It’s amazing who your neighbour is!

Lottie Shaw Bonney was born in Oro Township in April, 1902. A lifelong resident of Oro, this fifth of Harry and Margaret Shaw’s nine children married Percy Bonney in 1922 and they farmed in Oro all their lives. Agriculture and church were huge impacts on Lottie’s life, and she gave as much back as she ever received. An enthusiastic participant (and winner) of prizes at the Oro Fair, Lottie was also pianist for the Clowes Women’s Institute, to which she belonged for 36 years.

Lottie Bonney moved into the Aspen Wing of Grove Park Home on Cook and Grove streets in Barrie. Her suite was #12.

Right next door in suite #11 is Vi Langman Fisher Baycroft. While Vi’s first husband Jim was a barber in Toronto, Vancouver and Barrie, Vi lived mostly in the west after she married for the second time during the 1970’s. Her husband was from Weyburn, Saskatchewan and the two spent their summers in Weyburn and their winters in Texas. They attended the Church of Christ in Weyburn and in Texas. When Mr. Baycroft died in 1989, Vi moved back to Barrie and into the home built and cared for by the Barrie congregation of the Church of Christ.

As fate would have it, Vi and Lottie became next door neighbours, having never known each other in their youth, nor in their lives as mothers and wives. Yet, the two share the same great grandparents, Hugh Langman and Honour Saundercock (who married in Cornwall, England in 1791). And now generations later, these women have come to know each other as they share their own rich histories.

Claude Cox, minister of the Church of Christ in Barrie, is uncovering lots of coincidences as he’s coaxing the stories out of Grove Park’s 93 residents in preparation of a celebratory book on the history of what was a tremendous innovation when Grove Park Home opened in Barrie in 1968. While the home was designed by Leonard Huget and built by Robert Lackie of Allandale Construction for 68 people, only 40 had moved in by its official opening on May 6, 1968. It soon grew to capacity and during its 30 year history has enjoyed two additional wings–Maple in 1983, Oak in 1986–and an exquisite addition to the dining room.

This facility has been home to 560 people since its cornerstone was laid and Claude Cox hopes that Grove Park’s 30th anniversary project, a book called Connections, will celebrate the true flavour of Grove Park.
“People went to school in Barrie, their children married each other, they share grandchildren and great grandchildren, and moving to Grove Park is the culmination of active, closely knit lives,” he said.

Claude is missing some critical information about Grove Park as he works to prepare this project for a fall distribution. He is missing records of some of the first residents of the home, and is hoping people will call to help him fill in names, birth and death dates, with capsulizations of people’s life stories. It’s his intention that a summary of Grove Park’s residents and early years will be included in this book. He’s also profiling the work of the first administrator Clarence Rittenhouse, and the second David Johnson whose tenure lasted almost 30 years!

Grove Park Home was the vision of Wesley Jones, then minister at Church of Christ, and the energy of 17 families who made up the congregation during the mid-60’s. Together these people marshalled the commitment of an entire community to build the first retirement home of its kind in Barrie.

Claude can be reached by:
fax: 726-1076
church: 722-7155
home: 737-2272
if you have information of early residents that he can include in Connections.

A wonderful project by people whose lives should be chronicled for their tenacity, vivacity, and history.

Thanks, Claude.