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The lobby at the Portsmouth.

The library at the Portsmouth

A unique one bedroom suite at the Portsmouth

The movie theatre at the Portsmouth


Did you know that half of the Portsmouth residents are Jewish?

By Rhonda Spivak, November 17, 2010

I had the opportunity the other day to visit the Portsmouth [125 Portsmouth Blvd] for my first very time (in fact, I was there for such a long time that some of my friends wondered if I had decided to rent a suite!).

About half of the people who live there (with an average age in the middle 80’s) are Jewish. There are more women than men (which is a function of the fact that women live longer than men on average).  That means, if you are reading this and you know of a Jewish male in his 80’s, tell him to check out the Portsmouth as a potential residence—it will be a great way to meet Jewish women !   As an inside, there are also couples who live at the Portsmouth. (I forgot to ask if anyone has ever gotten married at the Portsmouth).

During my visit, I was struck by the fact that there was a nice sense of community at the Portsmouth with a friendly staff. The stylish building has many sunny common spaces, such as a fireside bistro lounge where a newspaper, fresh muffins and coffee are available. There’s a senior-friendly fitness room, and a grand dining room featuring a fireplace and soaring ceilings. My personal favorite room is the inviting library, with a large arched window, lots of light and a classic feel to it. Not far away there was a computer room—and I am told that about 20% of the residents are computer savvy. (I forgot to ask how many of them use facebook ). 

There is also a cards room (I can see in my mind many former Massad Campers sitting around in their senior years playing cards in it—cards after all, is considered to be a favourite sport at Camp Massad). There’s a great games room, where residents can gather to play bingo, scrabble, etc.... There’s even a shuffleboard. The movie theatre has comfortable chairs with an old style popcorn making machine.  There is an arts room with classes on painting and or crafts and there are  bridge clubs,  poker clubs, walking clubs and an avid readers club—so many things to make a thriving social community.

In October, for example, there were classes on guacamole making ( I should have stayed for that. My guacamole skills need improvement.)

The day I visited there was an afternoon concert with the Senior Choral Society. What a great way to spend the afternoon.  (I kept on thinking that there’s no one at my house who serenades me after my lunch). Speaking of lunch—the lunch I had was very tasty, and I am told that anyone who doesn’t like what’s on the menu can always be offered alternative choices.

In October—there was a Go to Japan day (with a Japanese kimono presentation in the games room, Japanese cuisine etc), a Go to Ireland Day [Since I have never been to either of those places, I wanted to stay…until I remembered that I had to be home by the time my kids got home from school.]

In fact when I told my cousin Stuart Carroll [former Winnipegger who lives in New Jersey], age 50, about all of the activities at the Portsmouth he said excitedly, “How old do I have to be to get in there? To be clear, there is no minimum or maximum age.

All kidding aside, many seniors choose to live at the Portsmouth because they can be more independent and carefree than they otherwise could be if they were to have to manage on there own. Their children do not have to worry about them in the same way as they would otherwise. There is weekly housekeeping, bed changing and linen laundering, and 24 hour a day staffing. The shuttle bus service is for shopping trips, activities (such as going to the theatre, or symphony) and also medical appointments. There are even regular trips to the Gwen Secter centre.

The Portsmouth overlooks an expansive park, where seniors can stroll. During the winter, many residents can get their exercise by walking the halls of the building.

The one bedroom, two bedroom, or studio suites at the Portsmouth are all different and unique, which makes everything feel personalized and not institutional.   The suites are all tastefully designed, in a variety of floor plans with lots of natural light, and equipped with the latest safety features designed to meet the needs of seniors.  There is also an emergency call bell system in the bedroom and washroom. The ground floor suites feature walk out patios, while others have large bay windows. The facility is a smoke free environment and even allows appropriate pets (one resident has a little dog who gets lots of attention from the other residents—my own dog “Shmoo” would love it in there).

Portsmouth Retirement Residence also has a well appointed guest suite for the convenience of family and friends, and a private dining room  for the use of  residents, which can also be rented complete with catering services.

The Portsmouth advertises as the “best kept secret in Tuxedo.” Well guess what—with the publication of this article, it will no longer be a “secret.”

Feel free to forward this article to anyone you know.

Anyone wishing to get more information on this can call 204 284 5432 and ask for Patricia or Verdie (both of whom I have met and are a pleasure to deal with)  or email [email protected]

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.