#MomentsThatMatter – A Meeting with Justin Trudeau

When Chartwell Stonehaven resident Jean turned 100 years old in May, she sat down with General Manager Yasmin Docter-Vachon to show off some of the ‘presents’ she’d received on her big day. “Jean was sent a number of letters to recognize her centenarian birthday, including a letter from the Queen, Prime Minister, Governor General and many other local officials,” Yasmin explains. “While we were pouring over them, as well as some photos of Ottawa, Jean shared that she used to work as a secretary in Parliament Hill’s West Block, and expressed that she wanted to go back for a visit one day.”

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From left to right: Jean’s daughter, Lynn; Jean; Cheryl, volunteer at Karen McCrimmon’s office; and Yasmin, General Manager Chartwell Stonehaven.

Jean’s job wasn’t her only connection to Ottawa’s historic buildings either. At age 11, she recalls bringing her father lunch on Parliament Hill, where he was working on replacing the bells in the Peace Tower after they’d been damaged in the famous fire that ravaged the Centre Block in 1916. As there were no safety lifts at the time, Jean had to be secured to a piece of scaffolding and brought up to where her father was working—an ordeal she remembers as exhilarating, but frightening.

After hearing of Jean’s wish to return to the Parliament buildings, Yasmin got to work. The General Manager reached out to the home’s local MP, Karen McCrimmon, for help with arranging a tour for Jean. Thanks to the dedicated work of Ms. McCrimmon’s office, Jean and her daughter, Lynn—as well as Yasmin—headed to downtown Ottawa together, where they received a guided tour of the Parliamentary Library and the very Peace Tower Jean’s father helped to restore. They counted themselves lucky for being able to travel via elevator this time!

The icing on the birthday cake for Jean was a visit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, set up by Ms. McCrimmon’s staff. Yasmin explains the meet-and-greet with Mr. Trudeau was a wonderful moment for Jean, who enjoyed what she describes as a “genuine” exchange with the Prime Minister. “I found him sweet and charming,” Jean says of Mr. Trudeau, joking: “I asked him, ‘May I call you Justin?’ and he answered, ‘You may call me anything you like!’”

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Jean meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alongside MP Karen McCrimmon.

Chartwell Stonehaven Retirement Residence was thrilled to help make Jean’s big birthday a special one, thanks to our Moments That Matter program and the home’s partnership with MP Karen McCrimmon.