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Dr. Bell’s Legacy

"It is a privilege to be of service."

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Dr. Gordon Bell: A physician and a pioneer in addiction medicine

Dr. Gordon Bell: A pioneer and innovator

Our holistic approach to treating addictions and mental health problems is deeply rooted in the innovations of Dr. Gordon Bell, an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of addiction treatment, and one of the founders of Bellwood Health Services.

After World War II, while treating Canadian soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, acute anxiety and other mental health problems, Dr. Bell became interested in addiction medicine. He began developing a treatment model that integrated the 12-step fellowship of recovery with a caring community approach that emphasized respect, acceptance and support.

Leading a revolution in addiction medicine

Dr. Bell’s holistic treatment model, which focused on the rehabilitation and care of the mind, body and spirit, revolutizoned addiction medicine. In 1967, he founded the Donwood Institute, Canada’s first public hospital for addiction treatment. In 1984, he and his daughter, Linda Bell, founded Bellwood Health Services. He also opened a number of addiction treatment clinics throughout the years, including the Shadow Brook Health Foundation, the Willowdale Hospital for Women, and the Bell Clinic.

Dr. Bell dedicated his life to helping individuals and families struggling with addictions. In 1982, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his groundbreaking work and research in addiction medicine.


A Letter From Dr. Bell

Dr Gordon Bell

Hopelessness and powerlessness characterize the inner experience of persons suffering from addiction. Over fifty years ago, when I began treating alcoholics, the hope of helping them seemed minimal at best.

Since those early days, we have learned that with treatment, we can restore hope and help recovering addicts get their lives back. Our philosophy of treatment is to treat the whole person within the context of a caring and supportive community. We make every effort to help persons rebuild their lives physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.

I have always been impressed with a statement of William James, the Father of American Psychology: "Seldom, if ever, do people live to the limit of their abilities. They possess powers that they habitually fail to use."

At Bellwood our interdisciplinary team of professionals - Physicians, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers, Therapists, Spiritual Counsellors, Nutritionists and Physiotherapists - work together to offer state-of-the-art treatment for Chemical Addictions. We have a remarkable group of professionals determined to provide a caring community in which addicted persons can heal. My personal motto has always been "It is a privilege to be of service." Today I am pleased it is a motto that has been adopted by all of our Bellwood Staff.

Are you suffering from the effects of an addiction? If so, give us a call. We can help you regain hope and find within yourself the power to reclaim your life. You will be in good and caring hands at Bellwood Health Services. It will be our privilege to serve you so you can save your life.

- R. Gordon Bell, O.C., M.D., LL.D

The Bellwood Journey


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