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A Short History of L’Arche Daybreak

In 1964, the first L’Arche home was opened in a small village in France, creating a culture of shared living between people with and without intellectual disabilities.  The creation of this community took the idea of living with and supporting those living on the margins of society, and turned it into a reality.


Recognizing the need for such a community in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Steve and Ann Newroth, with core member Bill VanBuren, started L’Arche Daybreak in 1969.  With that, the second L’Arche Community in the world was born.  Daybreak is the oldest and largest L’Arche community in North America. The original property of 13 acres along with the Big House and the old barn was donated to us by the Sisters of Our Lady’s Missionaries.  Today, the main property includes two homes, five vocational programs, and the Dayspring spiritual centre, as well as six homes in the surrounding Richmond Hill neighbourhoods.


Daybreak members, both young and old, are very much integrated into the wider Richmond Hill community through shopping, dining out, and accessing entertainment and recreational activities.


L’Arche Daybreak is non-denominational and inter-faith. We celebrate the spiritual traditions of those who are Christian, Jewish, and Muslim with great respect and appreciation. We also honour community members who do not identify with a faith tradition. In all that we live at Daybreak, we celebrate our diversity, whether in ability or faith tradition or culture, as these differences weave a beautiful tapestry, which reflects our core belief that all people have unique and sacred value.


L’Arche Daybreak is a dynamic example of how people of different intellectual capacity, social origin and culture can live and learn together. We are blessed today with such a vibrant and diverse community.