Huntsville’s Fairvern Nursing Home marked its 40th birthday this week.
Residents, staff, board members, and local officials gathered at the building Thursday afternoon to celebrate the occasion.
“Some days I can’t believe I’ve been here for 40 years,” says Joyce Vicaire, who has worked at the home since it opened in 1982.
The District of Muskoka assumed control of the 76-bed home at the end of June, ahead of its redevelopment into a 160-bed facility at Centre St. and Hanes Rd. by 2025.
Vicaire says she’s excited about the new home, which comes with upgrades such as changing from paper records to computers.
“I’m kind of looking forward to the new one, to tell you the truth, because this one here has done its time. We need to move into something a little bit more advanced, because we don’t have the semi-privates, the private rooms,” says Vicaire. “We really need to get more private rooms, [because] even though [the residents] are all old folks, doesn’t mean that they all want to be together.”
Carrie Acton, the home’s administrator, says Fairvern’s long history means many experiences are now coming “full circle,” such as one previous staff member who is now a resident at the home.
“There were some stories being shared yesterday amongst our long-service staff [where] this resident was their [Registered Nurse], and just sharing what that was like, and her being able to remember her experiences of working here as well,” says Acton. “Those full circle moments that we’re seeing are really, really exciting, and then [there’s] the excitement that’s building around the move to the new home as well.”
Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano says she can’t believe it’s already been 40 years since Fairvern first opened, noting that she’s had two grandparents live at the home.
“As much as we’re celebrating the 40 years that got us to this point, we’re looking forward to the next 40, 50, 60 years,” says Terziano. “I think it’s going to be here longer than I am. It’s almost as old as me,” she jokes.
Although a groundbreaking ceremony for the new home was planned for the anniversary, Julie Stevens, Muskoka’s Chief Administrative Officer, says it’s been postponed to the fall because of rock-blasting work for the facility’s road. Aside from that, she says everything is proceeding well on schedule.
“Our plan is that we’ll be in the new home by the end of 2025 and all things staying as they are right now on our schedule, that’s our goal,” says Stevens. “That’s three years away, roughly, so we’ll celebrate the 45th anniversary in the new redeveloped home.”