Spreading the Love Among the Schlegel Villages Family

Fairview feels the Christmas Spirit from sister villages 

By Kristian Partington

Back in April when it was announced that Toronto’s Fairview Nursing Home would become part of the Schlegel Villages family of long-term care and retirement homes, it was a little difficult for residents and team members there to really understand what that meant. Sure, they were now no longer working independently and the long-term goal to incorporate the residents who live there into a larger, brand-new home to built in the future was explained, but these concepts can be somewhat intangible in the day-to-day life of residents. 

Female resident holding up a jacket she's just unwrapped
Residents at Fairview Nursing Home felt the love from sister Schlegel
Villages on Christmas Day as they opened their many gifts.

On Christmas Day, however, as personalized gifts for each resident were handed out, courtesy of sister villages, they began to truly understand they were part of an extended family, says recreation director Julie Music.

These weren’t just one-off gifts, to be clear; these were stockings and gift bags filled with personal items and clothing that Fairview team members knew each person would value. Julie was one of the team members who spent three days sorting and tagging the many gifts and deciding who would enjoy them the most. Her voice wavers with emotion as she describes the outpouring of generosity from the residents and team members of other villages, not to mention offerings from Fairview team members.

“When I saw it, it was somewhat overwhelming,” she says, mentioning the bus from Tansley Woods that arrived just before Christmas loaded to the brim with gifts and the personalized gift bags that arrived from Humber Heights.  “It was amazing to see – I’m getting choked up just talking about it.”

And the actual gifts aren’t the true inspiration for these feelings, Julie points out, though they were immensely appreciated. What inspires such emotion is the realization that people in other villages would be so generous in support of the new home.

This grand expression of kindness stemmed from a general manager’s meeting a couple months ago when Fairview’s Saurabh Bhatnagar mentioned that a few residents could use a bit of new clothing. Soon wish trees were being set up in sister villages and funds were being raised at bazaars and through 50/50 draws. Those who could afford to give did so and by the time Christmas dawned at Fairview, every resident could feel the love from afar.

This is what Christmas is truly about – people coming together in the honest spirit of generosity and good will, and this could be felt with amazing clarity at Fairview on Christmas Day.