All Stories

Canadore College leading the way for healthy aging in older adults

Feb 28, 2024 | Cindy Males, Public Relations and Communications Specialist

Linda Coughlin wasn’t looking for new friends when she started coming to The Village at Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario. Forging new friendships turned out to be a pleasant boon of the seniors’ programming.

“I started coming up for exercise,” said Coughlin. “I gave it a chance. It was great because we can all relate to each other. We have a lot of the same experiences and issues. I enjoy that as much as the exercise.”

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Village Collective Impact Project (CIP) received nearly $2 million in funding to distribute to seniors’ organizations to get programming up and running. The project is making a difference in the lives of adults aged 60 and older in the districts of Nipissing and Parry Sound in Northern Ontario. Its offerings include daily exercise classes and walking groups, digital literacy seminars, and a weekly pickleball game.

The CIP’s goal is to reduce the risk of social isolation and increase social participation. The project is working collaboratively with seniors, including Indigenous seniors, their caregivers and families, stakeholders, regional community organizations, and agencies, to develop models of healthy aging and inclusion to improve the health outcomes of seniors.

The Village CIP is hitting its targets, and the data is impressive. It has created a network of 87 organizations across Nipissing and Parry Sound. The most recent statistics from Fall 2023 for the 50 partner organizations that have received CIP funding, show that support is being provided for more than 30,000 seniors. Canadore College, through its programming in The Village, has supported more than 5300 seniors since 2019; 750 participants came through the program every month last fall. That’s more than the CIP projected when it launched four years ago.  

Since the inception of the CIP, close to 1600 students have contributed more than 87,000 hours of on-campus support.

“I believe the secret to our success is that our approach is based on valuing people,” said Micheline Demers, Village Project Manager. “Instead of simply trying to help seniors or help students, we value them. When we value people, we treat them differently. As a result, we build reciprocal relationships and develop programming with the students and seniors leading the way.”

The intergenerational aspect of the program, students working with seniors, is an important element.

“I enjoy participating in programming at The Village because I love making meaningful connections with the seniors,” said Patricia Desrosier, a Social Service Worker student and Community Connector at The Village. “Talking with the seniors, seeing their excitement when students participate in activities, and seeing their smiles warms my heart. There is so much to learn from The Village, and my placement here will help me better work with older adults in the future.”

“I love people. The social aspect is what I like,” said participant Hilda MacLean. “The atmosphere is just so welcoming.”

“Research has shown that social isolation can be harmful to one’s health and can negatively effect qualify of life” said George Burton President and CEO. “We saw a need to bring seniors together to stay healthy and enjoy their lives, and we have done that through The Village Collective Impact Project.”


For more information on The Village Collective Impact Project or to find out about programming for Older Adults, contact us at or by calling  705-498-7662.

#Experiential Learning #Health, Human, Wellness #The Village