Manoir Meril – New retirement residence coming to Portage


J-D Potié

PORTAGE-DU-FORT – A new retirement residence for autonomous people aged
55 and over is coming to Portage-du-Fort and is expected to open this fall. Officially named Manoir Meril, the project’s manager Pierre Jolicoeur told the Journal he plans to host a grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 1.
Jolicoeur will operate the residence with the help of his family and local employees, but Depanneur Thompson’s Edward and Nicole Thompson own the building and leased it to him; the contract begins August 1.
Nicole said they bought the building in June 2020 before conducting the legal process to have it provincially certified as a Résidence Privée pour Aînées (RPA). The objective was to fulfill an important need in the community by providing
a nearby place for Pontiac seniors to live.
With a considerable lack of economic activity in Portage at the moment, Jolicoeur – a Pontiac resident – said it’s important to him to help bring something valuable to an oft-overlooked community and be a catalyst for more businesses to
establish themselves.
Jolicoeur operated a number of retirement residences in Ontario – Kitchener, Waterloo, and Brantford – during the 1990s, before retiring and becoming a successful author and poet known as Bajatel. He said he long yearned to return to
the workforce and his passion of helping others was the motivation to press pause on his retirement.
Located at 37 chemin Calumet in Portage, in the former location of an Italian restaurant that closed several years ago, the new residence will feature eight living spaces, along with a large dining room, living area, and activity lounge with an auditorium.
Renovation work began in March, but Jolicoeur said the planning phase has been in the works for more than a year. The building was completely gutted and refurbished with modern amenities, including electric car charging stations in the
parking lot.
With construction crews still on hand for the final phases of the project, the
residence is inching closer to reality. Various local contractors have been doing
the work including Réjean Lance Construction, Pontiac Electrical, and Palmer Plumbing.
The residence was initially supposed to open August 1, but progress was delayed a month due to COVID.
Nicole said opening day will be the culmination of a lot of hard work, time and dedication, but at the same time, the end is no more than the launch of a new chapter. “The nice part is just starting,” she said, adding that the project will also
create a number of local job opportunities.
Jolicoeur is currently awaiting final provincial approvals to allow people to solicit the project’s rental units.
As for the future, the plan is to expand the building by adding a 16-unit wing once residents are settled and operations are running smoothly.