From her apartment on the west side of Vancouver, Eleanor looks over her part of the world. And what a lovely view it is: parks and gardens and other apartments, and people of all ages going about their lives. She’s lived there for the past year and a half in a seniors’ residence; part of the Arbutus Walk community developed on the former Carling O’Keefe brewery site. It’s an ideal location for Eleanor and the other seniors.
“We go for little walks through the streets and there are benches in the parks so you can sit and watch the children. If we want to feel part of the city we just walk down to Broadway. There’s always a throng there.”
Eleanor celebrated her 90th birthday last September, and while the vibrant senior likes to get out and about - she regularly takes the bus down to her old neighbourhood, Kerrisdale - she also loves the simple pleasures of home. Knowledge Network is part of that, and has been for decades.
Eleanor and her late husband, Gerard, began watching Knowledge when it first started offering evening programs in the 1980s. Over the years they enjoyed much of the programming, from documentaries and history to music and mysteries. Although never a big traveller - she likes her creature comforts too much - Eleanor has loved learning about other countries and the natural world on Knowledge.
“I think it’s wonderful that the world is open to us through these cameras,” she says. “You always know you’re going to see something interesting when you turn it on.”
Before his decline and death, Eleanor and Gerard drew up their wills and decided to leave half of any remaining wealth to carefully selected groups in their chosen categories of health, environment, world aid, social welfare and culture.
“For culture, Knowledge was a natural choice since it offered a feast for the mind and senses year-round in its program schedule,” says Eleanor. “We felt fortunate to have such a channel available to us, free of the usual timewasting advertisements.”
Eleanor hopes that any contribution she makes will help ensure that Knowledge continues in the future. “Our world is changing so much and so rapidly, I think it’s important that there’s something we can hang onto through our lives, like Knowledge. I just wish it had existed when I was young!”