I moved into Old Grace Housing co-op at just the right time. Climbing stairs had been difficult for a long time, but it was becoming perilous. My transition to full-time wheelchair use occurred as I moved into an accessible suite in Old Grace. I imagine learning to live full-time in a wheelchair is never easy, but it was made so much more manageable with all the accessible features in my suite. I’m able to live with total independence without compromising the way I like to live. I really appreciate that I’ve been able to adapt various features to suit my particular needs: disability is not one-size-fits-all!
The location is fantastic. I’m close enough to major bus routes that I can manage getting around the city independently almost all the time. (Heavy snowfall is still a dealbreaker.)
But on days when it’s hard to get out, there are lots of excellent spaces in the building where I can meet with others. I like being able to schedule meetings or workshops in the boardroom here. Colleagues I’ve invited to meet with me here have all expressed appreciation for being able to conduct our business in such a beautiful and practical space.
And the neighbours are all wonderful!
I am so lucky to live at Old Grace because it really is accessible housing. I can do so many things for myself because the accessibility of my unit allows for that. Whether it’s making my own breakfast on the stove that I can fit under or to being able to shower on my own because I can transfer to the pull-down bench using all the grab bars built-in. Having a literal roll-in closet so I can see and pick out my own clothes. To even being able to look through a wheelchair level peephole to see who’s knocking on my door!
My absolute favorite is being able to host my family for Christmas and Thanksgiving in the beautiful common room. Before I moved here I hadn’t seen some members of my family in over seven years. I was never able to go to their houses for family events because of accessibility issues but now at the co-op, it’s become an annual tradition and we have an amazing time all being together again.
I had never felt that I was able to truly live independently until I moved here. I love my unit but I also love the community here. Everyone is kind, supportive and always finding ways to make things even more accessible for everyone. Not only did I find my forever home I found my forever accessible home.
Executive Director: L’Avenir Cooperative Inc.
As a care provider, we are so happy with the assistance Old Grace Housing Coop has given in assisting those who we support to move in. So helpful in ensuring our own requirements as a care provider are met.
The atmosphere of Old Grace is wonderful, welcoming and inclusive.
My beautiful and inspiring 58-year-old daughter Catherine has significant inconveniences with which to contend, including quadriplegia and lack of speech; thus she needs 24-hour assistance with every aspect of her life. When she was 25 she moved from our family home into the ground floor of a house in Wolseley, where she lived – with assistance from our support agency, L’Avenir Cooperative – for 30 years. Then I heard about a plan to create a 60-unit, multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-income, multi-ability (wow!) housing co-operative just two blocks from Cath’s current house. As her Substitute Decision Maker, I signed her up immediately and booked a 3-bedroom suite for her and her friend Louise – also a L’Avenir member and a wheelchair user.
In the ensuing months, I became acquainted with the OGHC’s Board members and was blown away by their imagination, enthusiasm, expertise, and dedication. Catherine and I attended many planning meetings and met other potential co-op dwellers. We were invariably greeted with warm goodwill and interest. It was an exciting time – so exciting that I booked a suite in the co-op for myself!
For just over a year now, Cath and I have lived in ground floor suites mere steps apart. Hers is a carefully designed accessible one to accommodate her and Louise and also their team of assistants, who often tell me how much they like working with the ladies in the new environment (that includes in-suite laundry facilities). Importantly, there are features of the co-op – a generous loading zone at the front entrance, two large elevators within – that afford everyone easy access to the entire complex.
After the confines of a house, Catherine especially appreciates roaming (OK, being roamed) around the corridors and meeting friends – plus she and Louise love attending the numerous concerts, films, parties and other events in the magnificent common room.
Cath and I lead separate lives but see one another whenever we want and are both thriving in this wonderfully welcoming, diversely populated intentional community.