By Gisele McKnight
A sunny afternoon and a light breeze set the stage for the annual Farraline Place garden party on Aug. 10 in Fredericton.
Residents, their families, staff, volunteers, ACW members and guests gathered in the yard of the ACW-owned seniors’ home for a “Canada 150” themed afternoon event, with nearly everyone wearing red and white.
“We live in the best country in the world,” said home administrator Judy O’Donnell as she greeted the crowd. “I would like to welcome you on behalf of the residents and staff.”
Board of directors treasurer Charlie Wright led the crowd in singing O Canada, prayed the blessing on the meal and also spoke.
“It’s wonderful to celebrate with you,” he said. “I know Judy and those who make this their home are glad to have you here.”
Invited guests included several politicians, Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs among them.
“I want to thank the organizers for putting this together and for letting me be part of it,” he said, adding his wife is a former volunteer at the home. “Let’s celebrate this great nation of ours.”
MLA David Coon, the home’s representative in the legislature next door, sent greetings via a staff member, Taeyon Kim. He was out of town. Bishop David Edwards was on vacation and sent greetings from the diocese.
Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien told the crowd he has the best job in the world. The walk from his office on Queen Street, named the best main street in Canada, to “this oasis here” in the yard of Farraline Place reaffirmed his love for the city, its beauty and its people, he said.
“It’s never good to be too proud, but let’s cheer for Canada!” he said.
The Troubadors, a group from the Stepping Stones Seniors’ Centre, entertained with music and song, The group included five harmonica players. Their song choices focused on Canada and its provinces. They sang This Land Is Your Land, Something To Sing About (This Land of Ours), Squid Jigging Grounds, I wish I was With Them Again, Farewell to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island Is Heaven To Me, and many more.
Diocesan ACW president Rosemarie Kingston told the crowd a bit about her mission travels to South America and Uganda and contrasted what she saw there with our own country. In Uganda, AIDS and HIV has left many children orphaned, she said. And in Argentina, people woke up one day to find their savings were worthless due to economic and political strife.
As she spoke, she held her one-year-old granddaughter, Annie Elizabeth, who was born with a severe infection. Free health care was available for her in this country, she said, and it saved her life.
Staff and volunteers served a picnic lunch of punch, barbecued hamburgers, potato salad and coleslaw to the many gathered, with cake and ice cream for dessert.
It was in 1988 that the ACW of New Brunswick, at the request of Bishop Harold Nutter, took over Farraline Place. It has been a home for the elderly since 1907 when J.N. Pauletta Fraser, wife of the lieutenant governor, left it to be used as a home for elderly ladies.
The house was built in 1809 and enjoys a superb location on Queen Street next to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.
Farraline Home is not a nursing home or special care home. It provides independent living for seniors who don’t require personal care from staff.
Staff do, however, prepare meals, clean rooms, look after medications and do laundry for residents. For those not wanting to live alone, keep a house, rent an apartment or make meals and do chores, it is ideal. There are 20 bedrooms at Farraline Place.
The home got its name from Lt. Gov. J.J. Fraser, who took over the property in 1893. He named it Farraline Place after the original Fraser estate in Scotland.
Farraline Place operates on a tight budget. This fall, consider supporting its annual Harvest Gala Dinner and Auction on Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m. The event takes place at Christ Church (Parish) Church, Fredericton. Dinner is $35 per person, with a $20 tax receipt. For tickets call Judy O’Donnell at 455-6443 or contact an ACW member.