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MPPs Stephen Lecce and Stan Cho preside over ground-breaking ceremony at Mary Lake’s 160-bed St. Rita LTC facility

October 25, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Jim Stewart

Provincial government officials and local dignitaries announced at a ground-breaking ceremony in King City on Friday morning that construction of St. Rita at Mary Lake – a $60 million 160-bed Long Term Care facility – would be funded by the Province of Ontario. The event featured public addresses by Stephen Lecce (MPP—King Vaughan) and Stan Cho, Minister of Long Term Care.
Prior to introducing MPP Lecce and MPP Cho, Board Member of the Augustinian Fathers Quinto Annibale noted the need for the retirement residence in King Township and its long-term attributes: “We hope that it will benefit generations to come. It shows how powerful the commitment is at Mary Lake to seniors’ health care.”
Annibale also pointed out the necessity for such a facility in King: “The need for long term care beds in King is critical – King Township maintains one of the lowest ratios of long-term care beds to residents in the GTA.”
After Annibale set the press conference in motion, he invited MPP Lecce to address the gathering. Lecce spoke fervently about addressing the shortage of long term care beds in King and the need to provide seniors with a quality care setting: “Families in King have not had equal access to public infrastructure. Aging parents in our Township have not had access to quality retirement residences. We want to make life better for the greatest generation.” Lecce added that “this is a legacy project that will provide 160 beds in the centre of King Township that will be completed in 2025. Governments must step up to support seniors.”
Lecce spoke personally about his own relatives, especially his parents, who have given so much of themselves and deserve dignity and care in exchange for all the sacrifices they have made for their children and grandchildren.
He transitioned from his poignant familial anecdotes to the introduction of his “dear friend Stan Cho” – the Minister of Long Term Care whose connection on stage with Lecce was evident. The colleagues traded warm insights into Italian culture, Korean culture, and their shared immigrant experience. Cho commended Lecce for his diligent lobbying to get St. Rita at Mary Lake built to serve his constituents: “This project doesn’t happen without the advocacy of Stephen Lecce.” Minister Cho demonstrated his connection to Italo-Canadian culture having grown up in a predominantly Italian neighborhood and offered insights into the province’s significant emphasis on constructing long term care facilities across Ontario: “You take care of those who took care of you. We have an aging population and we have seniors moving into every corner of the province. We are creating homes, not just beds, for seniors because the waiting lists for these homes have become unacceptable.”
Cho elaborated on some of the specific levels of care that residents in long term care homes in Ontario can expect: “4 hours of daily care for each resident. 27,000 PSWs to be hired to create quality of life for our parents and grandparents.” As he closed his address, Cho noted that LTC capacity in King will grow from 36 beds to 160” and he ended emphatically with “Let’s get this built.”
The ground-breaking crew reassembled outside for the groundbreaking photo op with MPP Lecce and MPP Cho in the centre of the silver shovel brigade.
After the soil was tossed and historical photos were taken, Lecce reflected on the best part of the ceremony: “Knowing that by 2025 this facility will be open and providing our seniors with dignity and quality care in a beautiful picturesque setting is very satisfying. I’ll continue to fight for our seniors and their families. It gives me a great sense of hope and comfort that our seniors will have proximity to their families at beautiful Mary Lake.”
As noted in the provincial government’s media release: “The new 160-bed home is being built on the 800-acre Shrine of Our Lady of Grace property that also encompasses a monastery, retreat centre, a Catholic shrine and the world’s largest rosary path. The home is expected to welcome its first residents in late 2025 and will feature design improvements, including larger resident common areas and air conditioning throughout the home. The design is centred around five ‘resident home areas,’ each of which creates a more intimate and familiar living space for up to 32 residents, with dining and activity areas, lounges and bedrooms.
“Once completed, the home also intends to offer enhanced chronic disease management programs and palliative care services, and will be part of a campus of care. This helps integrate the long-term care home into the broader health care system and ensures residents can conveniently connect to the care they need. Spiritual support for residents and families will be provided by the monastery’s Augustinian Fathers — additionally, the home has proposed to offer culturally appropriate services to the Italian community.”



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