The multi-purpose room at the new Dufferin Villa in Portage la Prairie was packed to overflow yesterday afternoon as the grand opening of the assisted care facility took place. The ribbon was cut to a round of applause with everyone gathered at the front entrance. 

It has 53 units that are currently all spoken for and occupied. It's located behind the Portage Clinic on 9th Street SE, and stands beside Dufferin Avenue.

Several people addressed the crowd, including Mayor Irvine Ferris, RM of Portage Deputy Reeve Garth Asham, and Portage MLA Ian Wishart, among others. 

Al Braun and Vern Crandall spearheaded the effort. Braun shares his thoughts on the impressive crowd. 

"I'm very excited, very proud to be part of a project like this, very impressed and overwhelmed by the turn out of our community and the support of our community," says Braun. "That's so rewarding. So, thank you to our community for their contributions and for turning out today."

Mayor Irvine Ferris says the groundbreaking represents many years of hard work. 

"It's great to see it finally open and see the results of all that work, and it's at capacity. Every room is filled and I understand there's a waiting list. So, obviously, there was a big need in Portage and there's still a need in Portage."

Former Mayor Ken Brennan was also there and greeted everyone. 

"Well, it's great to see the city finally get this facility because we've been wanting it for some time now," adds Brennan. "It's nice to see that we had the right people that rolled up their sleeves, got it done and got it built because they've done an amazing job. It's going to be here forever, so it's fantastic."

MLA Ian Wishart notes he was very pleased to be involved with the announcement. 

"It's something that's just great for Portage," adds Wishart. "We've been looking forward to it for some time. I was involved way back at the start and I'm pleased that it got carried through by the volunteers, the not-for-profit, the board members, and all of the people in the community that donated to make this happen. This is great for Portage and area."

He adds he looks forward to more news about the effort in the future.