Vaughan, Ontario

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Review of VIVA Thornhill Woods by Debbie Raphael, family member

  • Date of Review:
    May 17, 2023
  • Resident:
    86 years old, female
  • Living in:
    Assisted living

Overall experience


Life at VIVA Thornhill Woods is truly great! It's their philosophy… As a matter of fact, when you call, the first words out of the concierge are "Thank you for calling VIVA Thornhill Woods. How can I make your day great?” They truly strive to do this for their residents and their families. My mom likes participating in the activities. She really looks forward to going on outings and shopping trips and loves the entertainment and playing cards/poker. She actually learned to play poker after she moved in and often wins, as well as at Bingo. I would say the greatest thing about this community is the caring staff and the fact that I have peace of mind knowing that my mom is not only living in a beautiful building and has a beautiful spacious suite, but that the staff are there in an instant when she needs help. I would highly recommend Viva Thornhill Woods as a place to move into.

Building, amenities & suites


The exterior is truly beautiful and represents more of a newer timeless condo style look. The interior is even more aesthetically beautiful. The decor and furniture is refreshingly modern / contemporary in design, which stands out compared to many retirement communities that tend to be more traditional. It truly is appealing for anyone 55-105 yrs of age. There's plenty of wide open common areas for residents and families to spend time together without feeling cramped, from the cafe to the cards/game/computer room, the bar/billiards room, to the movie theatre, that also has a stage, exercise room and even the hair salon. My mom moved from another province while recovering, so she moved site unseen...and her only requirement was that she could bring her large colonial bedroom set and have enough storage for her clothes. Her suite is really incredible. It's about 720 square feet - but they really utilized the space so well. She has a huge walk-in closet in her bedroom and a large walk-in closet for her coats that doubles as a storage room for her suitcases and necessities. The only thing her suite is missing is a balcony, but there's a beautiful courtyard off the main floor, a garden with a gazebo and sitting area off the outside entrance and another deck on the top floor.



They truly are an amazing team, right from the front reception/concierge, dining staff, housekeeping, maintenance staff, activity coordinators, nursing/PSW staff to the administrative team and executive director. They truly care about my mom and the residents living there. Even though we live in the same city now and only 15 minutes away from each other, I've been working full time since she moved here....and although I wish I could spend more time with her, I have peace of mind knowing that she's happy and although she's still fairly independent. The staff are there in an instant when she needs them. I can't thank them enough for all they have done for my mother each and every day.

Residents and community life


When my mom first moved in there were less residents at the time and they were more active, however, over the years they have aged in place - there are still several residents that have been there since my mom moved in 9 years ago. Right now there's still a good mix of active seniors and those that might need more assistance. It's also comforting to know that there is an assisted living floor where the nurses office is, for residents who need more care. They have a resident food committee and an activity committee - so they meet regularly to give resident feedback to the staff which is really nice. This helps to ensure that the community is listening to what the residents want and often makes changes quickly in order to accommodate their tastes and interests. My mom still has a regular group of friends, with common interests.

Activities and services


My mom has been living at Viva Thornhill Woods for 9 years this past September 2022. When she moved in, and for many years afterwards, she used to participate regularly in the exercise classes and all the activities. Bingo was always her thing growing up...but she really surprised us by learning how to play poker after she moved in and really enjoys playing cards, Rummy Q, the live entertainment, Bingo and movie nights and going on the outings - especially the shopping trips. They have their own bus with regularly scheduled trips that include going to the mall, grocery and pharmacy excursions. The residents can be as social as they want to be. My mom tends to go down to meet her friends around 11am and doesn't go back up to her suite until late in the evening.

Care and medical attention


My mom and family couldn't be happier with the staff and care. My mom was still recovering from a serious illness when she moved and she had to wait a few months to get her OHIP… yet they had physio lined up for her right from the day after she moved in, to help get her stronger. The nursing / PSW team has been mom wasn't feeling well one evening and when the evening nurse checked on her, he called me to say she needed to go to the hospital asap and saved her life as a result. They have also been incredible since the Covid Pandemic started. I remember thinking maybe I should move her in with me when it started, but it turned out she was better off and safer there with a care team in place. They have had a few outbreaks of covid and other things through the years, but they are in constant communication York Region Public Health and with the families, and we really appreciate their transparency.

Food and drink


My mom was an amazing cook, so it's been hard for her to not be able to cook anymore, and nothing in her opinion will ever be as good as her food was (not even in a restaurant). Although there are some days that she will admit the food was great. Before covid, I would join her more often for lunch on the weekends or for special dinner events with my family and the food has always been good. They have a menu with a good variety of regular items to choose from and 2 feature specials every day for lunch and dinner. Residents can help themselves to a continental breakfast in the dining room and/or prepare something in their own apartment. The menu also changes seasonally.

Moving in


It was hard for my mom to make the move - not only was she recovering from a serious illness at the time, she moved from another province leaving her family and friends....but the staff were truly incredibly welcoming to her as well as our entire family. It was a new building when she moved in (only 1 yr old at the time) and it turned out that there were a few people that she knew who used to live in Montreal - and several that have moved in since. My mom has always been sociable and friendly, so she made friends easily. Several of her friends were and still are very active and still drive. I really appreciated the marketing person who was there at the time who was so patient with me and let me come back several times to look at the suite styles, as it was a really hard decision to choose for someone who could not see it first. We didn't have facetime on our phones or video chats at the time....but I did use Comfort Life when searching for a community and was able to show her photos of what the community looked like on her laptop when I first visited her in the hospital, and took photos of the suite as well and sent them to her before she moved. This was really helpful.

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MORE ABOUT VIVA Thornhill Woods

Our Perspective

Thornhill Woods is ideal for seniors who have family in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, and Markham, and who want to improve their health and their happiness by living in a high quality environment, with excellent care. The hallmark of life here is the spacious suites and excellent dining, but the good living goes well beyond those features. There are movie nights in the onsite theatre, and an onsite pub, as well as a café. Read more

More video reviews

Watch our interview with Ellyn Rubin to learn about the unique experience offered by VIVA Thornhill Woods.

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