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Ste. Anne de Bellevue

John Abbott has given the West Island a new landmark

Last Wednesday, as David Suzuki took centre stage at John Abbott College, thousands of students from the West Island were given the opportunity to hear firsthand what this world-reknown environmentalist had to say about the future of our planet.

The event was a unique learning experience. It was a fabulously appropriate way to mark the official opening of the CEGEP’s new science and health technologies building. Suzuki added a little high-profile celebrity to the occasion.

Later that same day, there was another event that marked the opening of the new building. It was a gala dinner for members and supporters of the John Abbott College Foundation. But this event did more than cap a day that marked the opening of the new building. It celebrated how a community came together to make this new state-of-the-art building a reality.

Since it launched its new building capital campaign in 2007, the foundation succeeded in raising $5 million that went toward construction costs. That is no small feat. It is the result of many people deciding to invest in the college and its future.

About $500,000 was raised by students. Another $400,000 was donated by Pfizer, the Kirkland-based drug manufacturing firm. And an impressive $2 million was put up by the Trottier Family Foundation.

One of the driving forces behind the Trottier Family Foundation is Lorne Trottier. One of the founding partners of the Matrox Group of companies and a member of the board of the John Abbott College Foundation, Lorne Trottier took a very active role in the college’s new building. He is credited with pushing for the building to be LEED-certified. The designation ensures the building meets certain environmental and energy sustainability standards.

It is through him that the college was successful in having Suzuki be part of the building’s official opening events.

But it was not just his contribution that was acknowledged at Wednesday evening’s gala. His leadership was also recognized. He stepped up to the plate, and helped make a difference. There is a lesson there for more than just the students at John Abbott.

In an interview the following day, Ginette Sheehy, the college’s director general, was asked what the building’s official opening represented to her. She summed it up eloquently: “It’s an accomplishment.”

That it is. It’s an accomplishment that exemplifies how a community can come together and make things happen. And celebrating that fact the way the college did last Wednesday was fitting. The West Island has a new landmark. Job well done.

Brenda O’Farrell


  1. Perhaps for the West Island, but there is no truth to “community coming together” when it comes to Sainte Anne de Bellevue. The Mayor and council have proposed a PPU which means the destruction of forests, wetlands, and fields with the extermination of all the fauna and flora as collateral damage. The citizens of the North Sector are against this development. A committee has been established to rethink this unwanted urban sprawl but the citizens participating on the committee will not be able to influence the final outcome given they don’t have a vote.

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