“Garth Trails is a Young Community – in Spirit if not in years”
As one of the first residents of the adult lifestyle community Garth Trails in Ancaster, Marlenna Langford put her marketing background to work to ensure all residents felt welcome and connected. She started a telephone directory, calendar, website and a quarterly newsletter she delivers personally to each home.
“I can’t sit still,” she laughs. “Truth is, I love the work. There are now about 700 to 800 people in the community and I know almost everybody by name.”
While local advertisers pay the cost of ink and paper, she has been providing her time at no cost for nearly 10 years.
“This community survives on volunteers – the social club, bocce ball league…right now, I’m doing all the staging, sets, props, costumes and all printing for the upcoming production of Trouble at the Tropicabana – an I Love Lucy spoof murder mystery. There are two nights and it’s sold out. A volunteer resident is doing the directing and yet another, the dance choreography.
“This place has created its own groups. The band and choir, for example, are all volunteers. You can join in or be a watcher. You can do what you want, but you’re still involved.”
Marlenna’s husband, a former commuter, keeps busy on-site now adding his own time and talent to the mix by playing clarinet in the band and sitting on the community’s Board of Directors, Shared Facilities Committee, and the Help Committee – whose members come to the rescue when light bulbs need changing.
The house in Garth Trails is the couple’s first true home. Married 40 years after they first met in college after a chance reunion, she emigrated from Scotland to be with him and temporarily moved into the house he’d had for ages.
“We meant to downsize, but this place turned out to be larger,” Marlenna says. “Peter and I have kids all over the world, so we get visitors. That means we needed additional bedrooms. We bought a house with a loft and finished the basement.”
The search for the right location, however, took some time.
“I was new to Canada and both of us were retiring, so we could have gone anywhere,” she recalls. But the appeal of small town charm and the convenience of having Hamilton, an international airport and three hospitals nearby was not lost on them. “We have everything we want and need right here, including an absolutely fabulous supportive community. Also, I back onto the pond and I wouldn’t move for anything!”
Garth Trails is a young community – in spirit if not in years, she adds. As such, there are many opportunities for social gatherings. There’s Scottish Country Dancing to try – with a traditional Ceilidh annually, an Italian night, Oktoberfest, St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween.
“All the nationalities get recognized,” Marlenna smiles.
In addition to the social activities, the 14,000-square-foot clubhouse hosts aquafit in the pool, as well as yoga, cards, darts, fitness classes, needlework, tennis and many other options. Marlenna says she participated in many of them when she first moved in, but “as the community grew, so did my workload.
“Even if I don’t go to all the functions, I’ll be there taking pictures. We enjoy life and that’s what it’s all about!”
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