Griffin Shales is a bubbly 7 year old boy with cerebral palsy, and one of the many children in the Ottawa area benefiting from the Development and Rehabilitation programs offered at CHEO. Griffin, who struggles with mobility, relies on his robotic Trexo gait trainer for assistance standing and walking. While he may not be as mobile as other kids his age, Griffin is as happy and adventurous as any other child.

When Griffin was matched with PCL/ED via the annual CHEO Telethon we had no idea how much of a perfect match it was. As it turns out, Griffin happens to love all things construction. From excavators and dump trucks, to the hard hats and vest - if it’s on a construction site Griffin loves it!

“Seeing how impeccable this pairing was, we knew we had to do something special,” said Jordan Clouthier, the manager of Special Projects, and PCL Constructor’s representative for this year’s CHEO Telethon. “What could be more special than being a part of triggering a blast at one of Canada’s most iconic and recognizable construction sites?”

The Centre Block Rehabilitation Project is the largest restoration of its kind with innovative construction practices at the forefront. In addition to the rehabilitation, a large part of the new design is the Parliament Welcome Centre (PWC), which requires the digging of a 21m deep pit outside Parliament, affectionately called The Big Dig. It was here that Griffin was asked to trigger a controlled blast.  

It was an amazing event that both PCL and EllisDon staff got to watch, thanks to Griffin’s parents who recorded his enthusiastic participation. His wave and glowing smile made the event even more special for all involved. Especially Michael Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent at PCL, who made this video possible with his exceptional drone and voice-over skills.   

“I think we’ve all known kids who just loved construction or construction vehicles,” Clouthier continued. “But it was really great seeing how excited Griffin was at not just getting to see a video of one of the controlled detonations, but able to push the button himself to ‘trigger’ it.” 

PCL Constructors have worked with CHEO since 2016 and helped to raise over $200,000 for the hospital and its programs. PCL Ottawa has made CHEO a primary organization of donation and fundraising over the past few years and it continues to help support CHEO’s initiatives that change the life of many children and families across Eastern Ontario and broader Canada.

PCL Constructors and the Centre Block team, in collaboration with CHEO, were so happy to create this experience for Griffin and his family. We hope his excitement and love for construction makes you smile just like it did all of us.

Who knows, maybe you will see him on a PCL job site one day!