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A regal garden party

Confirmation cake
Sharon Day and Peggy Boucher enjoy tea and conversation during the annual garden party at Farraline Place. (McKnight photo)

Farraline Place celebrates the year, honours monarch's 90th birthday

By Gisele McKnight

It was a birthday party fit for a queen — Queen Elizabeth II, that is, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

That was the theme of this year's Farraline Place annual garden party held Aug. 11 at the Queen Street residence in downtown Fredericton. Farraline Place is an ACW-owned seniors' home.

The afternoon party included a royal-inspired menu of finger sandwiches — salmon, egg and cucumber — plus raisin scones with jam and homemade clotted cream, lemon curd tarts, Victoria sponge and shortbread cookies with buttercream icing. Many of the ladies wore fancy hats and fascinators.

Torrential rains at noon forced the first half of the party indoors, where several people made short speeches. But afterwards, the yard was dry enough for the refreshments and music to be held in the garden.

Marlene Mercer, board of directors president, spoke of the upcoming fall fundraising gala and invited all present to gather again for it at Christ Church (Parish) Church Oct. 15 at 5 p.m.

"Farraline Place has a tight budget," she said. "The gala fundraiser goes toward expenses."

A recent yard sale raised $296 to help pay for a fence in the yard.

Administrator Judy O'Donnell spoke of the efforts the staff put in to preparing for the garden party.

"You have no idea how much work goes into today," she said. "They did a lot of work. I'd like to thank the staff. They make me look pretty good."

Rosemarie Kingston, diocesan president of the ACW; Fredericton Mayor Mike O'Brien; Fredericton Deputy Mayor and Christ Church Cathedral member Kate Rogers; Fredericton South MLA David Coon; and contractor Bill O'Donnell all expressed appreciation for the home and brought greetings from their respective organizations.

"Seniors are such a gift to our city," said the mayor. "I'm so glad you're here in a safe and pleasant place."

ACW members attended, including one group from the Parish of Sackville.

The music this year was by Frantically Atlantic, a husband and wife duo of Don Rigley and Michelle Daigle, whose Celtic sounds, with fiddle, hammered dulcimer and whistles, thoroughly entertained the hand-clapping crowd.

One of the highlights of the party was not the food, nor the fellowship, but a fashion ensemble from the 1950s.

Summer student Jessica Richard modelled the gown that Lady Dunn wore to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953. The gown is owned by a local man.

The British-born Lady Dunn, whose name was Marcia Anastasia Christoforides, later became Lady Beaverbrook when she married her late husband's friend, Max Aitken. She lived for many years in St. Andrews and died in 1994. Both her husbands were from New Brunswick.

History from
It was in 1988 that the ACW of New Brunswick, at the request of Bishop Harold Nutter, took over Farraline Place. It has been a home for the elderly since 1907 when J.N. Pauletta Fraser, wife of the lieutenant-governor, left it to be used as a home for elderly ladies. The house was built in 1809 and enjoys a phenomenal location next to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.

Farraline Home is not a nursing home or special care home. It provides independent living for seniors who don't require personal care from staff.

Staff do, however, prepare meals, clean rooms, look after medications and do laundry for residents. For those not wanting to live alone, keep a house, rent an apartment or make meals and do chores, it is ideal. There are 20 bedrooms at Farraline Place. Currently there is one vacancy, which the board is eager to rent.

The home got its name from Lt. Gov. J.J. Fraser, who took over the property in 1893. He named it Farraline Place after the original Fraser estate in Scotland. Learn more about Farraline Place at its website:

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Gisele McKnight is the communications officer for the Diocese of Fredericton.

Diocesan Communications
23 August 2016