Bob Sturgeon was the first to sign up for a suite at The Elden retirement residence back when it was just a series of artist’s conception drawings on paper.
On Monday, Jan. 7 he was one of the first three residents to move into the new building, located at 10 Sideroad and Line 8 in Bradford West Gwillimbury, adjacent to St. John’s Presbyterian Church.
Although blustery, wintry weather made conditions less than ideal – “It was a terrible day to move in,” said Sturgeon – he is delighted with his new home.
“This is a beautiful place.”
Huge windows overlook farmers’ fields and the adjacent town, while thick walls keep out the sound of passing traffic.
In addition to the main dining room, there is a 50s-themed room, complete with billiard table and jukebox, where milkshakes will be available, and a comfortable bistro that offers light meals and snacks. The adjacent library is a cozy spot for reading and playing board games, including cribbage – and with its moveable bookshelves, can be reconfigured for special programs and events.
Sturgeon found some old friends among the residents who have been moving in since opening day – including Lylia Culbert.
“We started school together 90 years ago,” he said.
For the past 10 years, Culbert has been living in retirement residences in Barrie – first at Roberta Place, then the Barrie Manor, after a fall, because there were no facilities in Bradford.
“It was a 45-minute drive,” said her daughter Nancy Young, who operates Nancy’s Nifty Nook.
Young has been a strong proponent for seniors’ accommodation in BWG for more than two decades.
Being able to bring her mom back to Bradford was the realization of a dream.
“I drove up the road Monday, and just about cried,” she said. “Finally we are here – and not just my mom, everybody!”
Her brother, Jim Culbert, visiting from Prince Edward Island, helped move his mother’s furniture into her studio suite, hanging photos and artwork on the walls.
“She’s got all her things around her,” said Young. “She likes it.”
Even more importantly, Young can visit more frequently, taking her mom on trips to the eye doctor and hair salon.
“I can be here more often, living just five minutes up the road.”
Jaime Robertson, marketing manager at The Elden, noted that about 20 residents moved in during the first week – with more arriving in the coming weeks.
The dining room, with its chef-inspired meals, is already “officially the best place to eat in Bradford,” Robertson said. “We’re very proud.”
Special activities and new clubs are planned every day. The Elden will offer massage, a spa and salon that will be open to the public, a visiting doctor once a week.
“The bricks-and-mortar is lovely, but it’s truly the people who live here who will make it what it is. The laughter – that’s what I love hearing,” said Robertson.
The Elden is located at 3131 Line 8 in BWG. For more information, see theelden.ca.