By Melissa Elliott

This year has been challenging for us all but we have reason to celebrate. In mid-August, the Tony Stacey Centre was still without a single case of COVID-19, despite the overwhelming and devastating impact of the virus on other long-term care homes in the spring and early summer.

We continue to be diligent with our infection control protocols as we get used to our “new normal” here (masks, gowns, screening, physical distancing). We have slowly been adding recreational programs, encouraging visits from family and loved ones in a variety of ways, resumed dining in the dining room, and are focusing on quality of life for our residents. We have started to plan and prepare in the event that there is a second wave of COVID-19 in Toronto, working even harder to keep the virus outside of our doors.

With all this hard work, it was only natural that staff and residents felt like celebrating. Here, in the most diverse city in the world in one of the most diverse long-term care homes, we brought our own little Caribana Festival to the Tony Stacey Centre!  Many of our staff and residents would celebrate Caribana annually, and due to all the festivals being cancelled in the city due to the pandemic, we decided to have our own outdoor, physically distanced party on our beautiful front property.

It was sunny and hot on Thursday, August 13 as we enjoyed a live steel pan band, an ice cream truck visit, and delicious catering from our local Sunrise Restaurant. Staff and residents alike participated in creating signs recognizing their heritage. We celebrated our health, our diversity and our strength while having some well-deserved fun.

Melissa Elliott is the executive director at the Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care.