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Abbey Retreat Centre renamed 

The Abbey Retreat Centre will soon be known as Brooksong Retreat and Cancer Support Centre. 

Executive Director Barb Smith-Morrison says the change has been in the works since December, in an effort to make their mission clear. 

“We realized it would be really important for people to know right off the bat what we do,” says Smith-Morrison. “Thus moving from Abbey Retreat Centre to a name that has ‘cancer support centre’ in it is really important for us.” 

She adds it also helps differentiate them from Abbey Gardens, a not-for-profit which shares a property with the centre and was also founded by businessman John Patterson. “There was a lot of confusion within the local community thinking we were the same organization,” she says. 

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Smith-Morrison says the new name comes from the two “singing brooks” that flank the centre on either side.  

“As soon as you walk onto the property, you hear these brooks,” says Smith-Morrison. “What we found is that people were really drawn to that sense of a deep connection of nature, as well as the notion that as the brooks sing and have their own story to tell, absolutely so do the people that come to our cancer support programming.” 

She notes another inspiration was the poem Our Real Work by American author Wendell Berry. She says the line “the impeded stream is the one that sings” is one that parallels the process of having a story beyond a cancer diagnosis. 

The not-for-profit announced the rebrand at a fundraiser on Friday, and Smith-Morrison says it’ll be rolled out over the coming months. 

“We’re looking forward to re-introducing ourselves to the community,” she says. “As our vision and mission are blossoming, it feels like there’s a real beautiful momentum as we’re growing into what we can become and the way we can serve people facing a cancer diagnosis.” 

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