Communication Centre

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Categories : Notes from our CEO

September 28, 2021

September 30, 2021, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new federal statutory holiday commemorating the tragic legacy of residential schools and honouring the survivors, their families, and communities. This should also be a day when Canadians renew their resolve and continued commitment to building a diverse, respectful, and inclusive country.

At the end of June, in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, and in memory of the Indigenous children who never returned home, Chartwell made a donation to the Legacy of Hope Foundation, a charitable organization working to promote healing and reconciliation in Canada and helping to educate and raise awareness about the impact of residential schools. We are proud to support and partner with organizations that are actively working to address racism, foster empathy and understanding, and inspire action. The Legacy of Hope Foundation’s website has some great educational materials; I encourage you to visit it at legacyofhope.ca.

Visiting our homes, conversing face-to-face with our residents and employees, and seeing firsthand the difference we are making in people’s lives has always been a highlight of my job. After a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I recently had the pleasure of visiting two of our Chartwell residences in British Columbia. I could not have been happier walking through the front doors of these beautiful homes, seeing the smiles on people’s faces and spending some time with our teams. It was clear that the staff of these residences have been doing an outstanding job delivering the Chartwell Experience, experience that is personalized, memorable and feels like home to their residents. Thank you to Chris Ashburn, General Manager at Chartwell Carrington Place, Audrey Mitchell, General Manager at Chartwell Chatsworth, and their excellent teams for their hospitality and most importantly for their dedication to their residents. I also want to thank my tour companion Angela Grottoli, our Vice President, Real Estate Integration, for the engaging conversations and inspiring idea sharing. While communication via technology has proven to be extremely effective during the pandemic, in-person interactions, collaboration and learning are simply much, much better! I look forward to getting on the road and visiting more homes in the very near future.

The Chartwell Experience

Chartwell Saint Jerome resident Regina

Christian, a dedicated bus driver at Chartwell Saint-Jerome in Quebec, put together a wonderful initiative called “The Happy People’s Ride.” Each week throughout the summer, a resident had the chance to revisit a part of the region that is near and dear to their heart (a place they lived or worked, etc.) in the company of their fellow residents. Regina hadn’t been back to her family’s farm in 30 years, and Christian was honoured to make the trip possible. During the drive, she recalled both the happy and more somber days of living on the farm, and her trip companions were captivated by her inspiring stories. Each bus trip ends with some delicious ice cream and reflection on the day. Thank you to Christian for starting this initiative and helping to create meaningful bonds between residents.

A worthy read:

This week’s book recommendation comes from Angela Grottoli, Vice President, Real Estate Integration:
“Five Little Indians” by Michelle Good, Scotiabank Giller Prize Nominee (2020), Governor General's Literary Award, Fiction (2020)
As we approach National Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30th, “Five Little Indians” is an important book for Canadians to read that goes beyond the news stories regarding the history of residential schools and dives into the lives of five survivors after they leave the system. This book tells the story about what happens next and about trying to start a whole new life after being exposed to so many atrocities during their young, formative years.

Please be warned that there are some parts that are difficult to read and may be triggering for some readers as it deals with abuse, drugs, prostitution, and death. This book is a very real and honest story told by an author whose own mother and grandmother went through the residential school system. The story of “Five Little Indians” was heartbreaking, uplifting, and impactful and gave me a small bit of insight into what residential school survivors continue to deal with today.

Vlad Volodarski
Chief Executive Officer