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ONTARIO: Could a bench combat loneliness in seniors? One small town hopes so

The bench would have a banner to indicate that whoever is sitting is open to a conversation
Stock photo.

THOROLD -- With the completion of Battle of Beaverdams Park slowly on the horizon, Thorold is considering putting a ‘chat bench’ in the park.

“We had been waiting on the prototype of the bench to go up, in Welland,” said Jean D’Amelio-Swyer during Wednesday’s meeting of the Parks, Recreation and Trails committee.

“The Battle of Beaverdams park is going to have several benches I believe and I am wondering if we can get that banner on one or more benches in the park and introduce ‘chat benches’ as part of the unveiling of the Battle of Beaverdams Park.”

'Happy to Chat' benches had their start in England back in 2019. The benches have a banner or card that indicates that whoever is sitting on the bench is open to a conversation. The project was started to combat loneliness amongst elderly people and inspire intergenerational conversation.

Curtis Dray, manager of community services for the City of Thorold, answered that the city would look for a quote for the banner so that the project could hopefully move forward.

Dray also addressed the lagging construction on Battle of Beaverdams Park in Wednesday’s meeting, saying, “There was some delays as we were aware. The plan is, as soon as we can get at it in the spring to get back at it and have it open by June at the absolute latest.”


About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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