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Abbotsford Needs You!

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Abbotsford Needs You!

By Julie Ireton

If you’re newly retired, love to organize events and ready to shift your skills to volunteer in your own community — Abbotsford at the Glebe Centre could use your help.

With a full slate of both in-person and zoom activities set to launch, the seniors’ centre in the old, stone house across from Lansdowne Park has a lot on offer, but raising the money to keep seniors active, and to keep the centre operating, will be a key focus in the coming year.

Right now, planning is underway for the “Abbotsford House Gala: A Night To Remember”, a 200 person fundraiser at Lansdowne’s Horticultural Building set for October 19. It will feature cocktails, dinner, live entertainment and auctions in support of Abbotsford’s programs.

Volunteers and sponsors are critical for the event to proceed, and the centre’s director of charitable giving, Bruce Hill, is eager to find generous donors and local companies interested in helping out.

Annual bazaar replaced

In the past, folks from far and wide would line up outside the Abbotsford House and crowd into every room to find bargains, baking and treasures inside at the annual bazaar.

But in the wake of COVID, cramming inside small spaces is no longer prudent, so Abbotsford is hosting several, smaller events at different venues to raise some dollars.

Other upcoming fundraising functions include Abbotsford’s Fine Finds: Art, Elegant Treasures and Jewels, to be held Saturday, October 1, from 2 to 5. Tickets are $20 each for this afternoon sale and gathering in support of programs.

And for those who still covet the crafts, baking and teddy bears well-known to former bazaar attendees, Abbotsford’s Craft Fair will take place at the centre on Saturday, November 26 between 10 and 2 complete with a tea room.

Funding struggles

As an organization that operates on government grants, fundraising and membership fees, securing stable funding is always a struggle, according to Karen Anne Blakely, director of community programs at Abbotsford.

“We did lose funding for next year,” said Blakely. “Initially, the City of Ottawa cut all our funds, $91,000 for 2023. We wrote a letter to the mayor and he investigated. The result was they reinstated us to the amount of $44,000.”

But the seniors’ centre is still losing more than half the funding it received from the city in 2022.

Abbotsford’s programs reach a diverse community, including LGBTQ seniors and those who live in subsidized housing and require extra support services, according to Blakely.

“The challenge is making up the money we’ve lost,” she said.

Back stronger with different options

Despite the funding shortfall for 2023, the centre has plans in place for the rest of 2022.

“We are offering more and more in-person classes. We’re also continuing with Zoom, since we’ve found some people like the ease of joining in from home.” said Pat Goyeche, coordinator of community programs at Abbotsford.

New this coming season is a Broadway dance class that will be taught by Mary Tsai, who Pat worked with on numerous theatre productions at the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group over the years..

There will be “Get Smart” classes to help seniors figure out the tricks and tips of using an iPhone. And for the first time in two and a half years, the pottery studio will be open for class and studio time.

Speakers series 

“Our speaker series is full blast in the fall,” said Goyeche.

That series will include guest speaker, Geoffrey Stevens who co-authored Flora MacDonald’s own story, Flora! A Woman in a Man’s World, which was published after her death.

There will also be a special travelogue session from Goyeche and her husband, Alex Neve about their trip to Greenland and the Northwest Passage.

New check-in and registration systems

A new, automated check-in system called MySeniorCenter is now greeting everyone who visits Abbotsford. The large, user-friendly touch screen is installed near Reception.

The touch screen will prompt questions concerning COVID protocols and will helps staff manage sign-up and sign-in information as well as take attendance.

A new registration system, which the membership helped fundraise for, now allows participants to register online, but those who prefer to register by phone still have that option.

For more information about the fundraising events or to donate please contact Bruce Hill at: 613-238-2727 ext. 316 or via e-mail at

Abbotsford is your Seniors Active Living Centre.  We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home.  Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon-Fri 9-4 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website