1.888.285.6958 crisis@ghws.ca

Welcome to Green Haven Shelter for Women

Green Haven Shelter for Women is a feminist organization dedicated to promoting the rights of women, with or without dependent children, to live in an environment of mutual respect. Through public education and advocacy we affect social change and will eliminate violence against women.

Welcome to Green Haven Shelter for Women

Green Haven Shelter for Women is a feminist organization dedicated to promoting the rights of women, with or without dependent children, to live in an environment of mutual respect. Through public education and advocacy we affect social change and will eliminate violence against women.

Our Kitchen

Our Play Room

Our Bedrooms

Our Kitchen

Our Play Room

Our Bedrooms

About our Beginnings

Green Haven Shelter for Women officially opened its doors on October 4, 1991,… but its seeds were sown more than a dozen years earlier.

In the late 1970’s, a small group of citizens met to discuss the need for services in Orillia to support women and children experiencing violence and abuse. Barb Green & Marcia Perryman approached the city and received $75 that they added to their own money to rent an apartment for emergency situations. When funding ran out, the hostel ended, but the goals still remained – to promote community awareness of the issues related to violence against women, and to provide an emergency shelter and full support services for abused women and their children. In the late 1980’s an informal group of committed women established the ‘Orillia Women’s Advocacy Group’, and began the enormous task of raising funds and support from the community, and making grant applications to both provincial and federal governments. Public meetings were held, and articles were printed in local newspapers about violence against women and its impact on the family and the community.

The first application for “Project Haven’ capital funding was rejected by the federal government as the group had not yet been incorporated and could not receive charitable status as an advocacy group. OWAG regrouped, and chose the name Green Haven Shelter for Women in honour of Barb Green, for the years of valuable community service and family counselling she provided dating back to the apartment hostel. Orillia’s chapter of the Quota Club provided seed money to support the public awareness campaign and the City of Orillia provided office space in the Sir Samuel Steele building for a nominal fee.

In 1990, Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services funded an administrative position to coordinate the capital project, and many groups and individuals in the area began to send in donations to open a shelter. By September 1990, a house was purchased, architectural drawings completed and rezoning of the location was approved by City Council.

Green Haven Hires Interim ED

The Board of Directors has hired an Interim Executive Director to work with the Board over the next few months to plan and hire a permanent Executive Director.

Ligaya Byrch, will become the Interim ED on November 27, 2020 following the over 30 years of leadership provided by Liz Westcott who is retiring.

Ligaya Byrch will bring to the organization over ten years of leadership experience in the shelter system including the management of a women’s program in Toronto. Ms. Byrch comes with over twenty years experience at a governance level, and over 30 years experience at a senior leadership and executive level. Most recently, as a Community Innovator and Entrepreneur, Ligaya has been able to support various local charities to raise funds for their programs. This work has amounted to over $2M in base and one-time dollars coming into the local community to better support some of the most vulnerable of
our society.

“I look forward to the opportunity to support the clients, staff and Board through this period of transition. It is a privilege to serve this organization in this capacity.”
– Ligaya Byrch, Community Innovator & Entrepreneur.

Greenhaven will take the next few months to build an assessment and analysis of the organization today and where it needs to go.

“The Board realized that we need to take the time and pause and determine the right next steps. After having a Director in the role for over 30 years, there was a need to understand where the organization will go next. We thank the women we serve, and the community for their patience and continued support. We will continue to communicate changes and growth at Greenhaven.” Cheryl Harrison, Board Chair.

For more information please contact:
Ligaya Byrch, ligayabyrch@hotmail.com or 705-619-2400