While a ribbon-cutting or grand opening celebration is on hold, the Gardens of Haliburton retirement residence is open for business.

Since COVID-19 restrictions have begun easing, retirees can now tour the games rooms, medical facilities and check out the view from a suite overlooking Head Lake.

The building’s first residents began moving in on May 1.

Phil McKenzie, company partner, said he heard many residents were excited to find out assisted living was available in the County.

“So many people who wanted the levels of care that we provide,” McKenzie said. “They were so happy to be coming back to Haliburton.”

Thirty-one suites are reserved out of 70 available units, which range from one bedroom hotel-style rooms to larger multiroom suites. Since last August, Patti Lou Robinson, director of community relations, has been heading up a showroom in downtown Haliburton Village.

“Now that the restrictions have been lifted, we’re now able to actually take people on tours,” Robinson said. “There’s still some restrictions: only two people at a time, you must wear a mask.”

Unlike rules during the worst part of the province’s third wave, the length of a quarantine period for new residents depends on their vaccination status. After a set amount of time and negative COVID-19 test, they’ll be able to mingle with other residents with safety protocols in place.

“People that were afraid to come in and be quarantined, are changing their thoughts,” Robinson said. “More and more people are interested in coming to see the suites and reserve them.”

She also said many people she’s spoken to have been drawn to the residence’s flexible living styles.

“There is the ability to have services provided for you, for different levels of care one might need,” Robinson said.

The entire ground floor of the building is made up of common spaces for residents: a large dining area complements two spaces residents can reserve for special dinners or family functions.

Once restrictions ease, more and more amenities will be available to residents: a gym, hair salon, and a small bus service to nearby towns and attractions, for example.

“There’s always something going on – it’s more like choosing ‘what am I going to do? rather than ‘is there anything to do?’” Robinson said.

Dysart et al Mayor Andrea Roberts hasn’t visited yet but said she’s excited that the residence is bringing more people – and jobs – to the County.

“There’s lots of well-paying jobs with something like this,” Roberts said. “It’s a great asset to our town and County.”

The Gardens of Haliburton currently employs more than 20 people. Phase two of construction, a multi-storey addition attaching to the end of the main building, will begin once the current suites are nearly filled. McKenzie estimates with that addition, the residence will provide more than 50 full-time positions.

For more on the Gardens of Haliburton, and current employment openings, visit gardensofhaliburton.ca

Stay Connected

Get TheHighlander delivered to your inbox for FREE every Thursday!
*