Your Donation Matters to Bill and Iris

Give a gift and brighten the lives of these two special Veterans

Life has been an adventure for 100-year-old Bill Thomson and his wife Iris, 98.

For Montreal-born Bill, it was love at first sight for Iris, a British beauty.
For Montreal-born Bill, it was love at first sight for Iris, a British beauty.

For starters, Bill has a bridge named after him in the Dutch city of Genemuiden. It’s in honour of the brave Canadian soldiers who helped liberate the Netherlands in 1945. As a young sergeant, Bill was the first to cross it in an armored vehicle looking for German landmines.

As for Iris, she worked as a decoder in the ultra-secret Bletchley Park during WWII. To this day, when asked about her time working for the British intelligence, she offers a “never you mind” response.

Their love-story began at a military dance in England, where Bill was training with the Canadian Army. It was love at first sight. After 76-years of marriage – and a growing family that includes four great-grandchildren – Bill and Iris still haven’t run out of things to talk about.

Though they had to leave their home in north London a few years ago, they are still together being cared for in the Veterans Care Program at Parkwood Institute. Bill is often overheard chatting to Iris as she falls asleep in their large, sunny room overlooking the grounds that back onto Westminster Ponds.

For these two gracious Veterans, Parkwood Institute feels like home. Iris loves socializing with staff and new friends as she takes part in activities like pottery and tea parties. And Bill never misses the live musical entertainment.

“Dad was always the chatter box,” says Jill, Bill and Iris’ daughter. “But interestingly enough, once mum got into Parkwood she became the social butterfly. She waves at everybody and says, ‘nice to see you!’”

It’s a relief and comfort for Bill and Iris’ family to see how happy they are, continuing to share adventures together in Parkwood Institute’s home-like environment. It’s also a place that meets all their needs – mind, body and spirit.

Decades of donor support to Season of Celebration has given Veterans a safe and meaningful place to call home. This includes ceiling lifts and specialty mattresses, an outdoor putting green and outings in a fully accessible bus.

Bill and Iris Thomson holding hands
At 100-years-old, Bill finally got the chance to ask his wife Iris to their first prom on Valentine’s Day at Parkwood Institute.

Bill and Iris are just two of the many patients and residents who will be in St. Joseph’s care this holiday season, unable to be with family due to safety precautions around COVID-19.

You can make Christmas more cheerful at a time when it’s needed most. Your gift to Season of Celebration will fund things like upgrading the Veterans' living spaces with new accessible furniture, including over bed tables, power recliners and new sofas and lounge chairs.

Learn how you can support Veterans like Bill and Iris with a gift to Season of Celebration.

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