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Game On – Celebrating a $1 million Gift and a New Gym

With hockey sticks firmly gripped and their game faces on, NHL alumni including Ric Nattress, Rob Pearson and Dan Daoust got into position to play hard. The roar of the crowd built steadily as the puck was about to be dropped at face-off. This was not an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre but rather a morning floor hockey game that saw CAMH clients playing side by side with their hockey heroes.

In the crowd cheering on the players were all the “dragons” from CBC’s Dragons Den, volunteers from Boston Pizza and CAMH staff. But CBC and CTV cameras were all focused on the action on the floor with clients taking shots and going head-to-head with NHL alumni. The action-packed game was called by Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean.

Hockey groupCAMH clients, staff and NHL alumni celebrate the dedication of the Sandi and Jim Treliving Gymnasium.

This event celebrated a $1 million gift and dedication of the Sandi and Jim Treliving Gymnasium. For Sandi, having her name on the gym holds such meaning. At the event, she shared her brother David’s struggle with schizophrenia and emphasized the importance of physical activity to his wellness.

“I know how important physical activity is to good mental health through my brother. I have seen how that part of his wellness program is important; he speed-walks every day and plays golf in the summers,” Sandi said. “And he knows that’s so important - to get his body moving and that’s just a part of his wellness. For me, I love having that connection because I know how important it is to my brother’s wellness.”

Sandi is thrilled the new gymnasium will offer similar opportunities for clients at CAMH like Mike who is a regular at the gym – dropping in for a game of soccer or floor hockey. Always ready with a smile and a helping hand, he also volunteers at client events – making breakfast, or speaking at support groups. It’s his way of giving back because he was on the receiving end of help at CAMH a few years ago.

“I grew up in an abusive home and got into trouble at school,” he remembers. “I ended up dropping out of school and just started hanging out with the wrong crowd.”

And that crowd led him down a path of alcohol and drugs, spiraling into a life on the streets and brushes with the law. “I wish I could rewind different parts of my life. Nobody would start drinking and abusing drugs if they thought they were going to end up alone, broke and homeless.”


It has been a long journey for the 36 year old. “I was out drinking and then I had my first hit of crack right at this corner at Queen and Ossington. But now, I guess everything has come back to where it started because this is where I got clean,” he says proudly.

Part of getting sober and staying clean was working out. The structure and the confidence he found in getting in shape was the start. What kept him coming back was the camaraderie of being with people who understood his challenges but were still working on finding recovery, and his desire to support them on that journey.

And the gym is key to that, says Blair Chard, recreation therapist at CAMH. The gym is booked solid every day which “speaks to the importance of clients being involved in leisure activity and physical activity, needing to be active and connecting with others through social activities.” Whether it’s open time or a personal trainer running the clients through circuits or just a walk outside, it’s an important part of getting healthy.

And that’s why the new gym is so welcome. “I see having this beautiful space as a real statement that we support clients in many different ways. This bright beautiful gym says ‘We are investing in you.’ I feel as a recreation therapist, people are behind us, including doctors and the clinical team. It’s valuable because it improves patient outcomes.”

The event brought together clients, staff, supporters, media celebrities and sports icons to celebrate the tremendous gains and ongoing journey of clients at CAMH.

"The CAMH event was very emotional - full of hope. Jim and Sandi Treliving's tremendous generosity set the tone and the passion of all attendees to help people dealing with mental health issues; it was contagious," said David Chilton, one of the stars of Dragons’ Den, otherwise known as “The Wealthy Barber.”

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The game's MVP Altino
The game’s MVP Altino proudly poses with his childhood hockey hero Dan Daoust.

“I spend a lot of time in the gym; I’m here playing hockey every Friday morning. And I grew up watching hockey so for me, it was a special moment,” he said, grinning from ear to ear after the event. “I didn’t want to leave the gym.”

That was partly due to being called out by Ron MacLean as the game’s Most Valuable Player and then being congratulated by hockey legend Dan Doust who took his jersey off and gave it to an elated Altino. “I will never forget today,” he said. “It was a dream come true for me.”

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