Front Street Manor enjoys new gazebo thanks to former resident

Ken Kellar

Residents of Front Street Manor can spend more time outdoors in a comfortable way following a donation made in the memory of a former resident.

Lindsay Swerhun was a longtime resident of Front Street Manor, and a strong voice for the community she had there.

“Lindsay was a big advocate for Front Street,” said Swerhun’s mother Laurie Lundale.

“She wanted the residents to have the best they could.”

“She was kind of head of the household here,” agreed Gwen Miller, Riverside Health Care’s Supportive Housing Manager.

“She was the one who sort of kept everybody doing things, like she was the planner and the organizer in getting people together.”

When Swerhun passed away in March, Lundale said she was looking for some way to help continue and honour Swerhun’s passion for helping her Front Street Manor community and giving them the best.

“Lindsay loved to sit outside here [at Front Street Manor] and she called this her community,” Lundale said.

“She was friends with a lot of the residents. So I decided at that time that that was the thing, I phoned Riverside to find out if it was possible and the Foundation was very gracious and said, ‘yeah we can do that.’”

“That” was replacing a gazebo in the back yard of Front Street Manor that had been destroyed by snow several years ago. Swerhun’s obituary contained a call for donations to the Riverside Foundation for Health Care in order to raise the funds to properly install a place for residents to sit and enjoy the weather out of the sometimes harsh sun of summertime, as well as other improvements to the space.

“They needed a new barbecue,” Lundale added.

“There was just a few things and we just wanted to make it a good living space for them to enjoy in the summer months, and people in the community and my family were very generous and donated, and this is what we did.”

The added benefit of the new gazebo is that it also allows for larger gatherings of residents than could otherwise be accommodated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Miller said the gazebo has already been put to use for a few outdoor events, with more planned for the rest of the summer as the weather holds.

The space also features a new wooden sign for the pavillion that was handmade by Dory Baker that further honours Swerhun’s memory. The sign features a purple butterfly –a creature near and dear to her– along with the phrase “Lindsay’s Legacy of Love,” something that the Front Street Manor community had a hand in choosing.

“We came up with the saying on the sign by having a contest with the residents, so the residents basically picked the name,” Lundale explained.

The donation is especially appreciated by Front Street Manor not just because it’s in honour of a former resident, but because there isn’t always money in the budget to replace things like a gazebo.

“When the gazebo was destroyed by the snow, we just weren’t getting it back,” Miller said.

“We had no funds to do that, so this has been really nice. And this is really really nice tribute to [Swerhun], it’s a continuation of her legacy.”

Lundale encouraged others to consider making similar donations going forward in order to help fill the gaps and provide more opportunities to the residents at Front Street Manor and other Riverside properties.

“I myself would like to encourage family members and things like that to make donations so that they can continue to improve the area and do things for the residents,” she said.

“Their budget is limited for these types of things, so it’s nice when there’s donations come through to get them things that they can enjoy, things that they couldn’t afford within the budget.”