Long term care home celebrates 50 years in operation in Toronto

20 September 2023 / by Owen Thompson

True Davidson Acres Long-Term Care Home is celebrating 50 years of service in the East York borough of Toronto.

The facility is one of ten owned and operated long-term care homes by the City of Toronto. It houses anyone who has issues taking care of themselves above the age of 18 and currently has over 187 residents.

Ceremonies started in the afternoon with food and entertainment for the residents and guests. Family and friends of the residents were in attendance alongside staff and volunteers. An opening speech was done by Jennifer Dockery, General Manager of Seniors Services and long-term care at True Davidson, and by Brad Bradford, Toronto city councillor of Ward 19.

“I think about True Davis and I think about all of you as neighbours. It is a vital part of our neighbourhood and family here. I look at that very fondly, because I think it’s really the best of Toronto, I think it’s the best of our community. You are all an essential part of that,” says Bradfrod. “Happy 50th. Let’s look forward to the next 50.”

After the speeches were done, and despite torrential rain, a tree planting ceremony took place with a plaque to commemorate the 50 years of service in the community.

“50 years is a big milestone for any institution. True Davidson acres is a hub of community here in East York. It has been for five decades now. I was talking to [residents] while we were  walking in and reflecting on the world as it was in 1973. It was a time when David Crombie was Mayor and Pierre Trudeau was the Prime Minister,” says Bradford. “It is important to think about all the people who have walked through these doors and given their time, their talent, their treasure, to make a place like True Davidson.”

With the long history of True Davidson Acres, some of the volunteers and staff are younger than the building itself. This is the case for Avi Sharma, home administrator at True Davidson. Sharma says with the age of the building and the celebration it is the time for “rekindling past memories” and “looking forward” to the future of the facility.

For one volunteer, the celebration rekindled past memories. Denyse Cowan has been volunteering at the facility for over eight years with her currently operating the tuk shop. She says that her grandparents lived at True Davidson over 40 years ago and remembers how different the place was.

“My grandparents were residents here about 40 years ago; I’m well acquainted with True Davidson acres,” says Cowan. “It was very different here before a lot of the changes. They had to share common bathrooms and things like that, where now all the residents have their own bathrooms…[and] they have more private space for themselves.”

True Davidson went through major renovations in 2005 completely changing the building. Cowan says the changes to the facility have been for the better of the residents. Dockery says originally the facility was closer to “little apartments” for residents than for long-term care with some residents in the past having jobs.

“You see the changes in the complexity of the residence. We’re now coming into long term care much older, much frailer, requiring actually a different level of care. I think at every point it’s important to stop and reflect on the fact that you’ve accomplished a whole lot. 50 years is a long time in order to prepare us for looking forward again,” says Dockery.

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