Family gives care home residents a special New Year’s Eve fireworks show in memory of their mother

WINNIPEG — Residents at Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg are being treated to a private display of fireworks on New Year’s Eve in memory of one of the residents who died at the centre this year.

Patricia McGarry died in October, and while her death was unrelated to COVID-19, the pandemic meant only four of her six children were able to attend the funeral.

“My mom was a very social person, she loved family gatherings,” said McGarry’s youngest child Martin. “Her own ideas about her own funeral were not what transpired.”

Martin, who is the CEO of Cushman and Wakefield, said when his company heard about his mother’s passing, they wanted to do something special for Riverview Health Centre, where McGarry had been a resident.

Martin said when the idea of a fireworks display was floated, his entire family loved it. Cushman and Wakefield sent out invitations to the staff and residents at Riverview letting them know of the special New Year’s Eve plans in store.

“She was a very adventurous person. She was fearless, very fun-loving, great sense of humour,” he said. “She would just love this.”

No members of the public are invited to the display – Martin said this is meant specifically for the residents and staff at the home only, both of whom his mother spoke very highly of.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” said Sheldon Mindell, the executive director of the Riverview Health Centre Foundation.

Mindell said the centre worked with Archangel Fireworks to make sure every resident on the 25-acre property will be able to see the display from the comfort and safety of their rooms.

He said there will be three separate shows for residents, each in different areas of the grounds to ensure each resident gets a good view.

Mindell said it has been a challenging year for residents who have had the majority of their recreational programming cancelled due to the pandemic.

“They have something to look forward to, which I always believe that’s one of the things (that), if you want to have a good life, you have to always have something to look forward to.”

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