Places and Faces: Gathering Older Adults’ Stories of Connecting, Belonging, Placemaking in Thunder Bay

What is the Project?

We are seeking applications from 7 older adults who want to share a story about a favourite place you sought out during the pandemic or a meaningful place that you enjoy today. Each storyteller will produce a 2-4-minute multimedia video called a digital story.

Our Age BIG team has spearheaded the GIANTs digital project story series. Thunder Bay older adults 58 to 98 created digital stories that have been seen in classrooms and at conferences around the world. To view the GIANTs stories go to

PLACES & FACES storytellers will meet other interesting people and make memories! Your video, with your permission, will be showcased by the Thunder Bay Museum to help others consider seeking out places that help them connect in their community.

You can also participate in this exciting project by submitting a poem, short story (300 words or less) or recipe that speaks to a meaningful place in your life. 

What is the focus of PLACES & FACES?

Our goal is for storytellers to focus on unconventional places that have helped you foster a sense of connection and belonging to your community. This project will compile stories that will inspire peers and educate younger people about how to connect focusing on place. With senior’s centers and other facilities closing during the pandemic, we heard many stories about how older adults engaged in placemaking to overcome barriers to social connection, so stories may include places like:

  • Online: people who have connected to new friends using technology;
  • Grocery store: the solo-living person who engages with shoppers/employees;
  • Portable chair: a person who sets up their chair in a park to chat to people;
  • Laundry room: the person who strikes up conversation with neighbours in the laundry room in their building;
  • Neighbourhood: the neighbour who opened her apartment door to play the piano for her neighbours to listen from their apartments, or a walking route that you discovered in your area;
  • Historic places:  a building that a person worked in or lived in like the former Eaton’s store, a municipal outdoor pool that you helped to build, or a hospital where your children were born.

What is Placemaking?

Placemaking is often concerned with planning, designing, and managing “public spaces in ways that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being.”  Emerging research is now focusing on placemaking as ways that people “transform physical spaces into socially relevant and meaningful places.”  Through this storytelling project, we hope to capture stories that highlight how older adults in Thunder Bay are actively creating and negotiating their sense of place as they age.

What is the goal of PLACES & FACES?

PLACES & FACES is to celebrate and learn from the storytellers by giving you a platform to share.  We’ll gather and share your stories to inspire others, young and old alike, to find or create places and connections that matter.  We’ll help you ever step of the way but the final story that you choose to share is your story. 

Who do I contact for more information?

Nancy Angus, [email protected] or 807-627-3564

Dannielle Pesheau at [email protected] or 807-623-0801 ext.116

This project is funded by the Government of Ontario

Government of Ontario