The Bob Dailey Stadium in Port Alberni is a landmark venue for people of all ages, who use it regularly for walking, jogging, practicing group exercises or taking part in recreational or competitive events.
“We are very lucky in Port Alberni to have sports facilities like our stadium, available to anyone who wants to use them,” says Jules Gaudreault, a Valley senior citizen and a regular user of the stadium’s track.
A good number of seniors take advantage of the track, which provides an easier and more pleasant even surface for walkers and runners. Throughout the spring and summer months the young and old can be seen there from the early hours of the morning to late afternoons, enjoying such a healthy environment while admiring the spectacular natural surroundings of the area, including the imposing view of Mount Arrowsmith.
Gaudreault is one of the many seniors who spends hours walking on the track on a daily basis. He uses it as a physical rehabilatation method to exercise his legs—much needed after a knee operation he suffered a few months ago.
“Since I had surgery on my right knee, I haven’t missed all but one day walking at the stadium,” he said. “Truly, I wouldn’t be able to walk the way I do now without the exercise I conduct there on a daily basis.”
He also states that walking on the track surface makes it easier on his feet.
While on the track, he never walks alone, because he is always joined by friends—also seniors—who not only do this as a worthwhile physical activity, but also to enjoy the social component of the get-together. One of his walking partners is an old friend of his from their working days at the Somass Mill.
Gaudreault, who was born in Quebec 75 years ago, moved with his parents to Port Alberni when he was only 18 months old and has lived here ever since.
“My father, Jerry Gaudreault, decided to come to the west coast where he found work at the Somass Mill in town as a shingle weaver, which provided him with a sustainable source of income for him and his family for many years,” Gaudreault explained.
Gauldreault’s father was also well known in Port Alberni for his involvement in the local Legion, especially as a member of the “Visiting Committee” who paid regular visits to seniors and shut-ins in the hospital, in their homes or long term care homes.
Gaudreault did all his schooling in the Valley and, at the young age of 18, he married a local girl named Darlene, also 18, in 1964. The couple had two children, Robbie and Leanne.
Gaudreault did his carpentry apprenticeship at the Vocational School in Nanaimo, and later he found a job at the Somass Mill. A few years later, he formed his own contracting company to built houses.
Now retired, Gaudreault maintains his positive attitude to life and friendly easy smile, and keeps socially active by taking part in various other activities in the community, including card games, crib and poker, bowling and floor curling and, of course, his everlasting passion for golf.
Before the pandemic, he and Darlene enjoyed a worderful time on trips overseas.
“Now, I am getting ready for surgery on my left kneee and will continue using our wonderful stadium for therapy!”