An OCDSB Tribute to the Legacy of Dave Smith

An OCDSB Tribute to the Legacy of Dave Smith
Posted on 09/04/2020
An OCDSB Tribute to the Legacy of Dave Smith

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board would like to extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dave Smith, who recently passed away at the age of 87.

An entrepreneur and philanthropist, he is fondly remembered as a long-time friend of the OCDSB. His decades of support for Ottawa youth, students and schools have left a lasting impact on our community. 

We are challenged to count how many pancake breakfasts and events he participated in to raise funds to help vulnerable students and support the Education Foundation of Ottawa, of which he was one of its first directors. He remained on the Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2006.

Dave’s commitment to community, youth and social justice was the bedrock for several partnerships with the school District.  Some examples include the creation of:

  • Learn to Earn, a collaboration between industry, government and education partners to addressing the issue of skilled occupations for all citizens, with especial emphasis on those individuals who are labeled as at risk by the social, educational and justice systems.
  • Project Trading Places - a school/community/business partnership to support youth in trouble with the law and involved with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
  • Trades-Related Education in Ottawa - Dave recognized that students need many pathways. He was particularly interested in ensuring skills and training opportunities for youth.  He focused his interest in a facility on McArthur Road and from those efforts the highly successful Ottawa Technical High School was established.  Today, the school continues to offer a range of courses for students, many of which are not available at other schools.

More recently, he focused his energy and passion on supporting youth facing serious substance use and mental health issues - an issue very important to all of us at the OCDSB.  His leadership on this issue led to the development of the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre, a much-needed community resource.

Dave often recalled that it was his parents who instilled in him the gift of giving early in life, particularly for those who are the most disadvantaged in the community. It’s an important lesson we must consider in reflecting upon Dave’s legacy. In so many ways, Dave was the embodiment of the priorities we hold today - innovation, caring and social responsibility.  We remain deeply thankful and inspired by his commitment to improve the lives of so many.

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