A pianist played jazz in the Bistro, as staff passed around hors d’oeuvres - while in the light-filled Dining room, magician Graeme Reed, aka Graemazing, entertained residents and guests enjoying a complimentary barbecue of hamburgers, hot dogs or sausages.
There were hand massages in the Salon, temporary tattoos in the Fitness centre, and caricaturist Rob W. producing his sketches in the Potting Shed, all for a donation to CHATS (Community and Home Assistance to Seniors).
And there were smiles everywhere, as residents and staff welcomed family and visitors to The Elden Retirement residence for its official grand opening.
The Elden has been accepting residents since the start of the year, when Bob Sturgeon was the first to move in.
Since then, new residents have arrived nearly every day, and The Elden has become a community. “It’s a wonderful place to work,” said staffer Jennifer de Winter. “It has a great atmosphere.”
In the ‘50s-style Pool Room, Anne Terry was getting tips on improving her game from ‘pool shark’ Bruce Butler. “I find I’m so busy here I have no time to go to my room and read my book,” laughed Terry, who moved into the residence earlier in the spring. “There are art lessons, my music… Yesterday I went on a bus tour.”
It’s all part of The Elden’s ‘unretirement’ philosophy, and goal to become “a community for the new generation of elders.”
“Today we get to celebrate a truly magnificent retirement residence,” said general manager Brigitte Blair, as she introduced Dale Beasse, president of The Elden developer, Bekerman Properties.
“For me, the thing I have to do is… to express a great deal of gratitude,” said Beasse. The project was launched through a partnership with St. John’s Presbyterian Church, which made the land available, and through the Seniors Accommodation Community Improvement Plan (CIP) incentive program of the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury.
“I’ve done business all over North America. There are maybe two other communities that have been that positive to work with,” Beasse said.
He thanked all who were involved in The Elden, which has become a prototype for other similar projects. “Last, I want to thank the residents and their families, for making the decision (to move to the Elden) and trusting us,” he said.
“It was a huge team that helped make this a reality,” said Mayor Rob Keffer. “We can feel proud, everybody that was involved.”
Keffer noted that it was through the town’s strategic planning process that the CIP grant program was launched in 2016, with the goal of attracting 250 retirement residence units within 3 years. Three months later, Bekerman Properties was the first company to apply.
The result is The Elden. Not only does the residence provide jobs and pay taxes in the municipality, said the mayor, it gives seniors in the community “the comfort of knowing they do not have to move away from the town they love, Bradford West Gwillimbury.” In the past, a lack of accommodation in town forced seniors to relocate, to Newmarket, Barrie and other centres with retirement and assisted living facilities.
MPP for York Simcoe Caroline Mulroney congratulated The Elden “for recognizing that as people are aging… they want to be more involved, that they want to be part of healthy and active living.” Bradford is the second-fasted growing community in Ontario, she said, and “people don’t want to leave this place.”
With facilities like The Elden of Bradford, they no longer have to.
The celebration wrapped up with cake, champagne and a toast to The Elden.
The Elden of Bradford is located at 3131 Line 8 BWG at 10 Sideroad. For information call 905-775-1700, or see EldenBradford on facebook.com.