Shovels in the ground for new Dundas Manor

Community Digs In for New Dundas Manor – Friday’s ceremonial groundbreaking day at Dundas Manor was about a lot more than high ranking government officials gathering for a photo opportunity. Over 100 people assembled to take part in the event that’s been more than 10 years in the making. This is just one of three large photo opportunities recognizing how people from every where across this community have dug in to get this project off the ground. Pictured above are those who spoke during the event along with those pivotal in advocating and fundraising for this new long-term care in Dundas County that will be completed in 2026. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

WINCHESTER – It’s been almost four years since the province approved the additional long term care beds and redevelopment of Dundas County’s only long term care residence – Dundas Manor. Friday, the day that all involved had been waiting for, finally arrived.

Shovels, and lots of them, were in the ground for the ceremonial ground-breaking to mark the start of construction for the new Dundas Manor.

“We thought this day would never come. But, we never gave up,” said Susan Poirier, Dundas Manor administrator, who was one of several officials invited to speak at the ground breaking event held at the new Dundas Manor site on Fred Street in Winchester.

About 100 people including supporters, project champions, dignitaries from all levels of government, and everyday citizens were in attendance.

“We bought this land in 2012 with the vision of a new Dundas Manor in mind, so this project has been more than 10 years in the making,” Lisa Little, board chair, told The Leader prior to the event.

“I was at the announcement in 2020 when the Ministry gave approval to build the new Dundas Manor and I’m here today to celebrate that it is finally starting,” said Dundas Manor resident Joan Dunlop. “I turn 90 next month and we can’t wait for the bulldozers to arrive to start building our new, beautiful home.”

“It’s got to be easier to actually build the building than it has been to get to this point,” said Dundas Manor President and CEO, and event emcee, Cholly Boland. “It’s been quite a journey. It literally has taken a village of supporters, lobbyists and people who have worked and worked on this over the years to get us here.”

Construction is now underway on the 128-bed long-term care home. Being built on Winchester District Memorial Hospital property, it will replace the nearby 98-bed Dundas Manor. The old building will not be missed, even by Boland, who has called it the worst long-term care building in the province, with the best staff in the province.

Hallway dining will be a thing of the past as there will be four large, bright dining rooms with enough space for everyone.

The new Dundas Manor building will be more than double the size of the current home and have room for 30 additional residents.

There will be four resident home areas called Homesteads. Each one will have a gathering space and nearby outdoor gardens. Rooms in the new home will be larger – and everyone will have a window.

Construction should be complete for residents to move in by Summer 2026.

“We are doing this so our wonderful staff will have a better place to work and our precious residents will have a better place to live,” said Boland.

The new Dundas Manor comes with a $63 million price tag, $45 million of which will come from the province with the remaining $18 million from community fundraising.

Now at over $12 million raised, Bruce Millar, WDMH and WDMH foundation board chair, said: “We are mindful that the many generous people of our community deserve all the credit. It’s because of them that we are getting closer to our $18 million goal.”

Local member of provincial Parliament Nolan Quinn, said that this project has been a priority for him since day one, and he acknowledged the work of his predecessor Jim McDonell, who also attended the event. “This exciting milestone is something that staff, residents, and families have been looking forward to.”

Two days prior to this ground-breaking event Quinn with Minister of Long-Term Care Stan Cho were in Winchester to visit Dundas Manor, this new site and meet with officials. Media were not invited to attend.

“Congratulations to Rural Healthcare Innovations on their ground-breaking for a new home,” said Cho in a media release. “Today marks a significant milestone for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. When construction is complete, 128 residents will have a new, modern and comfortable place to call home.”

North Dundas mayor Tony Fraser, in his last official act as SDG Counties Warden, said that this project becoming a reality speaks to the dedication of this community and its commitment to providing compassionate care for its elderly residents.

“Perseverance pays off,” said former North Dundas mayor and now local Member of Parliament Eric Duncan.

Following the speeches, all in attendance, those who had brought their own shovels and anyone who supported this project in any way were invited to participate in the three large photo ops that took place.

“There’s no fancy shovels for us. We’re a community made up of hardworking people,” said Little. “That sums up our community.”

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