Residents of a seniors' home in Wellington, P.E.I., finally started to return home on Thursday after a fire destroyed the inside of the residence earlier this year.
After the fire on Jan.18, Chez-Nous' 47 residents were displaced. Many of them stayed at Mill River Resort before moving into Andrews Lodge in Summerside. Others stayed with their families and in other care centres in Tignish and O'Leary.
Over the past seven months, the home has been rebuilt. Marcel Richard, president of the board that runs Chez-Nous, said it's thanks to community support that the work on the building was able to get done so quickly and residents got to go back to the homes they love.
"It is so beautiful," he said. "Everything is new now, and just to see the faces of all our residents. I couldn't wait to get here to see that because I knew they'd be so happy."
'Just like waiting for Christmas'
Residents of Chez-Nous have been waiting for this day for a long time.
"It was just like waiting for Christmas, counting the days … and finally it came, and everybody was so excited to come back home," said resident Marianne Arsenault.
Arsenault said she and the other residents were well looked after in the other homes they stayed, but it just wasn't the same as being home.
"It's very exciting to see like all the work that's been done and even the decor, how they have fixed it all up and new floors and new everything, and oh my God, it's beautiful."
Rene Richard said his fellow residents at Chez-Nous have been talking about returning home every day since the fire.
"I was quite excited today to come back," he said.
Marcel said he's touched by all the people who have reached out to lend a hand to Chez-Nous' residents in their time of need.
"It was no surprise, when the fire hit, the amount of offers we got and from all walks of life, people just wanting to help. It was overwhelming."
Former residents of Chez-Nous will continue moving in on Friday. Next week, the home will begin the process of welcoming nine new residents to fill rooms left vacant by those who have passed away, or now need more advanced care.