A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Providence Manor long-term care (LTC) home was hosted today, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, by the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul in their Motherhouse dining room, to protect guests and dignitaries from the frigid temperatures and icy, snow-covered ground.
Construction has already begun on the new 320-bed state-of-the-art Providence Manor building on the park-like property at 1200 Princess Street, which has been home to the Sisters since 1932 and is the site of the Providence Village ‘campus of care.’
Providence Village will be a community hub including Hospice Kingston, which integrated with Providence Care in April 2022. Planning for a 10-bed Hospice Residence and Palliative Care Centre located in Providence Village is well underway.
Providence Care’s long-term care program is currently provided at a 243-bed home, also called Providence Manor, located in downtown Kingston. It provides care for residents who have stable medical conditions but require 24-hour nursing care. The new modernized Providence Manor will replace the original home and provide 77 new and 243 upgraded beds. It is expected to welcome its first residents in late fall 2026. Readers may recall that the discussions and studies are underway to see the current Providence Manor location become a community hub after the new facility at 1200 Princess Street is complete.
At today’s groundbreaking, Michelle Podhy, Chair of Providence Care’s Board of Directors, welcomed Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, Stan Cho, who shared a story about when he was first appointed to his current position.
“When I got this job, the first phone call I made in office was to my parents. My mom, she loved it [and] said congratulations… My dad heard the news and said, ‘Oh, so you work for me now.’ I said yes, but I reminded him that he works for my mom,” he said with a smile.
After some laughs from the gathered guests, Cho continued, “But he’s not wrong. I think we all work for our seniors. I truly believe we have a moral imperative to take care of those who took care of us… and that’s why I’m proud to be part of this.”
Cathy Szabo, President and CEO of Providence Care, said, “Today’s ground-breaking of the new Providence Manor long-term-care home represents Providence Care’s unwavering commitment to providing compassionate, resident-centred care for our aging population.”
“The state-of-the-art, 320-bed residence will result in an additional 77 beds, allowing us to extend our reach and serve more members of our community,” Szabo continued.
“The expansion not only addresses the growing demand for long-term care but also allows us to create an updated environment that fosters a sense of belonging, purpose, and joy for our residents and their families. I am incredibly proud of our staff, volunteers, and donors who have made getting to the groundbreaking stage possible.”
The six-storey building will feature design improvements, including a physiotherapy room, multi-faith worship space, hair salon, multi-purpose space, improved resident common areas, and air conditioning throughout the home. The design is centred on ‘resident home areas,’ each of which creates a more intimate and familiar living space for 32 residents, with dining and activity areas, lounges, and bedrooms.
“We’ll ensure that there is community within the building,” explained Szabo, who noted that a unique feature “that was number one, that our residents had to have” — an onsite pub — will be open to the public to encourage community.
“Providence Care will be a village of people helping people,” she continued, noting that once complete, the home will be part of the Providence Village campus of care that includes a hospice, retirement homes, and a YMCA community building with a day care centre and unique intergenerational programming.
Szabo explained that a campus of care helps integrate the long-term care home into the broader health-care system and ensures residents can conveniently connect to the care they need.
“The newly revitalized Providence Manor is designed to reflect the needs and concerns of our aging seniors in an environment that promotes dignity, independence, and convenient access to care,” stated John Jordan, MPP for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston. “The Providence Village campus embraces our government’s vision of a compassionate, comfortable, dignified lifestyle, and that’s the very least we can offer those who have worked long and hard to make Ontario a place we can proudly call home.”
Although he was not one of the invited dignitaries for the event, Kingston and the Islands MPP Ted Hsu offered positive words when reached for comment.
“The evidence is, especially during the pandemic, that not-for-profit long-term care (LTC) facilities had better outcomes than for-profit LTC facilities. We are fortunate that the Ontario government is getting behind the generous donation of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul [and] the experience of Providence Care and investing in a new not-for-profit LTC facility — a new Providence Manor,” said Hsu.
As of September 2023, more than 43,000 people were on the waiting list to access a long-term care bed in Ontario. The median wait time is 118 days for applicants to be placed in long-term care.