A Castor institution recently celebrated its diamond anniversary in the community.
Castor’s Paintearth Lodge, a board-run seniors’ residence in the community, was constructed at the time when John G. Diefenbaker passed off the role of Prime Minister of Canada to Lester B. Pearson, Cleopatra, The Great Escape, and The Sword in the Stone were in theatres and the Beatles were still on the music charts.
In recognition of 60 years of continuous operation, the board, staff, and residents of the lodge held a community celebration on Aug. 17, featuring several delegates from both the local municipalities and provincial government officials.
Around 150 people crowded into the lodge’s common area for the ceremony which started just after 2 p.m.
Paintearth Lodge manager Trudy Kilner opened the ceremony, where the first item of business was singing O Canada before holding a moment of silence in memory of the board members, staff, and residents who had come before.
After the moment of silence, Kilner passed things off to the Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon, Castor and District Housing Authority chair George Glazier. Unable to attend in person, Glazier read a letter from Battle River — Crowfoot MP Damien Kurek who congratulated the facility’s milestone.
Representatives from the Alberta Senior Citizens’ Housing Association and the Government of Alberta Ministry of Housing then had the opportunity to offer their congratulations before the mayors of the local communities that partner in operating the lodge took to the podium.
Paintearth County Reeve Stan Schulmeister started off, by noting how fortunate the community was to have a facility like the lodge. Castor Mayor Richard Elhard, Coronation deputy Mayor Ron Checkel and Village of Halkirk deputy Mayor Dale Kent all echoed those sentiments.
Another theme noted in the speeches was how great the lodge looks considering its age, something which can be directly attributed to the care and professionalism of the staff working there.
Before the ceremony closed, Castor-area resident Walter Weber came forward to dedicate a picture painted for the facility in memory of former and long-time manager Sylvia Wold.
To bring the ceremony to a close, the Paintearth Lodge choir came forward and sang Bless This House, after which lodge resident Clayton Richardson came forward to offer a blessing on the meal.
Everyone in attendance was asked to stay for a light luncheon after the ceremony, and facility tours showcasing newly renovated and expanded rooms were offered by staff.
Paintearth Lodge had seen vacancy challenges during the pandemic; however, according to staff, the vacancy rate has dropped from around 50 per cent at its worst to 25 per cent over the last few months.