This is what reconciliation looks like and it’s the Churchill Health Centre – Hill Times

February 19, 2024

The health centre in Churchill, Man., is the community’s heart and soul, and some say it’s the reason the community has had no suicides in a generation. No youth suicides or opioid abuse challenges. For an isolated town in the West and the Prairies, this is so unique. But there’s more.

OTTAWA—On the north end of the province of Manitoba on the mighty Churchill River sits Churchill, a small town that doesn’t quite fit in the province that reconciliation almost forgot. Named after some duke who was never there, the land is the traditional territory of Dené and Cree, and Inuit seemed to pass through from time to time as well. As with many places on rivers, there was a Hudson’s Bay trading fort at one time, the only one on the Hudson’s Bay. Continuing in the trading economy, a huge train terminal was built in the 1920s to ship grain. The town used to have a population numbering in the thousands when the military base was operating. The base had a cover story: to test the atmosphere with rockets, nudge nudge wink wink.

But when the military left in the 1960s, they destroyed all the military housing and structures. The deal was the military had to build the town something if they were going to remove all those buildings. So the military built the town complex.

Picture this: a 250-seat theatre, salt-water pool, gym, hockey rink, library, curling rink, early childhood space, and meeting space all in one complex, and a health centre connected to it. It’s the heart and soul of the community.

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