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Villa Marconi



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This article was originally published in the July 2001 issue of Il Postino. Click here for an update on Villa Marconi.
Villa Marconi: An Italian-Canadian Landmark
By Laura D’Amelio
Villa Marconi, a long-term care centre for aging Italians.

Down on Baseline Road the sounds of construction and a steady flow of visitors are making life exciting for workers, volunteers and residents at Villa Marconi. A lot is going on at this building that has become an Italian-Canadian landmark.

In late 1989 and early 1990, a group of local Italian professionals began to show concern for the seniors in their community and discussed the necessity of a facility that would address the seniors’ needs. Simultaneously, the Ontario government announced the creation of 600 additional nursing home beds to be distributed solely to non-profit multicultural organizations.


Volunteers were quick to react. They assessed the need and support for a nursing home project for the Italian community, incorporated the project under the name “Villa Marconi” and submitted a 300-page application to the Ontario Ministry of Health. By August of 1990 Villa Marconi Inc. was awarded a licence for 60 nursing home beds.

But where would the new organization put these beds? A site had to be chosen, design and construction had to take place, and a financial plan had to be established before the project could progress. The initial work took five years to complete.

In 1995, the Convent of the Holy Cross – a simple building made of yellow brick – was purchased for $3.45 million. The convent, which had a chapel, large kitchen and large community hall, was built in 1956 on eight acres of land. Facing the experimental farm, with an apple orchard on its grounds, the building sitting at 1026 Baseline was a peaceful and modest beginning for Villa Marconi.

In March of 1995, Villa Marconi Inc. put a down payment of $250,000 on the building. They started a major campaign to raise the $500,000 dollars needed to take possession of the building in September. The group was successful; a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on September 17, 1995.

Fundraising continued and the building, now called Villa Marconi, was used as a social and recreation facility to help raise the money needed to update it. While the large spaces of the building were in good condition, renovations had to be made to meet provincial nursing home regulations. Rooms and halls had to have specific dimensions and facilities for cleaning and other functions had to be added.

In 1997, Villa Marconi got a visit from Ontario Premier Mike Harris and an infusion of money from the province to the tune of $2.4 million. Later, the region of Ottawa-Carleton gave $1 million towards the project.

The money was in place, but there was still more to be done.

next page 2. Building a Home

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