Pinewood Centre founder, noted storyteller, honoured with Oshawa parkette

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Published June 10, 2022 at 4:40 pm

The founder of the Pinewood Centre and a man who dedicated his life to helping those with addiction and mental health challenges had a parkette in Oshawa named in his honour today.

The new Dr. Blake Parkette officially opened Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony with members of Oshawa City Council and family and friends of the late Dr. Buxton George Blake in attendance.

Suitably, the Parkette is situated just south of Pinewood Centre, which is located at the end of Royal Street and adjacent to the Oshawa Creek Valley. The Parkette’s design was finalized with input from the community and local stakeholders and includes wide accessible paved pathways, a playground incorporating Jamaica’s colours as a tribute to Blake’s heritage, accessible seating, bike racks, shaded gardens and a Storytime Circle in recognition of Dr. Blake’s unique gift of storytelling.

“I am truly delighted to see the late Dr. Blake honoured during the International Decade for People of African Descent. George was an outstanding and innovative mental health professional as well as a storyteller extraordinaire who made a life-long contribution to the City of Oshawa,” said Dr. Leroy Clarke, an Oshawa educator and community advocate for development, justice and recognition of Black/People of African Descent

Blake died in 2018 and his son Yashin was on hand for Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. “My father was an ally to this country’s Indigenous people. He lived longer in Oshawa than in any other part of the world. It is very significant, and an honour, that part of the land now bears his name.”

In 2014, Blake received the Lifetime Achievement Award under the African Canadian Achievement Awards Program and was one of the original founders of Storytellers of Canada and founder of the Durham Folklore Storytellers.

“The contributions of the late Dr. Buxton George Blake have had a lasting impact on our community and supported so many individuals,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter. “We are pleased to honour Dr. Blake for his dedication to helping community members living with mental health conditions and addictions and for his role in founding the original Pinewood Centre in Oshawa.”

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