What's Happening

Renos coming right along

A sense of anticipation was in the air during a June visit to the Cummings Centre. Work was proceeding on major renovations to the Westbury Ave. home-away-from-home for the active and creative 50-plus crowd.

The $2.5-million price tag is expected to cover a new and improved entranceway, an expanded atrium or lobby to ease circulation and improve access to programs and services, and an upgraded high-tech lounge.

It’s all part of what Barbara Solomon, volunteer chair of the renovation committee, describes as a strategic plan “to attract younger users and make the centre more user friendly.”

The entranceway will include an enclosed, street-level heated stairwell with automatic glass doors, a wider ramp that will be easier to navigate, heated and well lit, and a redesigned waiting area.

The kitchen and dining room will feature a “bistro-style” area, more intimate and inviting than the current cafeteria.

The new tech lounge will offer Wi-Fi access and laptops, with free tech assistance during selected hours, for the connected generation.

About 8,000 people from varied ethno-cultural and religious background use its facilities. The kitchen is kosher. While some use walkers or wheelchairs, many ambulatory users come to the Cummings Centre for its renowned adapted exercise programs. These include programs that cater to people living with balance issues, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, whose mobility has been affected by a stroke.  It also offers wellness and fitness programs, including yoga, targeted to individual abilities and needs, for those who want to exercise in a group setting.

Funding for the renovations came from the Charlotte and Leo Karassik Foundations, the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors Foundation and Federation CJA. A grant from UPS Foundation contributed to the cafeteria and kitchen renovation. There also is what Solomon calls “a very active” arts and crafts program offering everything from wood carving to pastels, cultural programs, language classes and group outings, all of which continue during the renovation. Construction is to be completed in stages, and wrapped up by the end of July.

Info: cummingscentre.org, or 514-342-1234

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