A jam-packed week of activities begins today to celebrate Seniors Week, June 6 to 12.

It's been a few years since we've been able to celebrate it in person, and that time has been used to transform the week. There are several new events and event sponsors.

"We're excited because we can get together in person again and so we've got a bunch of community-wide events going on this year," says Hillary Cornelius Stormon, the town's community liaison and programmer for older adults, "A bunch of different organizations in town have stepped up to host events, so we're excited that this is a community-wide celebration."

While it is in-person, she says they've added some options for people who have safety concerns and aren't ready to get back together with larger groups of people. 

Today it kicks off with a sold-out viewing of the film "Bridges of Madison County" at the Cochrane Movie House. All 150 tickets sold out quickly when the showing was announced by Dan Kroffatt and Bill Gibbons on May 6.

The first afternoon at the movie last year also sold out and is being included as part of Seniors Week for the first time.

"Within 10 days, we had 150 seniors signed up, so there's a terrific appetite for our seniors to get out and do things."

He's hoping it will become an annual seniors week event.

Seniors on the Bow (SOTB) and SLS Family Sports Centre are both doing a variety of drop-in events throughout the event, and the library is hosting lemonade and lawn games.

Stockmens will be presenting "Home is Where the Hill is" which will provide a glimpse of the history of the Big Hill area.

Michelle Everett, SLS Family Sports Centre sales and marketing manager, says they didn't hesitate to become involved when approached. They are offering a different free event each day from Monday to Friday.

"We get a lot of seniors in our centre and we want to do what we can to add to this special week and get more seniors out," she says. "We're encouraging people to come out, hopefully, meet new people and see their friends, and have something free to come to. Some of these people have probably tried some of these things and are members here, but they'll be new people, too."

There's a pair of fundraisers at SOTB. A spaghetti lunch is being held Friday at the centre, located upstairs in the SLS Family Sports Centre. A Saturday night dance features the Hippocratic Oath Big Band. Proceeds from both will be used to support seniors' programming.

On Saturday, seniors can drop by the Family and Community Support Services office, 209 2nd Ave. W. (blue Homestead Building) from 1:30 to 3 p.m. to enjoy some MacKay's Ice Cream. Quantities are limited and there's a chance to win prizes.

It wraps up Sunday at 2 p.m. with a Senior Stroll along the Bow, being led by acclaimed Cochranite Martin Parnell, the Marathon Man. Refreshment and muffins are being provided. It's a casual walk from the rec centre to the old bridge and back.

Dan Kroffat, a senior himself, approached FCSS with the idea of the stroll.

"I think it provides the community the opportunity to get together and meet each other," he says. "It's been a hard two years with COVID and I think these outings when where we can get our seniors outdoors are going to benefit them a lot."

Cornelius Stormon says several private events are also being held to celebrate the week.

Throughout Seniors Week, COLT, Cochrane's transit system, is offering free transportation for all passengers age 60+. Riders need to download the Ride COLT app, visit ridecolt.ca, or call 403-851-5995 to book a trip up to one week in advance. Use the coupon code "senior."

While most of the events are on a drop-in basis, some require advance registration. You can find full details on registration and the week's activities by clicking here.

Did you know?

According to the 2021 national census, Cochrane had 6,015 people ages 65 and over and they represented 19 per cent of our population. Of those, five were 100 years and older.

Our seniors population is expected to grow 300 per cent in 30 years.