It was a reunion of sorts during the Boyne Lodge annual Fall Tea and Bazaar on Thursday. The 2017 event served as a celebration marking 50 years of the personal care home in Carman.
Robert McKenzie is the only living member of The Young Citizens Group, the initial volunteer board that built the Lodge in 1967. He remembers money was always a worry during the early stages of the project.

"I remember sitting at CIBC and they said 'Are you going to have trouble making mortgage payments?' if they gave us a loan and we said 'No, no problem'. And so it turned out we worried about filling the place up and then it filled up fast, so no problem."

He said it turns out there was a real need for the 70 bed facility back then.

"When we built it we thought it would be a rental for elderly people but it filled up with Alzheimer's cases fast. There were a lot of people out there who needed help badly, and when the Lodge was built it helped the families a lot and I'm sure that hasn't changed."

And just as the Boyne Lodge reached this golden milestone of 50 years in operation, plans are in the works for an expansion and renovation to the facility.

Kelvin Smith serves as Chair for the Boyne Valley Hostel Corporation, the group that oversees the operation of the personal care home. He is also part of the new facility planning group and says his parents were part of that original group that built the Boyne Lodge back in 1967.

He believes the legacy of the past is helping to influence this latest effort.

"Sometimes when you're working on these things and you think 'I don't know if we're going to be able to get this done'. You've got to remember that back over fifty years ago, I'm sure they ran into hurdles and road blocks but they got it done and we just have to find a way to get it done now."

"We think about ourselves too and someday we may have to use it and I think my parents thought the same way," added Smith.

Meantime, Barb Lepp, Boyne Hostel Corporation Vice Chair, said there has been a change in how the Boyne Lodge has operated since opening in 1967. She noted that it is a very different facility than what we think of today as a personal care home facility.

"(The tenants) were able to drive, they could come and go. Some took meals here, some did not."

"When people are panelled for health care, usually they're considered a level three or four," added Lepp. "Fifty years ago, the people who lived in the Boyne Lodge would be a level one or two and nowadays those people would never be eligible for a personal care home."

Physical transformations of the home over the decades include a second floor dining room, a sunroom, a secure outdoor patio. Lepp adds Boyne Lodge was the first personal care home in Manitoba to offer an adult day program.