Montreal space for children with special needs closes due to flooding

Click to play video: 'In service to special needs kids in Montreal, Caden’s Lighthouse tries to get back on its feet after flooding'
In service to special needs kids in Montreal, Caden’s Lighthouse tries to get back on its feet after flooding
WATCH: It's a one-of-a-kind, multi-sensory environment in Montreal for children with special needs. Caden's Lighthouse is a safe, comfortable and fun place for all kinds of children, but it was recently forced to close its doors after a flood. As Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports, the owner is trying to rebuild. – Aug 14, 2023

Caden’s Lighthouse is almost unrecognizable.

The multi-sensory environment, with tons of different activities for neurodiverse children was damaged due to flooding last month and has been closed ever since.

“The sink was bubbling. My husband asked if I poured something down the sink because it was making weird noises, and within a minute or so, underneath the walls, the water had exploded and started coming in, kind of like it was hugging the whole facility,” said Rachel Ricci, the founder and owner of Caden’s Lighthouse.

The sewage water, Ricci says, contaminated nearly everything.

The walls and floors need to be ripped out and replaced, as does all of the specialized furniture and equipment.

Ricci estimates the cost to rebuild will exceed $225,000, and she says it’s a long process so it’s too early to say when the work will be carried out.

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“We had some adjusters come take pictures and submit quotes and estimates and now we’re in the process of looking for construction quotes,” Ricci said.

Caden’s lighthouse, located in Montreal West, was opened by Ricci in honour of her son, Caden, who is on the autism spectrum.

After years of trying to find places to take him where he can safely learn and play, and coming up short, she decided to create a space of her own.

Now, hundreds of other families, like Patricia Orlando and her son Nathan, use Caden’s Lighthouse as a place to play, do therapy or just hang out.

“For my son, this is his happy place, his safe place, where he can be him and at the same time have his therapies, take a break, go on the swing,” Orlando said. “It’s part of his routine to come and it’s been a big gap in his day.”

Orlando says there is no other place in the city like the lighthouse, which makes filling that gap for her son all the more difficult.

In order to help support Ricci and help the lighthouse get back on its feet, she created a Go Fund Me.

She, like many others, hopes it will be rebuilt and will reopen as soon as possible.


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