Chartwell retirement residences are home to unique and interesting individuals, each with their own extraordinary stories. As seniors transition to retirement living, Chartwell aims to expand upon their journeys, helping residents to embark upon new chapters in their ever-changing stories. Through their “Make us part of your story” campaign, Chartwell senior homes are celebrating residents by focusing on their life stories. Through television commercials and print ads, each resident offers an honest and authentic recollection of their personal history, while also touching upon their experiences in Chartwell retirement residences.

Their stories will make you laugh and pull at your heartstrings. This is James’s story.

James Macaulay, 89, Chartwell resident since 2011

Remembrance Day has always been a meaningful time of the year for James Macaulay. Affectionately called “Jim” by his friends, the avid hockey player not only served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, but also met his wife at a Legion dance, after the Armistice.

“That’s why November 11th is a special date in my book. My first daughter was also born on the 11th of that month, after my wife and I were married,” he recalls.

While James and his family moved from Montreal to Ontario, they eventually returned to the city they loved a decade later, though their hockey allegiances had changed.

“I’m still a big Maple Leafs fan!” he jokes.

Growing up, sports were an important part of James’ life: his father shared many memories of playing professional soccer in their family’s native Scotland with him, inspiring his own athletic passions. James would go on to play hockey for many years, and later on, even referee international meets. In terms of his career, he enjoyed his position as manager of government contracts, a job James says allowed him the flexibility to travel for different sporting events he was involved in.

“I also participated in the Commonwealth Games in longboard,” he adds.

Now a proud grandfather and great-grandfather of 10 children in total, James fondly remembers his wife. Having been together for 61 years, he recalls it was a different time when they first met following the war.

“Life was just simpler then; technology didn’t play such an important role in people’s interactions. Nowadays, no one writes letters anymore,” he points out.

Human interaction has always been very important to James. Today, he makes it a point to have coffee every morning in his residence’s dining room with his friends.

“We also phone each other if we know we can’t make it for morning coffee. It means a lot to be in touch like that,” he explains.

Choosing to live in a retirement residence was a natural decision for James. After his wife’s passing, he admits to feeling lonely. It was around that time that he decided to look into retirement living. Soon after moving into Chartwell Belvédères Lachine, James ran into a friend who had lived on his street for a long time. They’ve been close friends ever since.

“Really, the only thing missing here is my wife,” he confides.

James lives a peaceful life now. He fondly looks back on his history, remembering the birth of all of his children and cherishing the significant and beautiful moments he has shared with them.

“I really have a good life, and having a family is a big part of that. Meeting my wife, a seamstress, after the Armistice Day parade so many years ago, was how it all started,” he remembers.