New partnership helps Toronto caregivers to Relax, Recharge, Renew – Diffuse PR

Four organizations are working together to identify caregivers of people with complex needs to be recipients of a two-night staycation in Toronto

TORONTO, Feb. 16, 2024 /CNW/ – The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence (CCCE), Community Living TorontoReena, and Safehaven today announced a new partnership to identify caregivers of people with complex needs for Destination Toronto’s Relax, Recharge, Renew program, a social responsibility initiative that offers recipients a restorative weekend in the city.

Relax, Recharge, Renew provides local parents or primary caregivers of people with complex special needs a weekend staycation in Toronto. Founded by Destination Toronto in 2008, the program aims to make tourism accessible to residents who would not otherwise have the opportunity to explore their own city.

Under the new partnership, Community Living Toronto, Reena, and Safehaven identify eligible families to participate in the program and provide safe and appropriate respite during their two-night break. CCCE is coordinating and convening the partner organizations.

Toronto hotels, restaurants, attractions and other businesses in the tourism and hospitality community provide the donations that make Relax, Recharge, Renew possible. Staff volunteers from Destination Toronto coordinate itinerary details for the weekends that include car transfers, a two-night hotel stay, tickets to attractions and/or events, and meals.

Through the support of the tourism and hospitality community, more than 600 families have had the opportunity to experience a Toronto weekend break since the program began in 2008. Families who access services through one of these agencies can reach out to their respite contact to inquire about their eligibility for the program. For more information on Destination Toronto’s Relax, Recharge, Renew program, or to see a list of businesses who donated to the program in 2024, please visit


“The Relax, Recharge Renew weekend getaway is a wonderful program. Without the support of Destination Toronto and their partners, we never would have taken the time to spend quality time together, rest and explore our great city. I hope that more caregivers get the chance to participate in this, it is much needed.”
           –       Mary Arnold, Relax, Recharge, Renew participants, identified by Safehaven

“We know that access to respite services is a significant barrier for many caregivers, leading to high levels of stress and burnout. We are grateful to all our partner organizations and the businesses across Toronto for giving families a much-needed break from their daily routines and the opportunity to enjoy this incredible city.”
          –       Liv Mendelsohn, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence

Community Living Toronto welcomes the program and is pleased to be a part of this collaboration that gives caregivers a much-needed break. The Relax, Recharge, Renew program isn’t just about taking a break; it also helps people feel like they belong in our city. Together with our partners and supporters, we’re dedicated to showing care and kindness, one weekend at a time.”   
            –        Brad Saunders, CEO, Community Living Toronto

“Caring for individuals with diverse abilities is both enriching and demanding. At Reena, we value the dedication and daily sacrifices made by caregivers and this partnership reaffirms our commitment to supporting them in the crucial role they play in our community. Through Relax, Recharge, Renew, we provide caregivers with vital respite and rejuvenation opportunities, ensuring they can continue delivering the best care to their loved ones.”
             –       Bryan Keshen, CEO, Reena

“Safehaven is proud to be involved in the Relax, Recharge, Renew program, a wonderful initiative that gives caregivers of children with complex needs a much-deserved break and a chance to enjoy the vibrant city of Toronto. We are honored to partner with Destination Toronto and CCCE along with the amazing organizations that provide respite and support to these families. We believe that tourism can be a force for good, not only for the economy, but also for the well-being and happiness of our community.”
            –       Susan Bisaillon, President and CEO, Safehaven

“In the sixteen years since we started Relax, Recharge, Renew, the program has delivered a much-needed break and Toronto experience to more than 600 families. The partnership with Community Living Toronto, Reena, Safehaven, and the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence to help us identify local families – along with the generous donations from the tourism and hospitality community that make the weekends possible – shows Toronto at its absolute best. Together, we’re redefining what it means to support our community, one weekend getaway at a time.”
             –       Andrew Weir, Executive Vice President, Destination Toronto

About Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence

The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence is an initiative of the Azrieli Foundation to support and empower family caregivers and care providers across Canada. We bring together stakeholders from across the country, translate knowledge to practice, scale what works and fill gaps through innovation. We are guided by four focus areas: support networks and knowledge sharing; education and leadership development; advocacy and policy development; and inclusion and underserved communities. Our expertise and insight, drawn from lived experiences, help us campaign for better systems and lasting change. We work closely with our partners and grantees towards shared goals and better experiences for all those who provide care.

About Community Living Toronto

Community Living Toronto has been a source of support for people with an intellectual disability and their families since 1948. We offer a wide range of services including respite, person-directed planning, employment supports, supported living, and community-based activities. We are proud to support over 4,000 people and their families in 80+ locations across Toronto. The “community living movement” began with families who wanted their children to live in the community, rather than institutions. Today, we continue to advocate for inclusive communities and support the rights and choices of people with an intellectual disability.

About Reena

Reena is a non-profit charitable organization that promotes dignity, individuality, independence, personal growth and community inclusion for people with diverse abilities within a framework of Jewish culture and values. Reena was established in 1973 by parents of children with developmental disabilities as a practical alternative to institutions. Since that time Reena has grown to provide support for 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

About Safehaven

Safehaven is a not-for-profit organization that has provided residential and respite care to individuals with medical complexities and developmental disabilities for over 30 years. We are dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for our clients, where they can live with dignity and respect because we all belong. With six locations across the GTA, Safehaven has served thousands of individuals diagnosed with cerebral palsy, down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, genetic disorders, and other complex care needs. Partnering with clients, families, agencies, and other organizations, Safehaven provides exceptional care to meet the unique needs of our clients.

About Destination Toronto

Toronto’s visitor economy is a vital economic engine for the city, generating $7 billion in visitor spending in 2023. Destination Toronto’s mandate is to reflect the breadth and diversity of Toronto’s people, places and culture to inspire residents and visitors to meet, visit and explore our city. Operating in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Hotel Association, Destination Toronto markets and promotes the city to attract visitors and major meetings and events, and supports local businesses to maximize the opportunities of the visitor economy. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Azrieli Foundation (The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence)

For further information: Media Contacts: Olivia Olesinski, Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence -Communications Manager,, 416-579-4701; Kathy Motton, Destination Toronto – Senior Communications Manager,, 416-721-9203


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