Benjamin Moore embarks on “Colour Care Across Canada” and provides paint makeovers for women’s shelters

The uplifting emotional impact that a fresh coat of paint and new wall colours can yield is being put to the test as Benjamin Moore Paints rolls out “Colour Care Across Canada,” a paint makeover program for women’s shelters. Canadian Women’s Foundation teamed with Benjamin Moore to reach out to shelters across Canada for this initiative. Interval House, Toronto’s oldest housing for women and their children who’ve left their homes because of domestic violence, was the first among nine such residences nationwide to undergo the transformation over the course of the next two months.

In Toronto on August 24, 2011, ECOpainting Inc. and Odyssey Renovations, painting contractors who work regularly with Benjamin Moore, stepped up to volunteer their time and labour to do the job at Interval House. Professional painting contractors who work regularly with Benjamin Moore are planning to help out in the other Canadian communities.


“Abuse against women is increasing at frightening rates in Canada, and it has contributed significantly to driving women and their children from their homes, onto the streets and seeking safe havens, like Interval House,” said Mike Kolind, market general manager for Benjamin Moore Canada. “It’s a demoralizing, and in some cases, a dehumanizing condition that can break the spirit of any family. The shelters are being taxed and strained by the growing numbers. Interval House, which opened its doors 38 years ago, has helped hundreds, but has had to turn away as many if not more. And, this is the case of other shelters throughout Canada. Although there’s no simple solution to this troubling occurrence, Benjamin Moore’s aim in launching “Colour Care Across Canada” is to bring attention to the situation, and at the same time try and brighten – with the power of colour – the living environments of those who seek this basic human need for safe housing and a community of support.”


Benjamin Moore’s promise is to provide interior paint for all bedrooms at each shelter location. Often these spaces are shared by families and include bathrooms and play areas for the youngsters. Kolind said that the painting contractors also will handle minor repair on walls, ceilings and trims to properly prepare the surfaces being painted. There’s a plan, as well, to leave behind a few extra gallons with brushes and rollers, “in case residents, staff or volunteers feel inspired to spruce up other areas of the house that remain in need of a coating.”

To ensure that the colour options of these community residences will add an upbeat mood while respecting local and regional tastes, Benjamin Moore colour expert Sharon Grech put together suggested palettes that each shelter will be able to choose from.


“There will be no cookie-cutter looks,” said Kolind, “and no standard institutional hues. This is an empowering opportunity for the shelters to select colours that are livable and likable.”


Topping off the contribution will be new bedding ensembles from GlucksteinHome provided courtesy of The Bay. Benjamin Moore struck up a collaboration earlier this year with the design brand, and the sets chosen coordinate with Benjamin Moore paint colours being used in the shelters.


The Colour Care program also is underway in the US, where a shelter in each of the 50 states plus Washington, DC, is getting a colour makeover, all completed in a matter of 50 days.

Participating shelters in Canada are: Mountain Rose Women’s Shelter in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta; Interval House in Toronto, Ontario; Haven Transition House in Nanaimo, BC; YWCA Westman Women’s Shelter of Brandon in Brandon, Manitoba; Maison de “Passage” House Inc. in Bathurst, New Brunswick; Grace Sparkes House in Marystown, Newfoundland; Cape Breton Transition House in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; Adjointe à la direction MaisonleFAR 1985 inc. in Trois-Rivières, Quebec; and Southwest Crisis Services in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.