Tree of Lights fundraiser seeks to spruce up Manor courtyard

Manitoulin Centennial Manor

LITTLE CURRENT – It’s the home stretch for the Manitoulin Centennial Manor’s annual Tree of Lights fundraising campaign and the long-term care facility, jointly owned by all Island municipalities, is hoping the public will once again donate to the worthy cause. This year the Tree of Lights is seeking donations for its courtyard renovations project.

Wendy Gauthier, Manor fundraising chair, told The Expositor that the board determined that the courtyard renovation was an important project as it is an area of the Manor in need of renewal so that it can be used more fully. She said that perhaps now, more than ever, the value of being outdoors is recognized as important in the health and well-being of everyone—especially the elderly 

“This project took on even greater importance with COVID,” Ms. Gauthier added. “As everyone is aware, residents’ access to family and friends in all long-term care homes has been greatly affected. Movement in and out of the Manor was restricted so it became imperative to have a safe outdoor area which allowed residents to be outside in a protected space.” 

The courtyard has been heavily used by residents this year. Many activities were held outdoors “to give everyone a breath of fresh air and a change of space,” Ms. Gauthier said. “It was a godsend. With this use it became apparent what it needed to make it better—more usable, safer, comfortable. To be used more fully, the area needs better walkways allowing for independent movement (be it by walker, cane or wheelchair), an updated gazebo, solid surfaces for entertainment and visiting, benches and fencing.” Ms. Gauthier said the Manor also envisions the space to be multipurpose with raised gardens, bird feeding stations, a barbecue/outdoor eating area and protection from the wind and sun. The courtyard is located on the east side of the facility between the Manor and Channel View Apartments with a nice view overlooking the North Channel.

“In better times it will serve residents, their family and friends and the community,” the fundraising chair added.

As is tradition with the Tree of Lights campaign, in the run up to Christmas as donations are received, tree lights on the Manor’s outside tree are lit until the entire tree is lit before Christmas. Donors may make their donations in memory or in celebration of someone if they wish. The largest donation gets the ‘Top the Tree’ honour, which in 2019 went to Little Current Lions Club. The overall campaign goal is $125,000, with $25,000 hoped to be raised with this year’s Tree of Lights. 

This is the sixth year for the fundraiser, which has helped with the installation of a call bell communication system, patient chair lifts and replacement of carpet—that’s over $100,000 from Tree of Lights alone. 

“Island businesses have become increasingly supportive of the Manor in recent years which has allowed us to take on big projects, their completion adding directly to the comfort of those making the Manor their home,” Ms. Gauthier noted. “In 2020, our need for fundraising is as important as ever. We recognize that it has been a difficult year for many and we hope that those who can donate do so and those who can’t, we hope for better times ahead for them and that you support us in spirit.”

Donations can be made using a donation form, available at The Expositor Office, online at manitoulincentennial.ca/fundraising, municipal offices and libraries. Donations can also be made by etransfer to mcmfundraising@extendicare.com or through the website Canada Helps.