I was trolling for bike-taxi customers when I met this guy on the strip – he’s 83 years young. In the movie above, he recalls the old days, during World War 2, before the car displaced the horse and the train to become king in Bells Corners. Gary’s Automotive was a blacksmith back then! Next door was the Orange Hall with its wood-burning stove. Not that long ago, but how Bells Corners has changed!
I also talked to a woman who gets around Bells Corners on a trike, the kind you see all over the place in retirement communities in Florida. They’re very stable and can easily haul groceries. She talks about her experiences as a sidewalk outlaw.
More vandalism in Bells Corners – the Westcliffe Estates Community Building has been closed indefinitely due to vandalism reported on the morning of Aug. 10.
The City currently runs a preschool and children’s day program out of the building on Seyton Drive.
Barre Campbell, a spokesperson for the City, said the programming has been moved to the Lynwood Community Building on Sycamore Drive until the interior damage to the Westcliffe building can be repaired.
Did you see the great article in OttawaThisWeek (Aug. 11) about Harmer House?
Seniors like living in Bells Corners, and at a recent meeting at the Westcliffe Community building they shared their thoughts:
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN BELLS CORNERS?
The most popular response to this was that seniors liked living in Bells Corners because everything is available and accessible. They feel where they live is close to stores, banks and pharmacies, and other facilities.
Other key reasons why seniors like living in Bells Corners are:
The proximity of the Greenbelt, the scenery, being close to nature to see the deer, and walks in the woods.
It’s a peaceful and quiet community, away from the city.
The bus system and service is good.
They feel safe.
It offers open spaces that are walkable and a very friendly neighbourhood where people are always there to help.
One person noted they valued the history of the community and many enjoyed retirement living at Harmer House where there are many social events and they don’t have to shovel snow or cut grass.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN BELLS CORNERS FOR SENIORS?
The largest response was around exercise groups for seniors such as tai chi (once a week), dances (once a month), walking clubs, line dancing and one mentioned encouraging having a public swimming pool built in Westcliffe.
Some mentioned more local activities for seniors in the afternoon or evening, including:
Card games such as bridge and cribbage.
Activities in French, including bingo, jeux de pétoncle and shuffleboard.
A drop-in cafe to meet others.
Singles club for 55 and up.
Two residents asked to link seniors with youth interested in helping with yard duty for homeowners and seniors retirement homes. They noted the youth could do some odd jobs in the apartments, even have a list of students who would do paid jobs such as wash a senior’s car, etc.
A few noted that they would like more information on where they could go to ask about seniors things or they’d like a seniors centre in the community. Another pointed out the need to fix the sidewalks for wheelchairs and make the slope easier to manoeuvre between the road and the sidewalks.
Most of the feedback focussed on encouraging social events that will involve seniors and entice them to participate.
WHAT KINDS OF SERVICES ALREADY EXIST FOR SENIORS IN BELLS CORNERS?
The key locations seniors pointed out were the Royal Canadian Legion branch 593, Harmer House activities, Nepean Home Support, local businesses that have discounts for seniors on certain days, and the United Church.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER THE COMMUNITY?
Many seniors came forward with ideas and more than a dozen volunteers came forward to provide support in improving the quality of life for Bells Corners residents, including:
Helping to teach knitting and cross-stitching for children or adults.
Running a mah-jong tile game or other board game program.
Teaching how to bake a cake and decorate it.
Joining local committees to support seniors programming.
Co-ordinating a regular local bingo.
Providing rides for people with appointments.
Reading French books to children.
The Bells Corners community already has a strong volunteer base that supports new and long-term programs in different neighbourhoods.