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PURSUIT: Newmarket Seniors' Meeting Place a hub of activity

From drop-in programs to live music nights, 'there's something here that somebody will enjoy,' says recreation programmer
The Newmarket Seniors' Meeting Place offers a variety of activities and programming.

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

And for the local 55-plus crowd, that’s the Newmarket Seniors’ Meeting Place.

Since the centre opened its doors 30 years ago, it has offered seniors in town a wide range of programming that provides a number of physical and educational benefits. More importantly, the meeting place offers its members company and friendship.

The 1,000 members have access to a large number of facilities and perks. There are games rooms equipped with darts and pool tables, a lending library for books and puzzles, lounge areas, arts and crafts rooms, a woodshop, a kitchen for lunches and catered events, and a large patio for barbecues. All of this is in addition to the many drop-in programs available, like shuffleboard, chess, sewing, art classes and more.

Jason Malone is the recreation programmer at the Newmarket Seniors’ Meeting Place. He has seen first-hand how beneficial the programs are to the members. Furthermore, with so many members between the ages of 55 and 100, a solid variety of programming is required to meet everyone’s needs.

“We have about 40 drop-in programs a week. We’re offering over 60 registered programs in a session. And then we also have a lot of bus trips and information seminars that are on issues that the seniors want to be aware of,” said Malone.

Another exciting aspect of the centre are live music nights. They invite local bands from the Greater Toronto Area and larger tribute bands to entertain the members in an environment that is a little more controlled than a concert venue or a bar.

“Right now, it’s six times a year, and we’ll easily have 150 to 200 people come in to enjoy a live music night with friends. So, it’s a pretty rockin’ time, and everybody has a really good time,” said Malone.

June is Seniors Month, which makes now a great time to join. The meeting place has a full slate of events planned in celebration, including a performance by a popular Toronto band called The Pepper Shakers on June 8. There will also be Friday night social dances and an event on stroke prevention and recovery. Malone also intends to participate in the York Region Pride parade.

Membership for the Newmarket Seniors’ Meeting Place is just under $37 for the year. This one-time fee gives members access to all of the available programs with no extra charges. Becoming a member comes with the added bonus of a reduced rate for special events.

Another option for seniors is to purchase a rec pass. Anyone 55 and older can pay a monthly fee of $32.50 to gain access to not only all of the fitness and wellness classes at the seniors’ centre, but also all of the exercise facilities at the Magna Centre and the Ray Twinney Recreation Complex. This includes the swimming pool, skating rink, and gym. It’s a great way to stay in shape at a more affordable price.

The rec pass can be put on hold at any time for those who won’t be needing it for an extended period of time, and the membership at the Newmarket Seniors’ Meeting Place can be cancelled and resumed at any time with no fee.

There is also a trial option for any seniors who may be on the fence about signing up for a membership.

“When it comes to the drop-in programs, the people can come in and participate for up to three times for free,” said Malone, “and if after three times they know they want to continue, then they’ve got to purchase a seniors’ meeting place membership in order to continue to participate.”

Malone encourages anyone interested in joining to drop by the building to get more information from the staff. It’s also a public space, so anyone is allowed to pop in and look around.

Malone believes the meeting place is a great opportunity for any senior in Newmarket looking to try something new.

“I really just think people need to come in and check the place out, because we have such a wide range of programs,” he said. “I can guarantee you there’s something here that somebody will enjoy, and on the off chance that they didn’t find something, we’re always open and looking for new opportunities.”

At the end of the day, everyone is just glad you came.