At 74 years old, it took Anne only 37:05 minutes to climb the CN Tower’s 1,776 steps to the top—what works out to be 144 flights of stairs! “I’m proud I beat 38 minutes, which was my time last year,” says the Chartwell Montgomery Village resident.
In fact, this year’s CN Tower “Climb For Nature,” organized by the World Wildlife Fund, is Anne’s third time conquering Toronto’s iconic building. “Growing up in India and Africa, I’ve always loved animals, especially elephants,” she explains. “I climb for the cause, but also because it’s a challenge and it gives me a sense of achievement to say I’ve done it.”
Physical activity has been an important aspect of Anne’s life for as long as she can remember. Growing up, she had a particular passion for horseback riding, and later in life, owned over 10 acres of farmland, taking great pleasure working the land and tending the animals, including her own horse. When the farm became too much work, Anne sold her property and moved into Chartwell Montgomery Village Retirement Residence in Orangeville, Ontario. “After leaving the farm I swore to myself I would never move again. I wanted to find a home that I could live in for the rest of my days,” she recalls. “I chose to move here because I have help around when I need it. I couldn’t imagine living alone in an apartment—I wanted to be in a social environment where I could meet new people.”
Since moving to her Chartwell home in October of 2015, Anne hasn’t slowed down—merely traded farm work for an array of passions and hobbies. “I like to wake up early so I can take my dog, Mocha, for a walk,” Anne says, describing what a typical day looks like for her. “I might put some laundry on, then I go for a 6:00am workout at the gym. After that, I like to join whatever class the residence has going on, with some of my favourites being Aquafit, Zumba, Tai Chi and Meditation.” Anne doesn’t just enjoy physical pursuits at the residence, either; she often joins music programs, high tea events, and loves anything holiday-related. “Valentine’s Day candy grams, a St. Patrick’s Day party, Easter egg hunts…staff really do like us to have fun,” Anne smiles.
Beyond exercise and having the opportunity to pursue some of her other passions, including knitting, volunteering, reading and listening to music, Anne points to the social atmosphere of her new home adding to her already engaged lifestyle. “I chose Montgomery Village because of the staff,” she says. “I enjoy the people here, and the staff have a great influence on me. They’re really friendly and genuinely care.” Anne adds that challenging herself to socialize with fellow residents and staff when she first moved in is what made her transition go smoothly. “It’s important not to isolate yourself. It can take determination to become a part of a new community, but the effort is worth it. As my mother always used to say, ‘Talk to someone every day, because it reminds you you’re alive.’”
Anne’s advice for leading a healthy and fulfilling retirement? “Just keep active, both physically and mentally. Then, no matter where life takes you, your spiritual and mental health will thank you.”
Anne appreciates the outstanding generosity of her fellow residents and staff, who helped her raise $2,525 for her CN Tower climb. In fact, channeling Anne’s active spirit, for every half hour of exercise conducted by a group of residents (the length of an average Aquafit, Tai Chi or Stretch class), Chartwell Montgomery Village donated $2.00 in Anne’s name to the WWF. After 6,000 minutes of exercise, they raised $400 in two weeks, with the rest of the funds donated by Anne’s friends and the home’s residents and staff. “I’ve never seen so many residents take part in exercise,” Lifestyle & Programs Manager, Alexandra, recalls. “One class had over 36 people attend. It was phenomenal. We are all so proud of Anne.”