Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Announces Funding for the La Loche Friendship Centre at Their Grand Opening

September 8, 2016

Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett and Leonard Montgrand, La Loche Friendship Centre Executive Director

Many gathered together on September 8, 2016 to celebrate the official grand opening for the new La Loche Friendship Centre. Community members, La Loche Friendship Centre staff and board, funders, sponsors, and partners joined together for a pancake breakfast early in La Loche.

Minister Bennett and staff from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada were in attendance to celebrate with the community.

The new Friendship Centre (left) in comparison to the old Friendship Centre (right).

The staff and board as well as community partners have all worked hard to make the new centre a reality. The previous La Loche Friendship Centre, which is seen in the right in the picture above, was too small to host significant programming within it, so the Friendship Centre had to be creative in hosting programming in other locations around the community. With the new centre, many programs of the Friendship Centre can now be held under one roof.

Leonard Montgrand, Executive Director of the Friendship Centre stated, "Now as a Friendship Centre we have finally turned the corner into becoming a strong service provider with an actual centre that will allow us to accommodate various  programs and community members. 13 years ago I had a vision that in order to better serve our community we needed a building that would serve that purpose. Through determination, hard work and a never quit attitude we have finally succeeded. Our building is already at full occupancy and now the clients don't have to run around town to deal with their social issues, its all in one location. I want to personally thank Minister Bennett and her staff who gave us the largest portion of the donation. FNMR who also contributed. Areva and Cameco who as corporate sponsors stood up and said that we are here to help in times of need. I also want to thank the Provincial Metis Housing Corp who went out of there way to ensure that we had a kitchen to feed the ones in need. I also want to personally thank Susha Weflen, AFCS Executive Director, who helped me write the proposal that ultimately was approved. Thanks to those that believed in our little centre. And were not done yet, we have great visionary plans for the future and the opportunities to change our community becomes more of a reality."

Minister Carolyn Bennett presenting a cheque for $775,000 to help offset the costs of the new Centre.

The Friendship Centre was supported by many funders including:

  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, $775,000
  • First Nations and Metis Relations $25,000
  • Areva $60,000
  • Cameco $30,000
  • And the kitchen was funded through the Provincial Metis Housing Corp.
Community members, staff and board of the Friendship Centre, funders, government gathered around at the grand opening.

We look forward to hearing and seeing all the memories and good work that will be done in the new Friendship Centre!

Leonard Mongtrand presenting Minister Bennett and Richard Quintal of INAC gifts to thank them for their work in making the funding a reality. The new centre will give the community a place to call their own.