PORT PERRY, ON, Jan. 31, 2012 /CNW/ - The Great Blue Heron Charity Casino, located on the lands of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, today celebrated its 15th anniversary of gaming entertainment and providing economic support and charitable assistance to Durham Region and Scugog Township.
"We are very proud of our charity casino and the contribution it has made to the region over the past 15 years," said First Nation Chief, Tracy Gauthier. "It gives the Mississaugas of Scugog Island a great sense of pride, as it gives us the ability to support our own people and contribute to the local community."
Together, the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino and its charitable arm, the Baagwating Community Association, are the region's most significant charitable resource. Since opening its doors in 1997, the charity casino has raised more than $1.4 million through its annual charity golf tournament in support of the Port Perry Hospital and Starlight Children's Foundation.
Baagwating has donated millions of dollars to local organizations and initiatives, such as the R. S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre at Lakeridge Health and Oshawa's University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Most recently, it donated $100,000 towards Attawapiskat emergency relief efforts.
"I can tell you at Queens Park we look at Great Blue Heron as a model on how things work when they work well. The message I will take to Queens Park is that the Great Blue Heron model is what should be emulated and duplicated across the province" said David Zimmer, MPP and Parliamentary Assistant to the Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. "The Ontario government is proud to be a partner. I would like to congratulate the Great Blue Heron, the First Nation, Casino's Austria and all partners."
With more than 1,100 staff, the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino is a significant employer for the region. It attracts over 1.3 million patrons per year, generates approximately $236 million in direct and indirect economic benefits to the Durham Region each year and contributes in excess of 1,770 direct and indirect full-time employment positions to the region.
"In just 15 short years, the Great Blue Heron Charity Casino has evolved from humble beginnings into an important and influential business," said Arnold Block, the charity casino's General Manager and CEO. "Currently, we are working with the Ontario Government to expand our operations, so we can provide even more jobs and greater charitable assistance to the region, in the near future."
The Great Blue Heron Charity Casino is a cooperation between the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, and is operated by the Great Blue Heron Gaming Company, which is comprised of Casinos Austria International, the Steiner Group and Sonco Inc.
For further information:
905-985-4888 ext. 314