Valley Seniors: a chat abotu all that is good in Canada

Five Alberni seniors talk about the reasons they are proud to live in Canada.

On the eve of Canada’s 145th birthday celebration, we have asked five Canadians about the reasons they are proud to live in this country.

Harvey Dion, resident of Abbeyfield, was born in Gravelbourg, Sask., in 1920 and moved to Port Alberni in 1946 to work at Alberni Pacific Division (APD).

“You can’t get a better country than Canada. Sometimes, or most of the times, we don’t think much about it, because we take things for granted, but I can say that when you see other places, this is the best.”

Marie Harding, resident of Heritage Place, was born in Moose Jaw, Sask., in 1918. She lived in Dawson Creek, B.C. and several places in Alberta. Her father was a grain buyer so the family had to move frequently.

“I have travelled extensively to several places in the world, such as USA, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, The Galapagos Island, Mexico, etc. And, although there are many beautiful places to visit, none of them is compared to Canada.

“Especially our Vancouver Island, where nature is seen everywhere: trees, mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, etc.”

Bob Hastings, a resident of Rainbow Gardens, was born in Lashburn, Sask., in 1929. He has lived in the community for many years and worked at the “Plywood” plant. After the Second World War, he was stationed in Germany for 12 years with the air force. There he worked as a driver, driving “everything on tracks and wheels”.

“Our West Coast is the best! Canada has lots to offer to its citizens: working opportunities and a good life. Its cities, towns, the country side, the coast, they are all beautiful.

“I have  travelled to Europe, the USA and other places, but, again, our West Coast is great!”

Jerry Hnennyj, resident of Echo Village, was also born on a farm in Saskatchewan, in 1935. His parents were from the Ukraine and moved to the west coast for better working opportunities almost 75 years ago, when Jerry was a baby.

“You bet I am a proud Canadian! I was a taxi driver for almost 50 years so I got to know the real Canadians. They are great!

“Here in Port Alberni people are friendlier than anywhere else. I say this because I used to drive people from other places on the Island to their cities, and, nobody beats this place.”

Peggy McMurdo, resident of Fir Park Village, was born in Vancouver in 1920. Her father was Irish and her mother a Polish descendant. McMurdo moved around the Island several times and other parts of Canada as well, and worked in many places, such as Woodward’s, Somass Hotel, the Barclay and the Arlington.

“Canada is everything to me. I was born and lived in this country all my life and I can say that I love it. The people are what makes this country great.”

What’s on for seniors:

  • Mary Ella Newberry, longest Abbeyfield resident, just turned 96 years old.
  • On July 1, many of the seniors homes’ residents will take part in the Canada Day Parade. Others will watch it on 10th Avenue.
  • Rainbow Gardens residents will be doing a “build a bear” event with the children followed by a Teddy Bear Picnic on July 3.
  • Rainbow Gardens will celebrate its 20th anniversary on July 21 from 12–2 p.m.
  • The residents of Abbeyfield will “hit the road” this summer.
  • Some events will include “lunch with the castles” in Parksville and a visit to the Rollin’ Art Centre.
  • Hank and Lorna will entertain at Abbeyfield on July 24 at 2 p.m.
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