Stonehenge Therapeutic Community started in the spring of 1971. Dr. John Dougan was a local psychiatrist who ran the Guelph Mental Health Clinic. In his practice he recognized that many of his patients had addiction issues but there weren’t enough local programs to help them – so he started his own! Dr. Dougan knew about the therapeutic community model of treatment and thought it would work well for the addiction issues he was seeing in Guelph.
He secured a local farm north-west of Campbellville, ON for a $1 lease and brought in his first ten residents. The residents grew and tended their own vegetables, and raised chickens and a goat. The rural setting allowed a focus on healthier living and forced residents to work together and solve problems proactively. They also received daily counselling from Dr. Dougan and his staff from the Clinic. This location was only available for 4 months so Dr. Dougan found another farm, this time near Belwood, ON and the program continued in the same manner.
By the mid-70’s Stonehenge started to become recognized for successes in treating addictions and received funding from correctional ministries, both provincial and federal. This meant that someone who was incarcerated (for non-violent offences) and with a known addiction issue could be recommended to take the Stonehenge program as a stipulation of their probation or parole. Soon after, the provincial Ministry of Health started to provide funding for an additional 10 residential beds, so the program became available for free to anyone with an Ontario health card. These three Ministry contracts are still in place today.
In 1979, the farm Stonehenge occupied was being sold which forced another move, this time to a temporary location on a farm west of Orangeville, ON area. After a prolonged search for a new location, in 1981 Dr. Dougan and several investors found and purchased ‘Alden Hall’ at our current “Wellington” location in Guelph-Eramosa Township. With the move to a permanent location, Dr. Dougan also incorporated the agency as a certified not-for-profit organization which created the agency’s first Board of Directors in July 1981. Alden Hall has since been renamed ‘Dougan Hall’ in honour of Dr. Dougan. In recognition of our excellent treatment program, more beds were funded by the Ministry of Health. This gave rise to the construction of ‘Morrow Hall’ in 1989, purpose-built with help from the Guelph Lions Club. Morrow Hall is named after Irene Morrow, one of Dr. Dougan’s early supporters and to this day, Stonehenge’s only Honourary Board member.
The program remained co-ed at the Wellington site until the current “Westwood” site was purchased in 2000. Like the Wellington site, this site also had two buildings; an Administration building which serves as the ‘head office’, and a large heritage home historically referred to as ‘Ellenburn’. In 2002, renovations to convert the house into a women-centred treatment facility completed and Stonehenge’s residential program officially became gender-specific, each with its own site. This gorgeous limestone building built circa 1860 has since been renamed ‘Century Home’.
After operating primarily a residential treatment program for almost 30 years, new funding from the Ministry of Health started to focus on community-based programs. In 2010 Stonehenge received funding for a supportive housing program, and over the next ten years received additional funding for a breadth of community services. These new services included outreach, support coordination, withdrawal support, court support, overdose response, addiction clinics, rural services, as well as expanded housing. Now in our 50th year of operation, Stonehenge offers a full spectrum of addiction programs and services spanning from our long-standing residential treatment program to our ten different community-based services.