Regina seniors' home goes all in on Grey Cup festivities

The Grey Cup spirit is building across the province and is in full swing at one seniors' home in Regina.

Events planned all week, including visits by Rider alumni, cheerleaders and Gainer

(From left) Wendy Mitchell, Laurette Parent, Janson Anderson and Tim Shawenberg all had the Grey Cup spirit this week at Harbour Landing Village in Regina. (Peter Mills/CBC News)

The Grey Cup spirit is building across the province and is in full swing at one seniors' home in Regina.

Harbour Landing Village Senior Living has been putting on events all week in the buildup to the big game on Sunday.

Rider alumni have stopped by to visit the residents, and green and white are everywhere along with giant tin foil Grey Cups.

Even Rider mascot Gainer the Gopher stopped by for a visit.

"We've had a pancake breakfast, a parade, a memorabilia museum," said Harbour Landing resident Tim Shawenberg. "Geez, they just had a pep rally and now there's cheerleaders going on. It's a real football environment."

Some Saskatchewan Roughriders cheerleaders came by Harbour Landing this week. (Peter Mills/CBC News)

The idea for a week-long celebration is the brainchild of Harbour Landing president and CEO Janson Anderson, who is also a hardcore Roughrider fan.

 Anderson said retirement homes don't need to be sedate places.

"There should be something fun to do that people get excited for," Anderson said.

LISTEN | Harbour Landing Village senior home celebrates Regina hosting Grey Cup:
A lot of Rider Nation is still bitter after a brutal season. Excitement for the Grey Cup has been contained... until now. The festivities are officially underway in Regina. There are former Roughrider legends and cheerleaders, there's dancing, green and white everywhere, giant tin foil Grey Cups -- and that's just at one senior's home.

Wendy Mitchell, a senior co-ordinator at Harbour Landing, said the festivities have been great for residents and staff.

"I've been a Rider fan since I've been knee-high to a grasshopper, so for me, this is like living the dream," Mitchell said.

"The Rider alumni interacted with our residents and [the residents] had tons of questions for them."

Harbour Landing resident Laurette Parent said there's been so much Grey Cup activity she hasn't had time to think of anything else.

"It's a great thing to have," Parent said.  "It's been a long time since they've had [a Grey Cup in Regina]."

A Grey Cup memorabilia area was set up for residents. (Peter Mills/CBC News)

Mitchell said these types of special events bring a lot of joy.

"You just see the spark. You see that engagement, that resilience. All of a sudden our residents feel like they're young again," Mitchell said.

The biggest hit of the week was having Gainer come by, said Anderson.

"He's loved basically across the board," he said. "Even though the guy doesn't say anything, it was probably one of the most fun times."

A mascot that is a squirrel wearing a Saskatchewan Roughriders jersey visits with an elderly woman who is seated on a recliner.
Gainer the Gopher was among the visitors to Harbour Landing Villa this week as part of the seniors' home's Grey Cup festivities. (Submitted by Janson Anderson)

Shawenberg said it's been a great week, except for one thing.

"Saskatchewan always likes football, but the only bad thing about the Grey Cup is that Winnipeg is in it."

If the Blue Bombers win a third cup in a row, "we'll never hear the end of it, that's for sure," Shawenberg said.

With files from Peter Mills