Simcoe County’s new $80 million senior lifestyle community sets new standard for province


            Pilon Salter Architecture designs Penetanguishene project

Barrie Construction Report special feature

Simcoe County in central Ontario will soon welcome its first residents to Georgian Village, a new adult lifestyle community specifically for seniors. Opening in Penetanguishene in  fall 2013, this unique and innovative campus will be home to both active seniors and long term care residents.

The $80 million project replaces an existing long-term care home, originally built in 1957, and delivers new retirement and active-lifestyle opportunities to seniors.

The village sets a new standard for seniors’ care in the province. It includes 40 life-lease apartments, 17 single storey two-bedroom life-lease garden homes, 40 affordable housing rental apartments, 42 assisted living rental apartments, and 143 state-of-the-art long-term care beds.

Architect Gerry Pilon of Pilon Salter Architecture says the campus provides seniors with a full range of independent living options with transition to care and supported living, and then long term care. “The idea for the campus is to provide a continuum of care so residents can come and stay, picking from the unique menu of support services when and as they are needed.”

Front Entrance
Front Entrance

Though the garden homes are separate units within the campus, all of the other housing components are connected and linked to a central village which will form the community’s hub. This village concept will be open to Penetanguishene’s community-at-large, bringing it additional life and vitality, and will include a seniors’ centre, a village medical centre with doctors, a pharmacy, adult day centre, lounges, a salon, café, library and other retail spaces.

Garden Homes

Pilon, whose team started designing the project in 2006, says Salter Pilon has done all of Simcoe County’s long term care design work over the past 20 years, developing something of a specialty, but adds this project was not a cookie cutter to anything done before. “We did a lot of listening to understand the needs and vision of the county,” he said. “We took trips out to see other models to note what worked and what didn’t to develop a model that made sense. Then we took it to the market for an assessment to make sure we had something people were actually interested in.”

GV Rendering

The community is crafted of stone with integrated landscaping, abundant glazing and natural light, setting a balance of modern design, clean lines and familiarity. “You always have to think about who you’re designing for and appeal to their comfort level,” Pilon said.  “Here we have tried to create a subtle balance between classic and modern design.”

Each community component has its own identity, with distinctive outdoor spaces and courtyards, but residents are able to connect through shared spaces with activities such as bocce ball and shuffle board.

The project has been designed be the first in Simcoe County to achieve LEED Silver certification for this type of community.  Sustainability will be achieved through subtle and undetectable elements including naturalized storm water management through landscaping and gardens. “We used natural light and ventilation, recycled materials, low VOC material, energy efficient heating and cooling systems and a good building envelope to achieve the points we needed.”

Nurse's Station
Nurse’s Station

Pilon said the designers are pleased with what they have accomplished. “On any project there is compromise between what you would ideally like to do and what budget and time will allow,” he said. “In this case, when all is said and done, we achieved much of what we set out to and ultimately provided a positive community environment.”


The individual housing units are scheduled for September 2013 occupancy while the project’s long-term care component is expected to open in October.

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