Orangeville Seniors Centre marks its 30th anniversary

October 1, 2018   ·   2 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Who says that retirement and growing old can’t be fun? Well the Orangeville and District Seniors Centre has celebrated its 30th anniversary to recognize all members, both past and present, and everything the centre has done to provide a fun, social, and relaxing place for seniors.

The centre marked 30 years on Tuesday (Sept. 26). Members enjoyed music, food and drinks, and a raffle draw for prizes. Having long been located at 26 Bythia Street, the centre has been a focal point for seniors in Orangeville and the surrounding areas.

“I’m so happy that this place is here,” said Edie Page, one of the centre’s original members, adding “it is so gratifying” seeing how well the centre is thriving and being used.

“We have people from Caledon, Bolton, from Shelburne, Hillsburgh – they come from all over the place,” says Pat Elmore, the centre’s administrator for 29 years. “It’s a good place to work.”

The centre started off with 150 members, and has now grown to over 500. It has a fully equipped kitchen, and offers a variety of programs and activities, such as carpet bowling, line dancing, shuffleboard and cards, fun and fitness, woodcarving, bingo, and arts and crafts. The centre also provides lunches and bus trips. “We do quite an assortment of programs,” explained Ms. Elmore.

She adds, “it’s a community centre,” as they rent it to the Orangeville Optimist and Lions clubs, the Horticultural Society meetings, and private parties such as baby showers.

Suzanne Hutchinson, the centre’s president since May this year, was previously a board member for two years, and explained to the Citizen that after retiring and moving to Orangeville, one of the first things she did was join the centre. “I walked in, I signed up, and I played cards. So I came in a couple times, started playing cards, got involved more and more, and the rest is history.”

She says she likes the centre for its social aspect, as many who have made friends through the centre do stuff outside of it, and is very beneficial to the town and those who use it. “There are a lot of people who come out to the centre everyday.”

Some of the changes Ms. Elmore noted are more men joining, and the seniors being a bit younger, and more active. “People are retiring early. When I first started, people didn’t retire until 65,” she says. “Now we have yoga, we have zumba, we have tai chi, and we have more active programs.”

She described the centre as a “one of a kind,” with the volunteers being the most important part of the centre operating for three decades. “It’s very rare to see a seniors centre run strictly by volunteers. It’s quite unique.”

“For a lot of the seniors, this is a second home,” says Bernadette Price, a 21-year member.

She explained that she joined the centre because both her husband and herself are big card players. “We’re here five days a week on an average.”

Ms. Elmore commented on the centre adding new and different programs through the years. “You have to adapt. There are more active programs being requested.”

One of those is the cyber seniors program, which helps seniors understand computers and cellphones. “Seniors are like sponges, they’re like young people, and they’ll absorb and try to learn things. These type of programs, these educational programs are great.”

Ms. Price, 72, says she has gotten to know and make several friends from the centre, and helps give them something to do after retirement. “You can come here, play cards, you can go home, and you’ve had an outing, and you don’t feel so alone. “It broadens your horizon.”

“It’s not just a building, it’s people,” says Orangeville Mayor Jeremy Williams on why they are celebrating 30 years, noting that it’s not about running a building, “it’s 30 years of a community of all of you coming together.” He thanked everyone who has been part of the building’s history.

“Your centre provides invaluable programming that allows seniors the chance to find new skills and stay connected with their community,” said a representative for Dufferin-Caledon MP David Tilson. “We are grateful to have such a great facility full of hard working and caring people.”

“The centre encourages our seniors to remain active and independent,” added a representative for Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones. “Your care and hard work continues to enhance the quality of life for our seniors.”

Readers Comments (2)

  1. William Church says:

    Correction It opened in the fall of 1988 not 1987. I turned 55 on August 23, 1988.
    Thus, it was probably built in 1987 or 1988.

  2. William Church says:

    I wonder where you got your information.
    A group of Women led by my wife got land from the town and had the Centre built in either 1986 or 1987 ( I forget which ).
    I remember that it opened in 1987 because I turned 55 that year and was the youngest member to join when it opened. I may be the only member from that era still living. They spent many nights at our house reviewing plans and held several garage and bake sales in our back yard to raise money to pay for its construction ( they had it built on budget and had about $10,000.00 left after it was built )


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