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The MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre (MMRC) was established in December 2006, through the merger of the Montreal Association for the Blind (MAB) and the Mackay Rehabilitation Centre.
Together, these two long standing private not-for-profit health and social services establishments of Montreal, have served the population of Montreal for over 240 years.
The Montreal Association for the Blind was founded in 1908 by Philip E. Layton.
The MAB began with the founding of a social club, a braille lending library and a sheltered workshop. In 1912, a residential school was built for blind elementary students in the process of being integrated into their local high school in 1922 – a first in Canada. Through the years many new services came to be, often through advances in technology. In 1947, talking books were added to the library and a low vision clinic was started in 1979. The MAB began a residence for blind and visually impaired seniors in 1968, later adding a Day Centre for seniors living in the community. A very special volunteer-operated weekly social activity called the Cheerio Club has been running for over 54 years, helping visually impaired persons combat social isolation.
Today, all vision rehabilitation services are offered on an external basis. The Philip E. Layton School of the English Montreal School board also operates on a non-residential basis at the MAB site, offering education services to the visually impaired.
The Mackay Rehabilitation Centre is itself the result of a merger in 1960 of two Montreal institutions, the Mackay Institution for Protestant Deaf Mutes and the School for Crippled Children. The Mackay Institution was founded in 1869 by Thomas Widd, while the School for Crippled Children begun in 1916. After their merger a new site was constructed on Decarie Boulevard. At the time the Centre housed a residential school and rehabilitation centre for 59 Deaf and motor-impaired children.
In 1989 the Mackay Centre began offering rehabilitation services to Deaf and hard-of-hearing adults and seniors, and closed its internal beds in 1997, offering all rehabilitation services on an external basis. The Mackay Centre School of the English Montreal School Board continues to be housed at the Mackay site.
In 2005 discussions about the future of the two organizations were initiated between the MAB and the Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, the result of a growing clinical and administrative partnership. After numerous consultations with staff, clients and stakeholders of both establishments, the decision to merge was taken in January 2006 by both boards of directors.
The merger will provide the necessary tools to accomplish the Centre's goals in several important areas, namely:
The MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre is looking towards the future with a renewed sense of purpose and a clear commitment; respectful of the past and united in the future.