OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Mission is marking a milestone. They have been open for one million hours over the past 114 years.

“How neat today, to pass over a million hour milestone, always open - never closed; a million hours of service to this Ottawa community,” CEO Peter Tilley said Tuesday.

“This is a shelter that’s survived two world wars, that’s been here to support people through the great depression - we saw a huge spike for our services then.”

Tilley says he recently had a chance to look through an old fire-proof safe in the shelter’s basement and found the original founding minutes on Sept. 20, 1906.

Since then, the Mission has continued to help those in need by providing shelter and a warm meal.   

Chef Ric Allen-Watson is both the Chef and Director of Meal and Food Service training at the Mission.

“In 1906, we served just over 13,400 meals, last year we served over 520,000 meals.”

Allen-Watson isn’t just an award-winning chef. He also leads a food training program, teaching skills to help find employment in the food industry.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was at an event today, to mark the occasion,

“I’ve been able to see first-hand how quickly they can adapt and change to circumstances,” he said.

The Mission has adapted during the pandemic by rolling out a food truck to those that can’t travel downtown.     

“We catch people who come in our doors at a specific time in life, and point in their life, and hopefully it’s one that improves after they leave here,” Tilley said.

If you’d like to donate to the Mission, click here.