Fulfilling Dreams: Our First Wish Recipients

In October, we announced our new corporate giving partnership with Wish of a Lifetime Canada (WOLC), a charity dedicated to fulfilling seniors’ wishes. With Remembrance Day fast approaching, we decided to focus our first four wishes on veterans, noting that their service to their country often meant sacrificing their own dreams and ambitions. Chartwell residents from Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec were nominated based on a variety of criteria and will soon get to experience their ultimate wish of a lifetime. Meet the four residents whose dreams are about to come true.


testLawrence, 89, resident at Chartwell Wenleigh Long Term Care in Mississauga, Ontario, joined the Royal Canadian Navy 71 years ago at the age 18. He served three years aboard a small warship off the coast of Halifax, sweeping the surrounding area for mines during the Second World War. Although life on the warship was a cold and often stressful existence, Lawrence’s memories of Halifax are of a warm, peaceful city. Due to various health complications that have limited his mobility, Lawrence hasn’t been back for a visit in over 20 years, but he always dreamed of returning to honour the time he spent there with his wife. A trip back to Halifax would not only allow him to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, but it would also allow him to say goodbye to a dear friend who recently passed away and whose ashes will be committed to the sea. Next spring, Lawrence’s wish of a lifetime will come true, as he will be given the opportunity to travel to Halifax to say farewell to a long-time friend and reminisce about one of the most meaningful periods of his nearly nine-decades-long life.


Bob Historical83 year-old Bob of Chartwell Colonel Belcher Retirement Residence in Calgary, Alberta, is the type of guy you could sit down and swap stories with for hours. A resident as well as a volunteer bartender at the residence’s pub, Bob loves sharing stories of his time in the Royal Canadian Air Force. His prowess as an air traffic controller allowed him to serve 10 years in the role, where his positive attitude helped him to cope with the stressful occupation. After his career in the Air Force, he continued to give back and raised tens of thousands of dollars to support youth through the Junior Achievement Program. Bob was married to Sandy for 60 years, and he recalls fond memories of spontaneously exploring the area around Calgary when life became dull. They often talked about the places they wished to visit, with Niagara Falls always topping the list. Sadly, Sandy passed away 5 years ago, finally succumbing to cancer after spending a year battling the disease with Bob by her side. Despite this terrible loss, Bob maintains a positive outlook on life, volunteering his time and even assisting other residents with their grocery shopping. Always one to think of others, Bob’s wish of a lifetime is to visit Niagara Falls with his daughter, a journey that he and Sandy always dreamed of doing together.


napoleonNapoléon, 92, is a resident at Chartwell Domaine des Trembles résidence de retraités in Gatineau, Québec. He joined the marines at age 17 and served four and a half years in the role, an experience he says made him grow up fast. During his service, he was stationed in England and Italy and went on to work for the Bureau of Statistics for 35 years before retiring, all the while maintaining an active role in his local legion. Although he walked away from the war decorated in medals and without major trauma, he witnessed many other veterans—among them his own brothers—suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Today, he continues to do all he can through his legion to support the growing population with PTSD who are in need of assistance. Having walked away from his youth to face the eye-opening experience of war, Napoléon fondly recalls the day he met a teenage Céline Dion during a promotional appearance. Inspired by her charisma, he watched her rise to fame while proudly representing Québec on the international stage. He has always dreamed of meeting Céline and attending a live performance, which will not only give him the chance to feel young again, but will inspire other seniors to travel and enjoy life to the fullest. Napoléon’s dream is set to come true, as he will travel to her concert venue in Las Vegas to delight in a musical experience with his favourite singer.


David Austin historical - croppedA resident at Chartwell Willow Retirement Community in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, David, 83, came to Canada in the 1950s at the age of 23, leaving behind his native England. In the height of the Cold War, 18-year old David began his service in England’s Royal Air Force as a plotter, where he was part of a 24-hour team that monitored air traffic on the English coasts. He served for two years during the Cold War and the start of the Korean War, and then served in the reserves for another three years. Once an avid soccer player and sprinter, he went on to pursue a long career with the Bank of Montreal and was an active member of the community, holding leadership positions in the Lions Club and in a housing community for senior citizens. Today, he maintains his dedication to community involvement by serving on the residence welcome committee. More than anything, David would like the opportunity to take his daughter to London and show her where he went to school, where he held his first job, and the city that he called home in his formative years. David doesn’t have any surviving close relatives in England, so sharing this experience with his daughter will allow the legacy of the early part of his life to live on.


These inspiring veterans will have their wishes granted over the coming months, and we can’t wait to share the photos and stories of their experiences with you. Canadian seniors, including Chartwell residents, are invited to share and submit their wishes by downloading an official application form at www.wishofalifetime.org/canada. For Chartwell wishes that may not meet the criteria for WOLC, or may be smaller in nature, our Life Enrichment Program, Moments that Matter, helps to fulfill those special and significant requests directly within each Chartwell residence.