. This is Dovercourt
Mijin Kim likes Dovercourt so much that she managed to convince friends who live in Orleans to come all the way across town for pre-natal aqua-fit. Good news -- they kept coming coming back.
As the young mother of toddler, Oscar and with one more on the way, Mijin takes full advantage of all the mom-and-baby programming that Dovercourt has to offer, including pre- and post-natal aqua-fit, Mom and Baby Boot Camp, and baby sign language classes.
“Dovercourt is incredibly friendly and service-driven,” says Mijin. “It’s a very warm and welcoming place.”
Mijin is also quick to remark how unique Dovercourt is compared to other rec centres. “The social benefits of Dovercourt are just as great as the physical,” she says. The women in my pre-natal class connected so well that we would often go to the pub after aqua-fit. And Dovercourt even hosted a potluck picnic at Dovercourt after our babies were born.”
And speaking of the social benefits being just as great as the physical – Mijin returned to work 20 lbs lighter than her pre-pregnancy weight!
This is Barbara. This is Dovercourt.
Life changes when you have a stroke. Barbara Davies knows this fact personally, after having suffered a stroke in 2007. “I honestly wasn’t sure I’d ever walk again”, she says. “And in addition to my body failing me physically, I was depressed, not knowing what the future held.”
But when a therapist at Elizabeth Bruyere Hospital recommend the Post-Stroke Aquafit program at Dovercourt, Barbara took the advice and never looked back. Determined to get her strength back, she took aquafit for two years and then added rehab walking to the mix.
Eight years after her stroke, she has amazed herself and those around her with what she has accomplished. Her “use it or lose it” philosophy has taken her far. But so too has the support of Dovercourt. “Everyone is so nice at Dovercourt,” says Barbara. “I come all the way from the east side of the city because there’s nothing quite like Dovercourt over there.”
This is Will. This is Dovercourt.
Liberal MP Will Amos will never forget how his local community centre helped shape his values. As a hyperactive kid in the early 1980s, Will found a safe outlet in Dovercourt where he could expend his boundless energy. As a teenager, he channelled that energy into his role as a counsellor for the after-school program.
“I developed an understanding and appreciation for community-building very early on in life and Dovercourt played an important part in this”, says Will.
The leadership skills that Will honed at Dovercourt took him far. In addition to becoming an environmental lawyer, Will is now the Liberal MP for nearby Pontiac, Quebec.
To this day, his love for what Dovercourt represents remains strong. He was a key player in the creation of a new community centre in his riding, and didn't hesitate for a second to call on Dovercourt Executive Director, John Rapp, for advice on how to make this new community hub a success.
Life often comes full circle and it pleases Will to no end to now see his own children skate, take dance lessons, and cross country ski at their new community centre.