Wine on the Porch: Toronto couples explore new concept in co-housing for active and creative aging

At first glance it simply a gathering of friends over dinner and drinks.

But what you don’t know is longtime friends Douglas and Mardi Tindal, Ted and Hillary Addie are all living together under one roof exploring a new concept in co-housing.

“It began as a joke, and it’s the kind of joke that apparently everyone has shared at some time with a friend, ‘Oh, we should buy that house and retire together.’ And then one day we said, ‘Are we serious about this?’” Douglas said.

And they were serious, because for the last year, the couples have been living together. And while doing so, decided to co-found Wine on the Porch – exploring a new concept in co-housing for active and creative aging.

“I’ve loved the idea from the start, “ Mardi said. “In part because I see vibrant seniors having fun together in community and I see other seniors who if they don’t do something like this, become isolated and at risk.”

“There are some people who are fascinated and who gravitate to the idea of living with other people,” Ted said. “And there are other people who just can’t imagine it.”

They may be a foursome now, but not for long. The couples plan to convert their home into a space that will house up to a dozen people.

“We’re looking to share a house as six units or people if you will,” Mardi said. “Six couples or singles.”

“There has to be a lot of respect that goes on for each other and we all have lives,” Addie added.

“If one night you don’t want to eat with the group – you don’t.”

The communal home is located in a lovely downtown Toronto neighbourhood – which includes both private living areas and common space where people aged 50-plus people can support each other as they age.

“When you have only an institutional option to look at and you actually look at the costs of retirement homes and how those monthly fees tend to increase by three per cent a year, this is a much more affordable option,” Mardi said.

“It takes time to grow old together,” Douglas said. “You have to come together when you still have a lot of energy, when you still have the desire to make friends and to build a community.

“So, we’re trying to build a community that is robust and resilient while we’re still robust and resilient.”

You can contact the couples at [email protected]

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