Father Paul A. Charbonneau
Father Paul Charbonneau was born in 1922 to parents Alphie and Anne Charbonneau. After graduating from Assumption College High School, he entered St. Peter’s Seminary in London, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 22, 1948. He served as parish priest/pastor at numerous churches in the Essex County and Windsor, and served as Air Force Chaplain in Germany for five years.
In 1964, Father Paul along with Kay and Jim Ryan rented a vacant restaurant on the corner of Wyandotte Street East and Chilver Road. Supporting seven men with counselling, Charity House was established. Within a very short period Kay and Jim realizing they needed a larger space to help those in need, sold their home, and with the money and purchased a building in Olde Walkerville. Despite the success of the Charity House, the name deterred those wishing for help with addiction. Father Paul and the Ryans’ opened a new location on Sandwich Street. This name was changed to Brentwood and served became an in-house recovery centre for men. The group was so very successful that in October 1983 the old Elmwood casino, located at 2335 Dougall Avenue became available for sale. It had been closed for years and was in great despair with windows smashed, electrical stripped and entire walls missing. From November 1983 until July 17, 1984, many people worked, unpaid, remodeling until the opening of Brentwood, 2335 Dougall Avenue, Windsor, ON, which is still Brentwood today.
Father Charbonneau was the much loved lifetime best friend of Jim Ryan (2006) and Kay Ryan (2013) and their family. Their work together changed the negative perception of addicts and established a support system in the Windsor, ON community. Father Paul’s work has been recognized nationally and he has been the recipient of many awards including:
1977 Canadian Silver Jubilee Award,
1988 Doctor of Law Degree from the University of Windsor
1989 The Order of Ontario
1992 Queen’s Confederation Medal
2000 Windsor Achiever of the Century
2002 Golden Jubilee Medal
2005 The Ontario Medical Association Award