Berwick House founder Gordon Denford (left) and his son, Chris, unveil the new onsite Tweeds Cafe during the 30th anniversary celebration. (Photo courtesy Lesley Sikorski)

Berwick House marks 30 years in Saanich, 92-year-old founder not slowing down

The ‘family oriented’ celebration included staff, residents, community members

The Gordon Head Berwick House marked 30 years in Saanich on Wednesday.

Gordon Denford, founder of Berwick Retirement Communities, opened the retirement home in 1989 after seeing a need for “vibrant, engaging social communities for seniors.” Over the years, Denford opened seven more locations in B.C. – the eighth home opened in Qualicum Beach in early November.

The anniversary celebration included the official unveiling of the new onsite Tweeds Cafe, an awards ceremony and a cocktail party for residents and community members along with current and former staff.

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At the party, folks who’ve been connected to the Berwick House for many years got up to speak. Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff was among those who spoke, and Mayor Fred Haynes sent a note of congratulation and appreciation for Denford’s work in the community.

Residents also shared their experiences and many of the original staff members stopped in, giving the event a “family feel.” A sculpture symbolizing family was also gifted to the Berwick House by food-service company, Compass Group, in honour of the anniversary.

An awards ceremony was also held during the celebration. Lee Coonfer, CEO of the BC Seniors Living Association, highlighted Denford’s work by giving him the Pioneer Award. Four staff members – Doug Webb, Margot Wallace, Bill Krutz and Katrina Glass – were also recognized and received awards to mark their 30 years of service to the Berwick House. The four staff members have been with the company since the Gordon Head Berwick House first opened.

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Denford, 92, continues to operate the retirement homes with his son, Chris, and works to connect with each resident. Chris, who is now the CEO and president of the company, feels his father’s legacy demonstrates his belief that fostering connections in the community he lives and works in is the key to success.


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