Ernest Winch was born in 1879 in Harlow, England and immigrated to Canada in 1910. He apprenticed as a bricklayer and became active in the trade union movement, eventually serving as president of the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council.
Mr. Winch migrated to politics and became very politically active in his community of Burnaby. He was a co-founder of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1932, the precursor to today’s New Democratic Party. He was elected in 1933 as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) representing the CCF in Burnaby and was re-elected six times, serving until his death in 1957.
Ernie Winch was a tireless advocate for social welfare reforms and for addressing the problems of the aged. In 1943, he founded The New Vista Society to provide housing for convalescing single women with psychiatric problems. He further succeeded in establishing housing for “pensioners and arthritics” and in 1953, he introduced a bill in the Legislature to guarantee the permanence of the New Vista project and to preserve its purpose under a Board of Trustees. By 1957, The New Vista Society had built 125 apartments in Burnaby in 15 buildings at five separate apartment projects. Through his efforts, the low rental New Vista Homes for Senior Citizens was planned, built and inhabited under the directorship of The New Vista Society.
As the demographics and needs of the surrounding population has evolved, so has the focus of the Society. Responding to the needs of the community, The New Vista Society today operates 236-bed Care Home, the Cranberry Cottage Adult Day Program supporting frail seniors living in the community and provides 540 low cost housing units along with support services for seniors and families in South Burnaby.
A commemorative stone and plaque (left) honouring Ernie Winch lies at New Vista’s JS Woodsworth housing complex in south Burnaby. We are proud of our founder’s commitment, and we continue to uphold the ideals of supporting the people in our community who need our help.
New Vista Society Timeline
New Vista Society Founded
The New Vista Society was founded by Ernie E. Winch, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) representing the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) to provide housing for convalescing single women with psychiatric problems he further succeeded in establishing housing for “pensioners and arthritics”
In the Beginning
Between 1943 and 1956 The New Vista Society built 125 apartments in Burnaby. There were 15 buildings in five separate apartment projects. One of these apartment projects, which opened in 1956, the Lambert House, had eight bachelor and four one-bedroom suites. All the suites were designed for wheelchair access and had ground floor entry. The New Vista Society had established a strong base in providing responsible effective housing for seniors.
Winch Tower Constructed
Ernest Winch Tower a 14-storey high-rise, located in the south Burnaby neighbourhood of Edmonds, is built. Winch Tower features 146 bachelor apartments and 28 one-bedroom apartments of social housing for low-income seniors.
Vista Place Tower Completed
2 years after Winch Tower opens, it’s sister tower the Vista Place Tower opens, with an additional 146 bachelor apartments and 28 one-bedroom apartments of social housing for low-income seniors, The towers are home to 404 seniors in our community.
New Vista Care Home Built
In 1975 a personal Care Home with 301 beds was built. Initially the New Vista Care Home was only responsible for providing room and board, and limited care.
Long Term Care Program
In 1978 the Care Home became part of the provincial government’s Long Term Care Program and was designated as a personal care/intermediate care facility. As the needs of the seniors in the community changed, the needs of the Care Home residents changed as well.
Douglas Manor Built
During the Care Home renovations, the New Vista Society continued to build quality housing for seniors. Two apartment projects within walking distance from the care home were built during this time. Douglas Manor seniors’ housing complex was built adjacent to the care home in 1987
Addition of Dementia Care
Between 1989 and 1993 the facility was converted from a personal care/intermediate care facility to an intermediate Care Home. This involved major renovations that resulted in a decrease in the number of beds from 301 to 236. Currently, the Care Home has a special care unit. This is for people with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. There are 23 residents in the program. These residents are given special care and attention in a secure environment that is specially suited to support their needs.
Adult Day Program Begins
Cranberry Cottage opens as a health-oriented, social recreation service that offers a wide range of activities to seniors with chronic health conditions so they can continue living in their homes in the community. Where our health care professionals provide a comprehensive and individualized program for seventeen clients a day. The program is designed to help our clients maintain optimal levels of physical and cognitive functioning, meeting our mandate to alleviate their loneliness, helplessness and boredom.
Grace McInnis Place Built
Grace MacInnis Place, a project designed for seniors’ independent living, was built across the street from the care home in 1994. Douglas Manor and Grace McInnis Place together made room for another 84 seniors to live independently within our community.
JS Woodworth Court Phase I
The New Vista Society opened J. S. Woodsworth Court, a 40-unit social family housing project. This new project also includes four units for seniors.
JS Woodsworth Court Phase II
The second phase of this development opened two years later with a further 38 units for families and seniors.
Margaret Bacchus Manor Opens
Margaret Bacchus Manor opened its doors on April 1, 2001 and is comprised of 39 one bedroom units for seniors. This building now completes the corner and a beautiful courtyard and gazebo were added in 2001 for the enjoyment of the whole campus.
Second Dementia Care Unit
A second Dementia Care Unit opened in August of 2002. This unit is specifically designed and secured for 30 people who have a need to wander, a symptom of dementia. This unit offers opportunity for residents to wander freely, both inside and out, in a secure and supported environment.
Our New Care Home
In October 2014, the New Vista Society (NVS) submitted a business case to build a new Care Home to the Fraser Health Authority (FHA). Approval was given in December, 2015 culminating in the signing of a Project Development Agreement in March, 2016. Construction began in November, 2018 and our new seven floor, 240 bed facility is expected to open in the summer of 2020.
The Towers Renovation
In early 2016, consultative work began on the scope of renovation required for the New Vista and Ernest Winch towers. In late 2018, after years of planning and preparation, BC Housing approved funding for the full renovation scope including new life safety systems, elevators, windows, generators and more. The work began in February, 2019 with expected completion in the summer of 2020.
18th Avenue Development
In June, 2016, a partnership between New Vista, the City of Burnaby, Terra Housing Consultants, NSDA Architects and BC Housing was born. The City of Burnaby supplied the land, NSDA provided the design, Terra Housing is leading the build, BC Housing is helping with the funding and New Vista will operate the building once complete. This new, three story build will offer an additional 25 units to seniors and families and is expected to complete in the fall of 2021.
In September, 2016, discussions began between New Vista, Thind Developments and BC Housing to build 125 units of affordable rental housing on Sussex Avenue in Burnaby. This large-scale project has come to fruition through a unique and timely partnership across the private sector, government and the non-profit sector to respond to an urgent housing crisis in Metro Vancouver. Construction is set to begin in early 2019 with occupancy expected in the fall of 2021.
New Vista plans on continuing to grow! In April, 2016, New Vista brought on Field & Martin (FMA) to assist with an initial Master Plan/Feasibility Review for our Burnaby Campus. Our goal is to ultimately repurpose the site into a concept village utilizing a campus of care, aging-in-place model encompassing Independent Living, Assisted Living and Residential Care. Stay tuned for many new exciting adventures to come!