In 1985, a group of ladies had a dream of building a safe home for Native Elders which would also hire Native employees to look after the Elders.
The ladies who had the vision of a home for elders participated in tag days, had bake sales, hosted bingos and sponsored raffles. This small group of very diligent workers continued fund raising for many years.
The United Native Nation’s (UNN) local was a driving force behind the project. Planning meetings took place once a month with provincial and federal government representatives as well as other agencies.
The UNN raised $75,000 over 4 years. A grant for $100,000 was received from the First Citizen Fund and $75,000 was received from the Native Economic Development Corporation.
In 1989, the BC Ministry of Health announced there would be 100 long-term care beds allocated to Port Alberni. Dave Haggard was a key figure in securing 30 beds for the new Native Elders Home. Otherwise, all of the one hundred beds would have been allocated to another agency.
In 1990 the ground was broken at our facility site on Russell Place and in 1992 Tsawaayuus (Rainbow Gardens) opened its doors.
The first resident to live in the facility was Joshua Edgar from Dididaht. He was 99 years old.