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The Restoration of Abbotsford’s Front Porch is a Symbol of the Restoration of Engagement and Activity for our Seniors.

Bill Robertson, President of Members Council, Sarah Moriarty of Amica the Glebe and Lawrence Grant, Executive Director of the Glebe Centre cutting the ribbon after the restoration of the porch Nov. 19, 2021.

By: Pat Goyeche

What’s old is new again

The official cutting of the ribbon for Abbotsford House’s restored front porch took place on Friday November 19th. The original porch that would have been built just under 150 years ago was quite different that today’s version.  It was originally much longer (from the front door to underneath the front window) and the stairs faced Bank Street.  Over time the porch changed, as did the needs of those who at one time were housed in the building.  Around 1975 the house took on its present incarnation as a Seniors Centre, serving the Ottawa region by offering programming and services that help maintain and support seniors living in community.

The rotted pillars that were recently removed had been taken from a previous porch on the side of the building, most likely at the time of the renovation when the ‘home’ became a Seniors Centre in 1975.  The many photos of the porch over the years show varied pillars, steps, layout and materials.  In 1984 it became a heritage property and its facade was therefore protected by law.

Because of the building’s heritage status, many rules and regulations had to be followed in the redesign and rebuild of the porch. Because of this and our inexperience with such detailed work, an architect was hired to provide much-needed project management. Thus began an almost daily exchange of e-mails between the City, architect, builder and our own team on each and every detail.

Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors — including a will bequest from the late Ann Denis, an anonymous donor and a corporate donation from Amica (The Glebe,) as well as donations from Abbotsford members — the project got underway in June and has finally become a reality.

We are very grateful to everyone who saw the need for the restoration and we are so pleased to see the house looking as ‘loved’ on the outside as it is on the inside.

Abbotsford House with long porch circa 1930

Abbotsford House with sunflowers in front the ‘before’ restoration photo.

Back in person, and still online

In September of this year, we were finally able to open our doors to the public again.  Ping Pong, Mah Jong, Muscle Toning, Aerobics, Yoga, Stained Glass, Conversational French, and our Caregiver Club, to name but a few,  are among the many activities that are back and running strong again indoors!

We are currently selling homemade teddy bears, baby blankets, Christmas ornaments, puzzles, books, ladies’ clothing and jewelry and flea market items.  Stop in and support our volunteers who help keep Abbotsford viable by donating their talents and time to our not-for-profit Seniors Centre.

We have been adding more and more indoor classes and clubs as the fall has progressed. We will offer even more in the New Year, while continuing to offer electronical classes over ZOOM at the request of our large membership.  We will continue to ask those that participate or enter our building to show proof of double vaccination and to follow public health measures, in order to keep our members engaged and safe.

Memberships for 2022 will go on sale starting Wednesday, December 1st in advance of registration for winter classes the following week.  The cost is $50 and lasts for a full calendar year.  Look for a full list of January/February/March classes and clubs under Current Guide on our website and join in!

Collecting flea market items, books, jewelry, women’s clothing, puzzles and art once again…

We will start accepting these items in the New Year, with the plan to sell both “in house” Monday to Friday and at the Great Glebe Garage Sale in the spring.  Your donations of goods are most appreciated.

Please drop by to collect a paper copy of our guide, become a member or a patron, and admire our newly restored porch. Think of us when you think of seniors in the community. We have been: ‘Building Community Since 1975’!

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