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Sun shines for gratitude garden opening at Trail care home

Photos: Main courtyard and special care gardens open at Columbia View Lodge

With sun smiling down on the main courtyard of Columbia View Lodge (CVL) Thursday morning, the community joined residents in cutting a cheery yellow ribbon, marking the official opening of the uniquely beautiful Garden of Gratitude.

“The Columbia View Lodge Garden of Gratitude Project was truly a labour of love and a project grounded in deep gratitude,” shared Lisa Pasin, executive director, Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) Health Foundation.

“The concept was brought forth by Mary Martin, whose husband Richard resided in Columbia View when care was needed due to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Mary continues to be an advocate for facility improvements so that the excellence in care provided to the residents is reflected in the physical surroundings at Columbia View Lodge.”

The Garden of Gratitude is a $200,000 project that has prioritized restoration of the three garden courtyards at CVL. This project is for the benefit of 76 residents, their families, visitors and the dedicated staff who provide care each day.

Joining Pasin and lodge residents for the garden opening and donor wall plaque reveal was: Mary Martin; Rob Worosz and Carol Vanelli-Worosz of Alpine Contracting, the project’s main contractor; Joel Graf of Graphic Concrete Finishing, the skilled sub contractor who also has a grandma at CVL; Margot Wright, recreation therapist manager; and CVL resident Sherri Bligh, who spoke about the positive impact this restoration is having on residents, families and staff.

Before Mary Martin revealed the creatively designed donor wall plaque, Pasin said there were many people to thank and acknowledge for their financial and in kind contributions, mentioning administrative support from Interior Health as well as their on-site support during the renovation.

Since June 2022, $100,000 has been raised to restore the garden of the main courtyard, where most recreation programming occurs, as well as the Special Care Unit garden area.

Pasin says the KBRH Health Foundation will keep this project open and continue to accept donations, which will be invested in restoration of a third garden area.

“The foundation will evaluate available funding in the spring of 2024 and scope the work in the third garden to match the available budget,” Pasin added.

“This will include the addition of raised garden beds for residents who wish to participate in gardening. The raised garden beds will allow residents of Columbia View to stand or sit in their wheelchair and join in garden activities.”

The KBRH Health Foundation thanks the community of supporters and encourages all who remain interested to support the CVL garden project by donating online at or calling 250-364-3424.

Mary and Richard’s story

“My husband Richard was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of early-onset Alzheimer’s when he was 59 years old. As time progressed, we realized at some point he would likely require more care and need to have 24-hour supervision. We could not have found a better home for his last months than Columbia View Lodge! Richard was cared for with love, patience and kindness by all.

“Through our personal journey of care, we realized the garden courtyards for residents’ use have not received the attention they deserve. Alzheimer’s patients can benefit deeply from having access to a safe, tranquil garden space. For people living with Alzheimer’s, gardens can carry gentle reminders of past experiences and jog the memory through scents, visual cues, and participating in the act of gardening! They are also helpful for the caregivers, who greatly benefit from this much deserved place of peace.

“All who live, visit and work within this residence should feel pride and have a place to go that is comforting, peaceful and beautiful. To help Columbia View Lodge’s gardens accurately reflect the care, attention, love and commitment that is provided inside, I ask you to become involved with the Columbia View Lodge Garden of Gratitude Project.”

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Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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