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Our Founder

Dave Smith

Raised in Ottawa, Dave Smith learned a strong work ethic at his father’s shoe repair store in Lowertown alongside his 12 brothers and sisters.

Dave Smith came into the world in humble surroundings. His loving Russian-Jewish immigrant parents had settled in Canada and Ottawa not long before he was born.  Their dream was a simple one – to give their children a better future.

Growing up, young Dave learned from his parents the value of community and the importance of giving whatever he could to those who were struggling. These were lessons that were to shape his life and ultimately touch the lives of so many others. Today, Dave Smith is best known as a successful entrepreneur, unwavering philanthropist and community builder with boundless enthusiasm and an unshakable faith in humankind.

Known to so many in the Ottawa community as simply ‘Dave’, he has a unique gift for gathering and inspiring like-minded people around issues or causes that can improve the lives of others.

One of Dave Smith’s proudest achievements was (and still is) the establishment in the early 1990s of Ottawa’s first addiction treatment centre dedicated to helping young people – the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre.

After receiving a frantic call from a close friend whose son was addicted to drugs, Dave became frustrated that no treatment facility existed in Ottawa for youth struggling with drug and alcohol issues. As usual, Dave took action where he saw a need in his beloved community. After several years of advocacy, fundraising, door-knocking, speeches and dogged persistence the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre received operational funding from the Province of Ontario and opened its doors on Bronson Avenue in 1993.

Today, Dave Smith remains as passionate, dedicated and hard working as ever to ensure that every young person who needs help will receive it.


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