More Than Retirement Homes: How PARC’s Community Outreach Is Benefitting White Rock

in Community Connections

Written by PARC Retirement Living

Rainer Muller

PARC Retirement Living has been making quite a splash in White Rock of late.

In addition to opening the brand-new Oceana PARC in September, PARC has also given a historic landmark and the local hospital each a big boost in fundraising. And then there are the other community initiatives that continue to grow and prosper thanks in part to sponsorships via the retirement residence company. All of which perfectly complements a city in the midst of a revitalization.

Indeed, since launching in 2001, PARC has built a reputation for not only designing award-winning resort-style senior living properties, but also connecting with communities at large to help improve and enrich lives of all ages, preserve and promote art and culture, and create lasting legacies.

Here’s a closer look at what PARC has been up to in the White Rock and South Surrey area.

Oceana PARC Lobby area

Senior Residence Turned Charity Venue

A main sponsor of the Chefs for the Pier fundraising dinner, PARC stepped up to host the September 12th event at its recently completed Oceana PARC. Paying $300 each to attend this Friends of the Pier-organized gathering, guests were treated to a night of fine food and wine in the senior living residence’s coastal-themed dining rooms and lounge. Not your typical retirement home, the hotel-like Oceana PARC dazzled all with its modern design and thoughtful decor.

Residents in the lounge area

The culinary-star-studded evening saw 12 chefs, including former CBC Dragons’ Den host Vikram Vij (My Shanti), former Top Chef Canada winner Matthew Stowe (JOEY Restaurants), Jan Wait (Jan’s on the Beach) and Oceana PARC’s very own Shaughn Halls, serve up a variety of small plates to a few hundred community-minded diners.

Celebrity Chefs at Chefs for the Pier

Among the dishes were Vij’s tandoori-torched crab claw with spicy yogurt, micro coriander, and charcoal paratha, and Halls’ sabich – an Iraqi-Jewish combo of roasted eggplant, hummus, tahini, vine-ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions, finished with pickled mango, zhoug, and quail eggs.

Executive Chef Shaughn Halls sabich

The reception-style gala raised $85,000, which PARC Retirement Living owner and founder Rainier Müller generously topped up to a cool $100,000

Re-opened to the public on August 27, White Rock’s iconic wooden pier was severely damaged in a 2018 winter storm. Estimated to cost $16 million, ongoing repairs include fortifying the 104-year-old structure to withstand future storms. Friends of the Pier hopes to fill the $2 million remaining shortfalls after government contributions have been accounted for.

“PARC’s involvement in a community extends well beyond operating our residences,” says Tony Baena, PARC Retirement Living’s President and CEO, and member of Friends of the Pier.

“Rather, we seek out opportunities to help strengthen and support our neighbourhoods – to improve not only the lives of seniors but of generations to come. The White Rock Pier has been enjoyed by locals and visitors for decades, and we’re happy to help make sure it continues to delight for decades to come.”

Boasting spectacular ocean and mountain views, the 23-storey Oceana PARC is just a short drive away from the world-famous pier on White Rock’s beach-blessed waterfront.

Oceana PARC retirement residence rendering

On Board with Local Services

Contributing to a community’s well-being is a cornerstone of PARC’s business philosophy. By building in vibrant locations with well-developed infrastructure, PARC can then help improve and enhance what is already there for the betterment of residents, staff and all community members.

Earlier this year, the company donated $1.2 million to the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation for a new emergency department. Designed in 1989 to treat 20,000 patients a year, the existing ER is struggling to keep up with White Rock/South Surrey’s more than double annual patient load today.

Peace Arch Hospital $1.2 million donation

Thanks to concerned local citizens and businesses like PARC, funding is now complete for an upgraded ER. The thrice-sized state-of-the-art facility, slated to open in 2020, will be equipped to take care of the region’s rapidly growing population while also luring the best and brightest in the medical profession – boding well for top-tier treatment and innovative research to come.

On the flipside, PARC firmly believes in the holistic health benefits of the arts and that everyone should have access to art experiences. As such, it supports the Semiahmoo Arts Society and its mission to foster art employment, education, and events for White Rock/South Surrey locals and visitors. The charity also hosts established writers in its Readings by the Salish Sea series and helps launch budding artists in the stepping stone Turnbull Gallery. A mere 10-minute drive or half-hour walk away from Oceana PARC, the arts society is sure to attract residents with activities for seniors.

To help create a more inclusive community, PARC also sponsors the Semiahmoo House Society. The non-profit organization provides support, housing options, personal development programs and more to locals with disabilities and their families. PARC feels that by improving individuals’ livelihoods, the society in turn helps make White Rock/South Surrey a more vital community – ultimately touching the lives of PARC residents and staff as well.

PARC Retirement Living managers smiling

A Nod to Local Culture and Cuisine

PARC’s community ties are further reinforced at each of its retirement homes. So while seniors can look forward to living full active lives, they can also count on their residence to reflect local culture, nature, and history, as well as cuisine.

This is especially evident at Oceana PARC, where suites and amenity rooms have been graced with such names as the Salish Sea Dining Room and Semiahmoo Family Room, and works by renowned marine life artist Robert Wyland line the walls.

On the table at Oceana PARC, locally inspired dishes align with the company’s commitment to healthy eating for seniors. Residents can choose from flexible dining options and three dining venues: fine, casual and grab-and-go. No matter where or when they decide to eat though, seniors can expect nutritious and delicious fare prepared by Executive Chef Shaughn Halls.

Hailing from such high-end establishments as Vancouver’s Trattoria and Italian Kitchen, Halls looks forward to providing meals and menu selections on par with popular neighbourhood restaurants. So far, he’s pleased resident palates with a wild mushroom tart, dijon-and-oregano-rubbed lamb sirloin, and roasted eggplant parmigiana.

And for the cherry on top, residents will soon be able to head downstairs to Oceana PARC’s retail section to pick up Swiss desserts, pastries and artisan chocolates from Chez Christophe’s newly opened second location. Just another way that PARC is looping in local culinary talent!