Grand Individuals Aging with Neighbours in Thunder Bay (GIANTs)

We’re proud to be GIANTs! We believe that Thunder Bay is a good place to grow up and grow old. We share ideas about comfortably and safely aging in our homes. We want to be good neighbours. We host gatherings to talk and connect. We think that aging can be more enjoyable if you have folks to share the journey with. Check out this website to view our stories, read our blog, and print our resources. All seniors are Age-Friendly GIANTs to us!

Welcome to the age friendly giants page. Use the headings below to navigate the page.


GIANT Resources

The resources provided below were developed in the Phase 1 of the Age Friendly GIANTs project and these materials were produced from information gathered from older adults living in Thunder Bay. Feel free to view, download, or print any of these documents!

Recently the GIANT resources were featured in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal, download the full page advertisement here

Aging in Thunder Bay

Read, download, and even print this infographic displaying a snapshot of information about the Thunder Bay’s aging population!

Tips for Aging at Home

Read, download, and even print these quick tips for aging at home based on real lived experiences of older adults in Thunder Bay!

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Tips for Aging in Community

Read, download, and even print these quick tips for aging in your community and staying socially connected based on real lived experiences of older adults in Thunder Bay!

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Team of Eight

Having several quality connections is better than many weak ones when it comes to your social support and quality of life! Have you thought of who is on your “Team of 8?” Download, print and fill out this pamphlet and keep it handy! As John Cosgrove says, if you don’t have a team of 8…go out and get them!

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Education Toolkit

This education toolkit is designed to accompany the GIANT video series and promote discussion and critical thinking about key aspects of aging at home and in the community.

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GIANT Videos

10 Digital Stories

Back in July 2017, 10 older adult individuals living in Thunder Bay participated in an intensive 3-day digital storytelling workshop, where they each developed – with the support of StoryCentre Canada and several gracious volunteers – digital stories showcasing their experience aging in Thunder Bay. Watch all the videos here! 

Nellie

In her digital story, Nellie and Ted: It all started with a chair, Nellie describes her experience making modifications to her home, changing vehicles, and how she and her husband maintained social connections throughout their lives.
 

Diana

In her digital story, Life Transitioning, Diana shares about how she handled the various transitions along her life journey, what she did to continue to experience joy and express herself.
 

John

In his digital story, Cosgrove’s Taxi, John speaks to maintaining close, supportive, and lifelong friendships despite geographical distance. 

Razi

In his digital story, All That is Not Given is Lost, Razi describes how helping others has always given his life meaning and how he continued to help others as his roles and geographical location changed.
 

Sis

In her digital story, Limberlost Found, Sis reminisces about her childhood and shows how the things that once brought you joy can continue to do so later in life.

Lynn

In her digital story, My Home and Fences, Lynn delves into her past and describes how her connection to nature helped overcome challenges with isolation in her neighbourhood. 


Arlene

In her digital story, Summer Stroll,  Arlene takes us along on a walk through her neighbourhood and speaks on how she maintains connected to her community while still participating in the activities she enjoys. 


Jaro

In his digital story, Gems of the Neighbourhood, Jaro describes how being part of a club, volunteering, and music can bring people together.


Judy

In her digital story, My Cluster My Home, Judy describes the social support and opportunities for connection that living in co-operative housing provides.


Brian

In his digital story, Life’s ChangesBrian tells us about how he has overcome adversity throughout his life course and how he remains positive and motivated to keep himself connected.


GIANT Support

Age Friendly GIANTs 2019 is funded through a Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors grant. We are also thankful for the variety of support provided by various organizations and volunteers. Special thanks to Melissa Dafoe for the fantastic photography featured on the site!

Be sure to visit the websites of our GIANT supporters for more information relevant to aging well in Thunder Bay!

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Age Friendly Thunder Bay

Get in Touch

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Lakehead Social Planning Council

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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

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Thunder Bay District Health Unit

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For information on social, community, health, and government services in Northern Ontario

Just Dial 2-1-1 or visit them online!

Get in Touch


Blog Posts

Health Unit Resources for Older Adults – COVID-19

Apr. 14th, 2020

Hi GIANTs,

We hope you are keeping well while keeping physically distant these days!

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has developed some resources that we would like to share with you regarding information about COVID-19 but also about different services that are available and accessible by phone here in Thunder Bay.

Visit their website here: https://www.tbdhu.com/seniors# or take a look and share the resource below!


GIANTs on TV: Shaw Spotlight Episode 4

Jan. 13th, 2020

The GIANTs are on Shaw Spotlight in a segment called “Friendly GIANTs.” The first episode has aired and is available online here, the second episode is available online here, and the third episode is available here.

To watch the fourth episode now available on Shaw Spotlight, hit the play button on the video below:

View it, like it, share it!


Local Supports for Aging in Thunder Bay Recommended by Seniors for Seniors

Dec. 6th, 2019

Did you or a friend miss the GIANTs Castle on October 2, 2019? Check out the images below that contain the descriptions and contact information for local businesses as well as governmental and non-governmental services that were there! Have a look, some of these resources may help you build your Team of 8!


GIANTs on TV: Shaw Spotlight Episode 3

Nov. 16th, 2019

The GIANTs are on Shaw Spotlight in a segment called “Friendly GIANTs.” The first episode has aired and is available online here, the second episode, is also available online here. A fourth and final episode will be recorded soon and we will provide you with television air dates as soon as we can!

In the mean time, click play on the video below to view the third episode of Friendly GIANTs on Shaw Spotlight:

View it, like it, share it!


GIANTs Castle Featured in Local News: Showcase offers seniors advice on making homes age-friendly

Nov. 16th, 2019

Check out the TBNewsWatch article written by Doug Diazuck that speaks about The GIANTs Castle, the first showcase on how seniors can make their homes age ready!

https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/showcase-offers-seniors-advice-on-making-homes-age-friendly-1726500


EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT!!

Sep. 5th, 2019

As autumn is approaching, so are the final two events of the 2019 season of Age Friendly GIANTs. Be sure to come out to our last Tea Talk on September 11 at 1:30pm at the Mary J.L. Black Library, and bring some friends out to the fun, informative, and FREE Senior Showcase “The GIANTs Castle: Making Your Home Age Ready,” which was put together by seniors, for seniors – but welcomes all ages! See our Upcoming Events on the Home Page for more information!

Feel free to print the flyers and stick them on your fridge, or share them with others!


GIANTs on TV: Shaw Spotlight Part 2

Sep. 1, 2019

The GIANTs are on Shaw Spotlight in a segment called “Friendly GIANTs.” The first episode aired earlier this month, and is now available online here! The final episode of this 3-part series will be recorded soon and we will provide you with television air dates as soon as we can!

In the mean time, check out part two of Friendly GIANTs featuring Nancy Angus, Cathy Schoales, and Sis Angus here!

View it, like it, share it!


Support Services Programs at the Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre

Sep. 1st, 2019

The Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre provides several Support Services Programs that offer friendship and support to the people of Thunder Bay and the surrounding area.

The 3 support services are:

1. Friendly Visiting – Volunteers visit regularly with seniors in their homes or community to offer companionship and friendship.

2. Telephone Assurance – provides an ongoing telephone link for social contact between a volunteer and an older adult.

3. Walk A Bit – provides opportunities for older adults to get out of their homes for a short walk.

Referrals to the Support Services Programs are accepted from agencies, family members, and friends.

For information call Twyla or Suzanne at (807) 684-3471 or visit the website at https://www.thunderbay.ca/en/city-services/support-services.aspx


More than just a Name Plaque…

Jul. 30th, 2019

Brian Spare, one of our featured Age Friendly GIANTs, had this story to share about his interactions with his neighbours:

Two weeks after moving into his new apartment, Brian was just leaving to go out when his neighbour across the hall was returning to hers. He said to her on his way out, “I’ll have to get a name plaque to put on my door like yours!” She said she’d make him one and, lo and behold, when Brian got back to his apartment there was his name on the door.

Having a name plaque on your door can be a creative and inviting way to introduce yourself to your neighbours. What ways do you try to reach out and connect with those around you?


Centenarian GIANT shares her tips!

Jul. 23rd, 2019

Did you know that GIANT Sis Angus is 100? Recently, she was interviewed by Cathy Alex from CBC news and she mentioned that her keys to aging so well are to “hug, smile, walk, and talk!”

Read the article and listen to the interview here!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/ella-sis-angus-100-thunder-bay-1.5201533


GIANTs on TV: Friendly GIANTs on Shaw Spotlight

Jul. 23rd, 2019

The GIANTs are on Shaw Spotlight in a segment called “Friendly GIANTs.” The first episode aired earlier this month, but it is now available online! The second of this 3-part series will be recorded soon and we will provide you with television air dates as soon as we can!

In the mean time, check out part one of Friendly GIANTs featuring Nancy Angus, Diana Plomp, Brian Spare, and Judy Mostow here!

View it, like it, share it!

#shawspotlight


GIANT FACTS!

Jul. 10th, 2019

The population of Thunder Bay is aging and we’ve made a simple, easy-to-read infographic displaying some interesting information about this demographic in Thunder Bay. Have a look below, or find a pdf version to print/download/email on our resources page!


Alternative Housing Arrangements: Co-operative Living

Jul. 9th, 2019

In this post, Judy explains how living in co-operative housing has benefited her throughout her life.

Affordability – I chose to live the Co-op lifestyle because I did not want the responsibility of home ownership, being a single mom with a full time job, owning a home was more than I

could handle.

Volunteering Opportunities – The benefits of Volunteering are two fold, first it added to my personal growth and to my professional growth. By volunteering you can help keep housing charges affordable.

Saftey & Comfort – Living in a Co-op, you have lots of neighbours, giving me a profound sense of security. I never feel a loss of privacy. I am glad some of my neighbours know of my vulnerabilities, so they can keep an eye on me.

Multi-generational Community – When I first moved into the Co-op, I had just secured a full time job and was required by my new job to work during the day, then go back to work several nights a week for meetings. So what does a single mom do with a 3 year old child who has been in daycare all day? I wanted someone who would mother, nurture, and teach him in my absence. The cluster provided the first of 2 adopted grandmas to help me out. You know the old saying it takes a village to raise a child? Well in my case, it took my cluster to help raise my son.


The GIANTs make the Paper!

Jul. 5th, 2019

On June 15, Age Friendly GIANTs posted a full page ad with tips, resource cut-outs, and information about our upcoming events. If you or someone you know missed it, we’ve posted a downloadable PDF version in the resource section of our website and a preview of it here as well, for your convenience!

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“These Shoes are Made for Walking” Contest!

Jun. 18th, 2019


Sit Out Front!

Jun. 18th, 2019

When we first moved into our house we had a beautiful Lynden tree in the front yard that was as tall as the roof of our two story house! It provided us with the wonderful smell of the blossoms in the spring and cool shade in the summer. One year there was a terrible storm and the tree was blown down covering the street so no one could leave the neighbourhood. We were all so sad, my family and all the neighbours. The yard was now empty, so we decided to build a porch not realizing how this would connect us in a new way to our neighbourhood. The kids and I sat out during thunderstorms, had picnics on the porch and invited any neighbour passing to join us. Sitting out in front of your house gives you a birds-eye view of the comings and goings of the neighbours and a chance to catch up with old neighbours, meet new ones, and it even provided us with a new setting for pictures!!


The Chariot

Jun. 12th, 2019

I’ve spent some time thinking about my future, and although I don’t require it just yet, I had a mobile chair lift installed in my home “just in case,” while I had the income available. Interestingly, it’s my 4-year-old great grandniece that has been taking advantage of it the most! She has had such fun going up and down the staircase in her “chariot.” Don’t be afraid to think ahead!

– Germaine

#homeimprovements #thinkahead #chairlift #chariot


5 Ways to Wellbeing!

Jun. 5th, 2019

I often hear people say that they are not well connected to their neighbours, or people in organizations and programs. What can we do about it? I came across this article about 5 Ways to Wellbeing (below) and I thought ‘if we consciously look out for even small chances to meet people, connection would build over time’. So while walking the dog, say ‘hello’ to the people who make contact with us while we are walking, or think about the skills you possess and offer to use them to help other – for example asking someone if they would like help with snow-shoveling or with yard work. In these seemingly small ways, we can begin connecting. I have a goal of being connected to at least 8 people. If you are not well connected to at least 8 people, go out and get them!

– John

Read more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing Project by clicking on the image above! Thanks to the City of Hobart for inspiring us with this initiative.


“Right-size” Your Garden

May 22nd, 2019

Someone told me that they liked their backyard garden, but didn’t feel that they could maintain it anymore. When they reflected about what it was they were having a hard time with, they realized it was just the digging and rototilling that was becoming a bit too difficult. Instead of giving up on their garden completely, they budgeted and hired a young person with an up and coming landscaping business to come and rototill. They were still able to do the fun stuff that they wanted to do while sharing the bounty with the young person hired to do the heavier lifting. Everyone wins!

Submitted by an Anonymous GIANT

#gardening #helpingothers #keepyourpassion #leisure #intergenerational


The Front Porch – A Tool for Connecting

May 14th, 2019

Connecting with the people in your neighbourhood can be easier than you think, as long as you put yourself out there!! Sit in front of your house, not in it. Make a point of meeting and speaking with your neighbours. Enjoy the outdoor environment and the activities going on within it. You never know, you could end up making a new friend – ask them to sit and talk a while! Enjoy your front porch – put a lawn chair at the end of your driveway or on the lawn to encourage visitors. Make new connections with old and new neighbours!

Submitted by an Anonymous GIANT


My New Home: Making Connections After Relocating

Mar. 18th, 2019

After 11 years of living with my sister and her three children, it was time for me to find my own apartment. I moved clear across town to a neighbourhood I didn’t know, but was determined to not become isolated. I made a point of introducing myself to my new neighbours. On my walks, I’d say hello to people. I volunteer at the community centre and Saturday mornings I go to nearby yard sales. I knew that if I wanted to be a member of my adopted community, I had to make the effort to be a part of it. Within a year of living here, I had found my place. People see and know me. This neighbourhood is truly my home.

Submitted by Brian Spare

#Community #Neighbourhood #StayingConnected


Growing Something from Nothing!

Mar. 18th, 2019

According to the calendar, spring is right around the corner, but stick your nose out the back door and you might decide otherwise! I’ve got the urge to see something green growing. I’ve started throwing my kitchen peelings over the railing and into the front flower bed. Last year I was pleasantly surprised to have two cantaloupes sprout up – who knew there could be surprises like that in the trash! Going to get some seedlings started on the window sill this year. Tomatoes for sure!

Submitted by Arlene

#gardening #leisure #changingseasons


Kitchen Dance Party

Mar. 18th, 2019

If you live on your own and are having challenges making healthy, affordable meals, why not get together with a friend, one of your children or grandchildren to plan, shop for, and prepare a few meals to share? I did this recently with my daughter and now we each have a variety of meals in our freezers – ready to pull out and heat up. We had a 70’s playlist of songs to accompany our chopping and stirring. The stories, laughter, and even dancing over a few hours were so much fun! I will remember the special afternoon each time I pull out one of the meals for supper.

Submitted by an Anonymous GIANT

#MealPrep #Together #Intergenerational #Cooking