History

Pentecostal home for the aged, that grew and grew

An idea comes together

“I want to give some money to help build a Pentecostal old folks’ home.”

That’s what a visionary woman said in 1955 to a pastor visiting her church.

She had read in the Toronto Star that the provincial government was making loans available to “public-spirited citizens” to develop “low cost housing projects”. And, that visiting pastor was a district superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC). Together, the offers by the churchgoer and the government caused a flurry of action among the PAOC executive and sparked what was to become Shepherd Village.

There were few housing options for seniors in the 1950s and 60s, especially low-cost housing. Many of the facilities that did exist were not well kept and some were even referred to as “the poorhouse”. A burgeoning group of concerned Pentecostal pastors, church members and supporters wanted to create a very different type of housing for seniors. They believed that senior citizens should have a safe, caring and comfortable place to live “their sunset years”.

On March 25, 1957 a group of Pastors and members from approximately 10 Toronto Pentecostal churches came together to discuss what could be done. Over the next year they established a general committee and elected an Executive Board, and planning continued. On October 14, 1958 the Province of Ontario, via Letters Patent, authorized the incorporation of The Pentecostal Benevolent Association of Ontario, which is now known as Shepherd Village Inc.

Breaking ground

The vision of building a home for seniors was becoming a reality — in the form of a farmer’s field in Scarborough. The Board purchased approximately eight acres of land near Sheppard Avenue and Kennedy Road. On April 1, 1961, the facility known as Shepherd Lodge was opened. Over the next 10 years, the Lodge grew from a 30-bed seniors’ home to a 150-bed Home for the Aged (now known as long-term care).

New facilities for new lifestyles

Leveraging the success and stability of the Lodge, Shepherd Village continued to develop new facilities to meet the changing and distinct needs of seniors:

  • In 1976, the Manor was added, featuring 263 one and two bedroom apartments that provided a fully independent retirement lifestyle.
  • In 1991, the Terrace was opened as a retirement residence with 112 private, full-service suites and 60 nursing home beds.
  • In 1999, the Gardens opened its doors to 115 life-lease suites for independent and active seniors.
  • In 2004, the old Shepherd Lodge was replaced with a newly constructed 252-bed long-term care facility.

The development and modernization of our buildings, amenities and grounds continues today. Our efforts are driven by the same commitment and dedication that started it all: a deeply felt duty to care for society’s most vulnerable citizens.

A farm house and barn in the 1950s
Watson farm that became Shepherd Village.
Historical aerial photograph of Shepherd Village property
Early aerial photo of Shepherd Village
Aeriel photo of Shepherd Village buildings and property today
Shepherd Village aerial view now
Black and white photos of the Shepherd Lodge building in the 1960s
Old Shepherd Lodge – west wing