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Inside Whispering Pines in Barrie

Lorne Orser, 95, resident of Whispering Pines, a Barrie retirement home, recalls: "Marion and I were out at Midhurst Park. It was 1936. I asked her if she would be mine. She said yes, and that's how it began. On November 28, we will be married 70 years."

Marion, 90, did not want to leave her home in Midhurst, near Barrie, to move to a retirement home. "But it had to be done," Lorne says. "She was forgetful. She couldn't be left with the stove."

When construction started on Whispering Pines, he put down a deposit on a suite. "But she wouldn't even come to look at it."

When told that the suite he'd reserved had been painted, Marion finally came.

"She walked through that door," Lorne recalls, "and she said, 'I could live here.' And that was it."

Now, whenever she sees anyone taking a tour of Whispering Pines, Marion tells them, "This is the place. You should come and live here. You wouldn't find a better place."

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Whispering Pines Residence, Barrie retirement home, is 'absolutely delightful'

Sitting in the sunshine on the courtyard patio outside his door, retired lawyer Bruce Palmer is a satisfied man. "I like the . . ." he searches for the right word, "the ambience here. I've been here about a year and it's absolutely delightful. I like the high ceilings, it's all on one floor so I don't need an elevator, and it's the best layout." Bruce, 82, should know: He's lived in two other retirement homes.

He liked those too, but when he saw plans for the Whispering Pines Residence in Barrie, he told project marketing vice-president Peter Peachey: "Pick me out the best room."

Now, often wearing his two-tone Fred Astaire dance shoes ("They have not made me dance one bit better!"), Bruce sits outside every fine day, even in winter.

"You won't believe it-I get up at 4 or 5 in the morning. I got interested in astronomy when I retired, and getting up early has become a habit. Venus is very prominent at dawn these days."

By 6 a.m. he is often playing snooker in the games room. He needs the practice: Ruby Davis, 96, sometimes beats him. "She can shoot a better game than some of the pros downtown," he says admiringly.

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