Published by Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services

The second annual Don McBain Memorial Award has come to a close and Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) is proud to announce this year’s recipients; Benjamin Miller, Paige Jackson, and Tracy Lanoue.

Benjamin Miller is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and is a Métis citizen with ancestry from Snowlake, Manitoba. Ben went to St. Mary’s College Secondary School with high grades throughout his high school career. Ben was involved in the Robotics club in his school years before COVID and was even Co-Captain of the Math team in his fourth year. He plans to achieve a master’s degree in engineering to further his knowledge in the field of robotics. As of this Fall, he is enrolled in the Four-Year Bachelor of Engineering – Mechatronics program at Sault College, with the hopes of later achieving a Master’s Degree in Engineering to further his knowledge in the field of robotics and the sustainability of technology.

Paige Jackson is from The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation and will be attending Fanshawe College in London, Ontario for their Fine Art Foundations program. Paige has always had a love for the arts, her culture and the outdoors. She hopes to one day use art to work with people in and around her community to benefit their mental well-being. This is a topic that Paige can personally relate to as she has dealt with mental health struggles throughout her youth.

Tracy Lanoue is a member of the Xwisten community of Lillooet, British Columbia and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. Tracy is a 3rd Generation Survivor of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. After many years of living in survival mode, Tracy sought help with her mental health and learned how her trauma shows up and how to live a life worth living, leading her to her dream of becoming a Psychotherapist to help others heal just as she has. Tracy will be attending Seneca College in Toronto for their Social Service Worker Program, with a desire to continue towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and beyond.

Paige, Benjamin, and Tracy thoroughly meet the requirements for the Don McBain Memorial Award, which was established to support Indigenous students’ education in Ontario during their first year of post-secondary studies with an award of $5,000.

Don was the inspiration behind the creation of OAHS, which was incorporated in 1994 and had a beneficial influence on everyone he encountered. Don dedicated decades of his life to advancing the goals and vision of the organization and during his leadership, helped transform OAHS from a development agent to a multifaceted corporation that employed over 80 people, along with owning and managing a portfolio of over 2,400 safe and affordable housing units. While OAHS continues to grow, Don planted its seeds.

Chair of the Don McBain Memorial Award Committee, Sarah McBain, is especially thrilled about this year’s recipients. “My father’s drive, work ethic and determination for a better community were seen directly in Paige, Benjamin and Tracy and we are excited for what the future holds for them as they pursue their education,” she proclaims.

OAHS would like to thank everyone who applied this year for the award. We were moved and inspired by your stories, the kind words of your mentors and peers, and the passion you have for creating better communities. We would also like to thank our sponsors for their continued donation towards the award and for making this whole process possible: CGV Builders, SilverBirch Partners, Two Row Architect, Tache Construction, and KRGInsure.

A final thank you to the Don McBain family and committee who worked tirelessly reading through applications and letting their hearts guide their decisions to select these fantastic students.

We look forward to the announcement of next year’s award so stay tuned for Spring 2023!