Senior's group comes up with the cash to pay for a second Exercise Station - this one in Central Park

By Pepper Parr

November 18th, 2022




Central Park will be the home of new Seniors Exercise Stations and Social Space.

The exercise stations will have workout equipment that is built for seniors. In between gentle workouts, the seniors can rest and socialize at the seating benches under the shade of trees.

This project was made possible by a donation from the Burlington Seniors Community Programs and Services Inc. (BSCI). The BSCI donated the first Seniors Exercise Stations and Social Space in Burloak Waterfront Park in 2020. The success of that project prompted the decision by BSCI to build a second one in Central Park close to the Seniors Centre and the library.

The shaded location, in view of the children’s play equipment, so seniors can watch their grandchildren while exercising themselves and is also strategically surrounded by the Library, Music Centre, Arena and especially important, the Seniors’ Centre.

The Central Park project   will take place in two stages:

Construction of the concrete pad space in November/early December 2022

Installation of the exercise stations in April 2023.

Connie Price, the lead on this initiative, said: “All of the equipment has been especially chosen for seniors, to help them maintain mobility, strength and balance, as well as assisting with rehabilitation after injuries or operations. Its benefits have been proven at Burloak Lakeside Park. by the amount of usage by the public visiting the park, as well as The Passion for Parkinsons Foundation relocating their weekly Parkinsons in the Park Exercise Program to be able include this equipment. The response from the Parkinsons patients and their Physiotherapist Team have been extremely positive.”

Price added: ” I can’t say enough about how great it has been working with Peggy and the other City staff.  After three years we finally got to where we are.  She has been working so hard to get the pad installed before frost so that once cured, the three benches can be  installed for winter use, which was her idea.”

In its media release the city said: “The City of Burlington is very grateful of the generous donation from the BSCI. It will be a huge contributor to helping the Burlington seniors stay active and healthy.”

This project came about due to the hard work put in by a few people who had to convince the Parks and Recreation people that this was a good idea. Despite being invited to the meetings to get this project going, Parks and Recreation staff never did attend.

It was when the group happened upon a Landscape Architect who worked for the city and saw the value in having recreational equipment geared to seniors that things began to happen.

Connie Price

Burlington Seniors Community Programs and Services Inc. (BSCI) is an interesting organization.  At one time they ran The Bistro at the Seniors’ Centre and proved to be very efficient and profitable. The current executive includes:

Fred Hendriks- President
Penny Hersh – Vice-President
Connie Price- Treasurer
Mary-Lou Fenbow- Secretary
Jim Rennie- Director
Ralf Kuehnel – Director

When the group that was responsible for what happened to the BSCI funds found they couldn’t get any traction with Parks, Recreation and Culture they happened upon Peggy Lei, who is a Landscape Architect, overseeing Parks Design and Construction in the Engineering Department.  The result is going to be an additional exercise equipment location

Regional Chair Gary Carr and Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward give the equipment a workout

When the Parks and Recreation department decided to take over The Bistro the BSCI was told to pack up and took their profits with the m  -some $180,000  which wasn’t exactly chump change.

Burloak is a quieter park – a place to visit and reflect and have good conversations with friends. There is a very good playground as well

The BSCI has used those funds to pay for recreational equipment intended for seniors.  Their first step in this direction was paying for the exercise equipment at the east end Burloak Park – a location that equals what Spencer Smith provides.

The result is going to be an additional exercise equipment location.



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5 comments to Senior’s group comes up with the cash to pay for a second Exercise Station – this one in Central Park

  • Penny Hersh

    Perry, you should also be aware that the Chef was hired by BSCI. The first thing the city did when they took over was to hire him.

    Presently, the only thing the volunteers are able to do is to sell coffee, tea and rewrapped bought cookies, muffins and butter tarts. The Bistro is open from Mon-Thurs. 10am-2pm. Friday – Self- Serve Coffee til noon.

    When BSCI ran the Bistro it was open 8:30am-3:30pm – Monday-Friday, offering fresh made to order sandwiches, a hot meal entree, home-made soups, fresh baked scones, cookies, brownies, fruit breads etc. at very low prices.

    The kitchen at the Centre was redesigned with all stainless steel cabinets and countertops, and 2 new safer commercial stoves, and commercial toaster. We equipped the kitchen with everything needed to operate the kitchen properly. This was paid for by BSCI.

    BSCI provided the electronic menu board and microphone system to make the food service more senior friendly. This kitchen can rival any restaurant and it is being unused.

    BSCI provided equipment for the popular program BREAKFAST AT THE BISTRO, chafing dishes, frying pans, electric griddles.

    This kitchen and equipment remains totally intact.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the “Boutique Ladies” who generously donated money to BSCI from the sales of their knitted and sewed garments.

    The city in its most current information bulletin indicated” that it is the hope that by February 2023 it might be possible to start up slowly, dependent on participation levels and staff ”

    The Winter Adult Program Booklet has limited programs with many not taking place at the Burlington Senior Centre. No Choir, very few Bridge classes.

    The question then becomes will there be enough people in the building to justify opening the Bistro five days a week from 8:30-3:30 and provide a full complement of food?

    The once vibrant Senior Centre which was the envy of all the other Municipalities has become an empty shell of its former self.

    Covid did play a part, however, what is the excuse now?

    • We believe the Bistro as it was, was a very important and very necessary part of Seniors regular access to good wholesome food that goes by the wayside when you suddenly find yourself on your own and don’t feel like cooking for one. What happened to our Seniors programme that those like Penny have worked so hard to ensure it over and abundantly met Burlington seniors needs, is a darn shame and we doubt it will ever get back to what it was. What a waste of the monies and effort that went into that top class kitchen that could have continued to do good for our seniors community,

  • perryb

    Not only that, but the very successful Bistro was shut down for no good reason – or at least nothing that was stated. Make-work for City staff?

  • Penny Hersh

    The best thing BSCI did was to take control of these funds. For those seniors who felt the money should have been given back to the city I would like to ask if the City would have done what we have done.

    Over the years we have – Donated funds to help install the heated bus shelter located near the Music Centre.

    – For 2 years we brought seniors together by phone. The project was called Senior Centre Without Walls. We provided interesting and relevant subjects that connected seniors by phone. This was done years before the City decided to connect with Telepals during Covid. We realized that in order to continue this program it needed to have paid staff. It was for this reason we decided to close it down.

    – When Covid started with the help of volunteers who sewed over 3,000 facial masks provided them to those seniors living in subsidized housing. We also provided these masks to the Wellington Square Church’s Meal Program to give to their participants. This was before it was determined that medical masks were more effective.

    – We then provided medical masks by the thousands and surgical gloves for the volunteers preparing and delivering meals at Wellington Square Church.

    -We helped upgrade the kitchen at the Burlington Baptist Church and purchased an additional refrigerator and stove to be able to provide meals for their Circle of Friends Program, which brings together isolated seniors for a meal and program. Transportation was also provided by volunteers. This program did not take place during Covid but has since resumed.

    – We provided funds to restart the Camisole Project that provides information and products and a special camisole to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. This was done when BodyMed the store that handles this project had a flood that destroyed their stock.

    – Donated funds for the first Senior Outdoor Exercise Equipment area at Burloak Park. This area is used by the Parkinsons Group during the summer for their exercise program.

    – Donated funds for this second Senior Outdoor Exercise Equipment area to be installed at Central Park. It is hoped that perhaps this area could be part of an exercise program that is offered to seniors by the City.

  • “When the Parks and Recreation department decided to take over The Bistro the BSCI was told to pack up and took their profits with the m -some $180,000 which wasn’t exactly chump change.” We need to be very grateful to the wise seniors leadership that oversaw the Bistro and ensured the assets generated by seniors were used to give back to the seniors community. This is a totally different scenario to what previously happened to assets generated by a Burlington group of residents that did not have have such wise and considerate leadership.