When Bill King moved to Carlton House in April 2011, he says it was like coming home – not only because of the cheerful staff and comfortable surroundings, but because Bill actually grew up “just down the road” on Newport Avenue.
Born in Toronto, Bill moved west with his mother at the age of two. He attended Glenlyon Norfolk School and Oak Bay High before enrolling at Victoria College and subsequently UBC, where he earned a degree in commerce and met his wife (an Oak Bay native herself).
Bill raised his family in Vancouver and had a long and fulfilling career with forestry companies MacMillan Bloedel and Canfor, which saw him selling B.C. lumber as far abroad as Europe and Japan.
After retirement, the Kings bought a condo in Craig Bay, near Parksville, with the intention of making their return to Victoria when they were no longer happy living on their own.
Sadly, Bill’s wife suffered a stroke in 2010, and passed within a month. Without her, Bill says he was lonely and had trouble remembering to eat.
“I was the helpless male, you know. I wasn’t like the modern male who can cook and things.”
With the help of his two children, Bill moved “home” to Carlton House, where he quips he has no trouble remembering mealtimes – “you just have to watch it or you’ll start to put on weight!”
But even more than the food, Bill says he loves the easy access to shops, services and scenic walks that living at Carlton House affords.
“You can’t beat the location. Talk about real estate being location, location, location, well this place has got it.”
Bill has quickly become one of Carlton House’s most active residents, walking almost every day, volunteering at the Royal B.C. Museum and synching his schedule regularly with Carlton House’s comprehensive leisure services program. He especially enjoys the lectures and educational presentations, which he calls “thought-provoking” and “stimulating.”
“We need to be stimulated, we’re old!” he jokes.
When asked if he has any advice for those considering a move to independent living, Bill is quick to respond. “If you’re thinking about coming to some sort of residence, just come. Come, come. Don’t delay.” Wise words from someone who is clearly living life to its fullest.
Sydnie Bonner had lived on Dallas Road in Victoria for 11 years before deciding it was time to move into a Retirement Community. Relocating from her large house involved a lot of premeditation and planning to assure her desires and expectations were met.
“When I walked into Carlton House I knew it was where I wanted to be. The building was cozy and full of laughter and chit-chat. Everyone was cheerful and friendly with each other and I liked that”.
On March 12, 2012 Sydnie moved into Carlton House and has been experiencing all that independent living has to offer.
“I am healthier now and I am eating better. I think the biggest change comes from being around other people. Living alone for so long I have noticed the difference companionship has made”.
Sydnie has words of wisdom for those considering a move to Carlton House, “Give it a chance! I like my suite. I like the meals. I like the building. I love the people. It’s the combination of everything that completes the comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Just give it a chance”.
Carlton House resident David McAlary retired from his career with Canada Trust in 1987. Over the past 25 years David has held many positions and is actively involved with the Royal Canadian Legion and the Oak Bay Monterey Centre. David is a natural leader and has never been one to sit around and let life pass him by.
In June of 2011 David moved into Carlton House. “At first I found it strange and have to admit that I did second guess the move. I was not used to being waited on and it took a few months to adjust. However, things changed when I made friends at Carlton House and started to take advantage of the various activities offered here. I attend bridge and the weekly entertainment and I really enjoy it. I recommend to everyone that they keep busy and develop an active social life…both of which are accessible at Carlton House”.
David has spent many happy years living at Carlton House and has advice for those considering a move, “If you are thinking about a move consider the peace of mind you will have at Carlton House. The comfort level is beyond expectation. The staff here is excellent. The people are pleasing to talk to. You never have to worry about being left alone again.”
Carlton House resident Merrill Cook is an accomplished artist who studied at the Montreal Museum of Fine arts and the San Miguel de allende Instituto, Mexico. She spent the following years painting, teaching and travelling to 23 foreign countries and many provinces across Canada, always sketching and later creating paintings in her studio.
Having lived in Oak Bay with her husband for 10 years they decided it was time for a change and moved into Carlton House of Oak Bay in 2005. Almost 11 years ago, they made a great decision at the right time.
“With gardening and running the house I didn’t have the energy for dynamic painting and exhibitions. Carlton House is a wonderful place to live. The management is an impressive team whose leadership reflects the cooperation and cheerfulness of both staff and residents.”
Having actively played golf at age 92 Merrill takes part in the Tai Chi classes offered at Carlton House and finds there is never a dull moment. Carlton House is lucky to have her energy and enthusiasm. She has created many designs for stitchery on canvas and original costumes for our monthly theme dinners.
Merrill has words of wisdom for those considering a move to Carlton House, “Do not wait until you are not able to make decisions for your own life. You want to be able to take part in the wonderful activities and outings we have here and enjoy life to the full.”
Migs and Diana Turner
Carlton House residents Maurice (Migs) and Diana Turner are a Navy couple; for 32 years Migs worked with the Navy before joining the newly formed Canadian Coast Guard spending 14 years in Ottawa & then Vancouver.
Having lived an active and accomplished life they retired to Oak Bay where their parents had lived. After many years in their own home they have now lived at Carlton House for many happy years.
In retirement they have both kept extremely busy. Migs is still involved with the Coast Guard in Victoria, is a Past President of the Naval Officers Association of Vancouver Island where he is currently the monthly newsletter editor and with his men’s crew sails their 34’ sailboat off Oak Bay weekly. Diana volunteers knitting baby clothes for the hospitals, currently baby caps for the preemie ward.
Migs and Diana initiated the support of over 800 people in helping convince an initially resistant Oak Bay Council to approve the building of Carlton House. Believers and strong supporters of Carlton House and all that it provides Migs and Diana are now happy to call it their home.
When asked how living at Carlton house has changed his life Migs said, “The main thing is that I no longer mind leaving Diana. I attend a number of my activities on my own. I know that Diana is here safe and sound”.
Secondly, Migs mentioned that his back (previously injured in WW II) has greatly improved due to using the elevators and the close distance to Oak Bay Village and all of its amenities.
When asked what their favourite part of Carlton House was Diana smiled and said, “The suite! It is my home”. That simple phrase truly sums up what Carlton House is.
Migs and Diana have wise advice for anyone considering making Carlton House their home, “Come in and attend a Sunday brunch. We enjoy Sunday brunches and we know that anyone who attends from outside will just have a ball! They are a great thing”.
Going on 64 years of marriage and 6 years at Carlton House Migs and Diana say that there is no doubt that moving into Carlton House was the right move for them.