Our History

(ACL) was originally formed by a service club and a group of parents who were concerned about a lack of services for their children living with a mental disability.  The inaugural meeting of the Interlake Association for Retarded Children, was held September 23, 1965. On July 6, 1973, the Association changed its name to the Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded – Interlake Branch (C.A.M.R.).  On February 26, 1986 the name Association for Community Living – Interlake Branch was filed in the Corporation and Business Names Branch, Province of Manitoba.

In 1965, the new organization established a private school for children living with a mental disability as they were not accepted into the public school system.  Legislation changes in 1966 mandated school divisions to provide education for all children living with a disability.  The Interlake School Division acted quickly and moved the small class to Edward Best School.

The Association then turned to vocational services for adults living with mental disabilities.  They opened an occupational centre in January, 1969. A new building was erected in 1970-71 through the efforts of the Stonewall Kinsman Club and the Association.  An addition was added in 1983 and the name changed to the “Arris Centre”.   In 1992, to meet a growing demand for their services, CLI built a new building that housed our day programs, vocational training and offices until February 2 of 2015

Our New home – 307 Main Street

In recognition of our 50th anniversary and our continued commitment to provide the best care to our clients, CLI purchased a prominent storefront at 307 Main Street Stonewall.  After some initial renovations, we relocated to 307 Main Street on February 2nd 2015.

The core of this structure is an 1882 rubble stone building, typical of the original Stonewall Main Street businesses.  For over 100 years, this building served as the local Hardware store.  Major additions to the building were added in the 1940’s and the 1970’s and by 2015 the building was 10,000 square feet. We renovated the building between November of 2014 and August of 2019. This new facility provides space for day programs for up to 50 adults and offices for our administrative functions.  The expansive storefront space on Main Street provides us with the opportunity to operate a social enterprise business called Something Beautiful.  On October 31, 2019, our main renovation program was complete and we integrated our lunch/coffee shop operations into the Something Beautiful gift shop.

Through Something Beautiful we operate a gift store and a lunch/coffee shop These not for profit businesses give us the opportunity to develop new options for skills training.  Our job coaches work with a number of our clients every day on skills ranging from baking to counting money or customer service. Some of our individuals work full shifts in the store or café while others may just work on one simple skill like cleaning a table.