The Gardens of Haliburton retirement residence officially opened May 1 and is happy with its success, exceeding expectations. Phil McKenzie who is one of three owners, said success is owed to being able to offer retired individuals with a unique opportunity for assisted living. /DARREN LUM Staff

Gardens of Haliburton opens for tours

By Darren Lum

It’s been a few weeks since the Gardens of Haliburton, a retirement residence located on Sunnyside Street near Maple Avenue in Haliburton officially opened its doors to its new residents on May 1, but that hasn’t diminished the enthusiasm felt by Phil McKenzie.

McKenzie, who is one of three partners involved in the multi-million-dollar project, said a market study projected only 10 residents would be calling the Gardens of Haliburton home when it opened.

With 24 residents having moved in among the 31 leased units of the 69 units available currently, the development easily outperformed expectations.

“We were pleased with the response from people in Haliburton,” he said.

He credited this success to Patti Lou Robinson, director of community relations, the beauty of the area, and how residents were looking for a home that provides retirement living service in Haliburton.

“Haliburton didn’t really have a retirement residence that offered this type of service before and so what we certainly found … everyone has a connection to Haliburton and it’s either this was home and for many people they moved to Bracebridge, or Lindsay, or Peterborough, or Huntsville to get retirement resident services and then when they found out that there was going to be a retirement residence in Haliburton then they literally wanted to come home and that is typically what we find,” he said. “About 70 per cent of residents will have called this area home and 30 per cent will have had adult children who call this area home. So, everybody has a connection. It’s just a question of what is that connection.”

Although the work on the development wasn’t shut down during the pandemic, as it was deemed essential and had begun before restrictions were imposed, it did face delays with supply chain issues and workplace COVID-19 protocols.

He adds a current project in Ingersoll, Ont. is currently facing issues for the cost and supply of lumber.

“In the case of Haliburton it was really the social distancing on the construction site and then some supply issues. Most of our building materials had been ordered in advance,” he said.

The social distancing measures also dictated that certain trade workers couldn’t be on the site at the same time, causing close to three months of delays.

McKenzie said the residence is currently waiting on the delivery of different things, such as the reclining chairs for the hairdressing salon and fitness equipment.

Any other year there would be an opening ceremony to acknowledge the efforts of everyone that helped with this development, but this isn’t a typical year with the pandemic and related health safety measures, McKenzie said. He thanked Dysart Mayor Andrea Roberts, the current Dysart council, and past Mayor Murray Fearrey, who played a “huge role.”

“There’s a number of people locally … who were instrumental in getting this done,” he said.

Robinson said the Gardens of Haliburton is an opportunity for people that want retirement services and be close to family and loved ones.

It’s all matter of choosing what fits financially, she said.

“Basically, looking at what their budget is and what the style they like and being able to be here in this community, so family can be close by,” she said.

Suites start close to $3,000 per month for the smaller units and run as high as $5,000 per month.

There are different service plans available from the basic service, which include the independent service plan with monthly wellness checks, three meals daily, seven days a week, snacks and beverages, activity program, the use of the amenities, an emergency response system, weekly housekeeping and weekly laundering of towels and linens. The basic services assisted living service plan adds medication administration, assistance with daily activities, daily light housekeeping, weekly personal laundry and weekly assistance with a bath or shower. There are also the option of an additional service package, and additional services such as guest meals, guest stay, convalescence stay.

McKenzie said there are three main reasons why someone chooses to live in a retirement residence like the Gardens of Haliburton. One, is the convenience of having meals regularly prepared. Two, a need for transportation. Three, the need and opportunity for social interactions.

“Those are things that never really, really change and so for a senior something happens and they realize that they probably shouldn’t live in their home and then you look at what your options are. And when that time comes, we’re a really good option to look at,” he said.

Tours of the facility are available with COVID-19 restrictions.

“People can phone and meet with me, preferably Saturdays and Sundays,” she said.

She adds accommodations can be made for other requests and that Zoom meetings are also available for information.

For more information, visit, or contact Patti Lou Robinson, the Gardens’ director of community relations, at 705-457-4848, or by email at