Bruce Oake Recovery Centre celebrates 1 year of operations, nearly 100 graduates

Winnipeg's Bruce Oake Recovery Centre is celebrating one year of supporting men in addressing their substance use disorders.

Head of centre says wait-list of more than 250 shows need for treatment in Winnipeg

The front of a large building with a small courtyard in the front.
The Bruce Oake Recovery Centre, a long-term treatment facility in Winnipeg, is shown in a June 2021 photo. It marked a year of operations on Wednesday. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Winnipeg's Bruce Oake Recovery Centre is celebrating one year of supporting men in addressing their substance use disorders.

On May 26, 2021, the 50-bed men's treatment centre opened its doors to men seeking recovery as a way to honour Bruce Oake, who died of a drug overdose in 2011 at the age of 25. 

Since then, 92 men have graduated and are receiving continued support, says Scott Oake, Bruce's father.

"Those are 92 men who have gone through the six-week in-residence program, have returned to their their families, their loved ones, their jobs, society," he said.

Those people are also "working hard on their sobriety and also helping to ensure that all of those who follow them here at the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre have the same chance of success," said Oake.

"This is a beautiful day."

The head of the centre says there's more work to do.

Scott Oake says the centre has helped see 92 men graduate and get back to more healthy living. He hopes more will benefit from the program in the future. (Radio-Canada)

Greg Kyllo, the executive director of Bruce Oake Recovery Centre, says there have been as many as 276 people on the waiting list for residential treatment, who receive outpatient support in the meantime.

"There's definitely a continued need in Winnipeg for recovery supports like what's available here at Bruce Oake," he said.

Kyllo says the centre aims to make recovery accessible for people.

"No one's ever turned away for an inability to pay. Everyone's welcome and everyone should be able to get support for substance use disorder if they need it," he said.

There's also no fixed day when people need to leave.

"You stay until you're ready. We've had individuals stay here for six months, beyond the 16-week formal treatment program based on the need that's out there," he said.

"It's really important for us to be able to support people because different people have different needs."

The celebration on Wednesday also served as a way to pay tribute to the late Anne Oake.

"Her loving, caring nature is the reason the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre exists, because she was going to have this place built no matter what. And so it stands in memory, not just of our son Bruce, but in her memory as well," Scott Oake said.

The two spearheaded the centre in honour of their son.

"Bruce was the typical young man who had everything going for him, but addiction got hold of him and would not let go. We don't want to see the same thing happen to countless other young men who now have a place to go in Winnipeg where they can get their lives back," Oake said.

"It's made our late son's life mean something. And this is his legacy."

With files from Julien Sahuquillo