The History of Pathways Health Centre for Children

Pathways Health Centre for Children has been a crucial part of development for countless children in Sarnia-Lambton since it first opened its doors in 1975.  Many people were a driving force in bringing the Centre to the area. Now over 40 years after its first day, the Centre has undergone a 12,952 square foot expansion and renovation to fulfill the growing needs of the community. 

The Pathways Post

A special publication commemorating our 40 years of serving the community. Revisit some of the milestones of our journey.



The need for a Treatment Centre in Sarnia-Lambton was recognized by members of the Rotary Club of Sarnia, parents of children with physical disabilities and local health officials.


Treatment began in the basement of the Red Cross building in Sarnia for the first 18 children. Treatment was provided in a variety of locations including St. Luke’s Church.


The Sarnia & District Crippled Children's Treatment Centre was incorporated following many years of dedicated work, financial commitment and support by the Rotary Club of Sarnia.


Official opening of the Centre at its present location on Murphy Road on land leased to the Centre for $1 per year by the Rotary Club of Sarnia.


The Adaptive Equipment Workshop was established with funding from the Rotary Club of Sarnia and the community.


The Centre changed its name to the Sarnia & District Children's Treatment Centre.


A north expansion of the Centre was built with support from the Rotary Club of Sarnia to house Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Clinical Records.

A south expansion was built with funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services to house a Developmental Classroom.


The Therapeutic Pool was opened with funding from the Rotary Club of Sarnia, the Ministry of Health, the Easter Seal Society and community contributions.


The Augmentative Communication Services, Respite and Special Services at Home Programs were launched.


The Augmentative Communication Service was designated as a General Level Clinic by the Assistive Devices Branch.


Integration of special needs children into the school environment resulted in the closure of the Lambton County Board of Education classroom.


An expansion of the Centre accommodated growth in the Speech-Language Pathology, Augmentative Communication and Audiology services, with support from the Rotary Club of Sarnia.


A Family Resource Centre was established with a grant from Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.


Pathways was designated as the lead agency for the local Preschool Speech and Language Initiative, with additional funding from the Public Health Branch of the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to enhance service.


The Lambton County Preschool Speech and Language Initiative launched SoundStart.


The playground was upgraded to meet CSA standards with the support of the County of Lambton.


The Augmentative Communication Service was designated as an Expanded Level Clinic by the Assistive Devices Branch.


The Centre changed its name to Pathways Health Centre for Children. Supplementary Letters Patent were received.


Pathways Health Centre for Children was moved under the new Ministry of Children and Youth Services and away from the Ministry of Health.


Pathways was chosen by the County of Lambton as the sole deliverer of ECE Resource Support Services.


The Centre closed its preschool program and prepared to re-open as C.A.C.H.É. Child Care.


Pathways launched the ECE Resource Support services for Lambton County and opened C.A.C.H.É.


C.A.C.H.É. was renovated to provide toddler spaces (from 18 months).


The School Health Support Contract with the CCAC was discontinued. Sarnia-Lambton families began a public campaign and petitioned the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to transfer funding for the program to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services for delivery of service through Children’s Treatment Centres. OACRS and the CTCs lobbied both Ministries for a speedy resolution.


Pathways is no longer a Group K Hospital under the Public Hospitals Act.


The “Building for Children Capital Campaign” was launched and the Centre was renovated with an expansion funded in part by an Infrastructure grant with federal, provincial and community participation and widespread community support. A total of $2.7M was raised. The lead donation was a pledge of $600,000 over ten years from the Rotary Club of Sarnia. A pledge of $500,000 over five years was received from County of Lambton.


Pathways was accredited with Exemplary Status by Accreditation Canada.


The Government of Ontario announced a new Special Needs Strategy and asked communities to form planning tables for Coordinated Service Planning and the Integrated Delivery of Rehab Services.


We celebrated our 40th anniversary as a Children’s Treatment Centre!


Pathways received the Accessibility Leadership Award from the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce at the Business Achievement Awards night.


Pathways was designated the Lead Coordinating Agency for Lambton to plan the implementation of Coordinated Service Planning in partnership with our community. The service which was launched in October 2017 delivers support to the families of children and youth with multiple and/or complex special needs in navigating service across multiple sectors.


The Expressive Arts Program made its debut on stage at the Imperial Theatre in Sarnia with a spectacular performance by clients.


Pathways offered its first iCan Bike 5-day bike camp aimed to teach children and youth with disabilities the skills to ride a conventional 2-wheel bike.


Pathways launched an online Family Portal with a grant from the Sarnia Community Foundation. The portal provides a secure interface for families and clients to communicate with their clinical team.


Funding from five local industry partners enabled Pathways and the three First Nations communities to design and implement an innovative service delivery model to be delivered over the next three years on each First Nation with Pathways therapists working alongside indigenous therapy workers.


Pathways launched its first social enterprise. The Lifelong Learning Program provides independence, training and life skills programming for young adults with disabilities.


Pathways launched a new partnership with the Middlesex London Health Unit to offer the Infant Hearing Screening program in our community (part of the province-wide MCYS Universal Screening Program). Newborns in Lambton County are screened either in hospital or in a community setting (Pathways or Central Lambton Health Clinic).


Pathways went live October 23rd with Coordinated Service Planning (CSP) – a plan to coordinate multi-sector services for families of children and youth with multiple and/or complex needs. Partnerships emerged on First Nations and CSP training in the community.


In December, Pathways had to close its aging therapeutic pool as a result of a significant leak.


In January, as lead coordinating agency, Pathways received funding to plan and implement the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategy in Lambton with a focus on consultation and support to build seamless system navigation for children and youth with FASD or suspected FASD, and their families.


The government announced the establishment of the new Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS), formerly Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) in June. Four Ministries became one to find efficiencies and reinvent the way it delivers services for the people.


In May, Pathways launched an individual donor campaign to fix the pool leak.


In September, Pathways re-opened its therapeutic pool thanks to community support.


In November, the Rotary Club of Sarnia announced a pledge of $600,000 over 10 years as part of the launch of a $1.6M campaign to refurbish the Pathways therapeutic pool and aquatic centre.


In November, Pathways took over contract management for School Based Rehab Services.


The provincial association of Children’s Treatment Centres formerly known as the Ontario Association for Children’s Rehabilitation Services or OACRS, officially rebranded as Empowered Kids Ontario (EKO). The name change is reflective of moving from a provincial association that represents only the interest of Children’s Treatment Centres, to also engage and support other rehabilitation providers.


The partnership between Pathways with Aamjiwnaang, Walpole Island, and Kettle & Stony Point First Nations, Suncor, Esso, Shell, Nova Chemicals, and Arlanxeo was honoured to receive a Tribute Award for partnership at the annual EKO conference.


In February, Pathways revealed the transformation of our main and aquatic entrance lobbies by the Smilezone Foundation and another Pathways supporter. Smilezone’s mandate is to help make our clients’ visits to the Centre a little bit brighter.

Pathways signed a formal proposal to our Regional Diagnostic Hub in Hamilton for the funding necessary to support the assessment and diagnosis of children and youth in Lambton, partnering with diagnosing physicians.


Pathways had to close the Centre due to novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and services were migrated to virtual for 3 months, after which a slow re-opening of face to face services took place.

 2020Refurbishment of our Therapeutic pool began.



The Original Sign
The building in 1975
The 1986 groundbreaking of the Therapeutic Pool
The Building before the 2010-2011 Renovation and Expansion
2010 Groundbreaking of Renovation and Expansion
Last updated Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 12:20