Celebrating 75 Years of Care

In 1945, five members of the West Canada District of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church created the Lutheran Welfare Society that would ultimately become who we are today: Bethany Care Society. While a lot has changed in 75 years, one thing for us has always stayed the same – our dedication to provide the care and love our residents deserve. Join us in a celebration of our past, present and future and explore a timeline of our most important milestones so far.

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Better With Age

Bethany’s 75th Anniversary

For over seven decades, Bethany Care Society has provided the highest standards of care to countless seniors – and that’s worth celebrating!


As we move into an exciting future, we’ve decided to take a moment to celebrate all of the milestones and people that have led us to this important anniversary.

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Celebrating Those Protecting Our Seniors from COVID-19

2020 won’t just be known as the year we celebrated our 75th anniversary – it will be known as the year our dedicated team worked tirelessly to protect vulnerable seniors from the COVID-19 pandemic and were celebrated with our Heroes of Bethany program.


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Expansion of the Young Adult Program (YAP)

On February 4, 2019, Bethany Calgary opened its doors to the Young Adult Program (YAP). Designed for young adults, ranging from 18 to 65, YAP is a ‘home’ that promotes independence and provides a healthy environment for residents and supports them in achieving their individual goals.

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Opportunities for Learning and Growth

In 2018, Bethany Care Foundation received its first grant for intergenerational programming – a unique approach that connects children with older individuals to allows residents and people of all ages and backgrounds to socialize, learn and grow together.


Grand Opening

Bethany Riverview

One of Bethany’s most significant projects to date opened in 2018: Bethany Riverview, a purpose-built facility for those living with complex dementia and for long-term care (LTC).

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Welcoming New Programs and Facilities

2017 saw the launch of two developments: the opening of an Alternate Level of Care (ALC) unit and the launch of Opening Minds Through Art (OMA).


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People of Bethany Campaign Launches

In celebration of our people, Bethany launched an exciting new social media campaign in 2016 called “People of Bethany” that highlighted our residents, employees and volunteers.

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A Partnership With The Rotary Club

Beginning in 2015 – and extending to the present day – Bethany developed an important relationship with the Rotary club. The club’s dedication to our vision resulted in a partnership that has raised over $1 million dollars and made the Rotary Atrium a reality.


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A New Strategic Plan

In 2014, Bethany formulated a clear vision for what we wanted to achieve by 2020 and built a strategic plan. Through community engagement and our special partnerships with the Rotary Clubs of Calgary, Calgary Interfaith Council and Bethany Care Foundation, we would go on to raise over $1 million in donations to fund special programs and build the Campus of Care to provide even more quality care to our residents.



Welcoming a New CEO

After more than 22 years of service, President and CEO Greer Black was replaced by Jennifer McCue in 2014. While building on the momentum and successes of the past, Ms. McCue explored new ways to propel Bethany forward into the future.


Momentum Builds

Completing Projects, Breaking Ground and Investing in Our People and Places

There has never been a dull moment at Bethany. The period between 2013 and 2017 saw us complete a variety of projects, receive and invest significant donations and dedicate resources to our people, places and future spaces.

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The Blessing of Hands Initiative

In 2012, The Pastoral Care department launched the Blessing of Hands initiative, a service of recognition, commitment and blessing for the work we do with our hands. During the ritual, hands are touched with oil by a chaplain, an ancient symbol of blessing, and a prayer is shared with those participating.


A New Era

A New Logo for Bethany

As Bethany continued to evolve and meet the needs of its residents, communities and stakeholders, we turned our focus to our brand – and in 2012, updated it to reflect our mission and the promise it makes.

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Further Expansion

New Decade, New Projects

Bethany has never been one to rest on our laurels. Within the first two years of the 2010s, we were already busy expanding and planning the expansions that would define the next decade.

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Achieving Our Vision

CollegeSide Gardens Opened

Bethany was excited to open a new supportive living community for active seniors after we received two significant provincial grants: CollegeSide Gardens in Red Deer.

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Setting the Stage

Celebration and Development

The end of the first decade of the 2000s saw Bethany work closely to provide the same unparalleled care to the communities it would continue to serve today.

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Red Deer Expansion

Bethany CollegeSide Opens

As the decade continued, Bethany proudly opened the innovative Bethany CollegeSide Care Centre in Red Deer.

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Expansion in Alberta

Bethany Locations Open and Break Ground

After over a year of construction, Bethany’s new location in Sylvan Lake was officially opened.

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An Important Step

Formation of the Bethany Care Foundation (BCF)

In a big step towards safeguarding Bethany’s financial stability, the Bethany Care Foundation (BCF) was established as a separate organization.

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Sylvan Lake and Red Deer

Bethany Selected to Develop New Care Centres

Bethany’s focus on expansion and innovation emerged at the turn of the millennium as we were selected to develop new care centres in Alberta.

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Building Momentum

A Focus on Continued Development

As the 2000s gathered momentum, Bethany did too with unprecedented fundraising, a refocused Mission statement and exciting new partnerships and developments.

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Bethany Opens Riverview Village

Bethany has been lucky enough to be the recipient of many generous gifts throughout our history. In 1999, the Inter-Faith Housing organization donated a 321-unit apartment and townhouse property in Calgary's neighbourhood of Dover that was then integrated into Bethany’s Community and Lifestyles division and renamed Riverview Village.


Life Lease

Sundance on the Green Opens

Bethany changed to a new concept for active seniors at the end of the millennium and opened the home-ownership style residence Sundance on the Green.

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A Dedication to Dementia Care

Bethany Cochrane Opens Brushy Ridge

Bethany’s focus on providing specialized care for residents with dementia continued with Bethany Cochrane opening Brushy Ridge – a wing that was designed to offer enhanced home-style environments for residents with the condition.


A Specialized Focus

Wing Kei Villa Opens

With a newly formed partnership between Bethany and the Chinese Christian Wing Kei Nursing Home Association, Bethany Calgary proudly opened the Wing Kei Villa.

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Continued Evolution

Investing in Ourselves

1997 was an important year for Bethany as we continued to evolve our practice and invested in ourselves through new roles, education and exciting partnerships.

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A Legacy of Caring

An Anniversary, Acquisition and Affirmation

1995 was an important year for Bethany. We celebrated our 50th anniversary and reaffirmed our commitment with an update to our mission statement and acquisition.

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Bethany Airdrie

The Opening of Aspen Road

While our 50th anniversary was in full swing, Bethany Airdrie took a significant step forward that would go on to define many of the following years for Bethany: the opening of a specially designed wing for residents with dementia.

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The Introduction of Music Therapy

While 1994’s best-selling single, “All For Love,” was brought to you by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting, the most important (to us anyway) musical development of the year was the introduction of music therapy at Bethany.

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Big Steps Forward

Fundraising and Faith Education

The early ‘90s saw big changes for Bethany as we decided to begin openly fundraising and established a Clinical Pastoral Care Program. While Lifeline was still popular, the provincial Seniors’ Emergency Medical Alert Program was shut down.

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The Same Standard

Lutheran Welfare Society becomes Bethany Care Society

With nearly five decades having passed since the incorporation of the Lutheran Welfare Society, the time had finally come for a monumental transformation reflected by a new name: Bethany Care Society (Bethany).


Lutheran Welfare Society Governance

R. Greer Black, President and CEO

The ‘90s were a decade of evolution for Bethany’s leadership as they responded to the unique challenges of the era. R. Greer Black stepped into the role of President and CEO and guided Bethany through the decade with success and service.


Lutheran Welfare Society Governance

James E. Kromm Becomes Executive Director

Having joined Bethany only two years previous as Corporate Controller and CFO, James E. Kromm made a quick impact. In 1989, he took over as the Executive Director of the Lutheran Welfare Society.


A Generous Gift

An Anonymous Donation of $1 Million

Thanks to an incredibly generous – and anonymous – donation of $1 million, Bethany was able to purchase the land beside Bethany Calgary for further expansion and growth.


Opportunity Knocks

Expanding Bethany Calgary’s Space

After expanding into Airdrie and Cochrane in the previous years, the attention was turned back to the Bethany Calgary and an exploration of acquiring the city land immediately beside it began.


More Growth

Bethany Cochrane Opens

Less than a year after Airdrie's opening, Bethany proudly expanded into the Cochrane area with a continued focus on the development of the Bethany Towne concept.

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A New Location

Bethany Airdrie Opens

The summer of 1987 was an important moment for the Lutheran Welfare Society. We expanded into Airdrie and opened the first centre outside of Calgary since the 1950s with the Bethel Home in Wayne.

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New Programs, Expanded Monitoring and Recognition

Palliative Care and Enhanced Care

The mid- ‘80s were a time of care and recognition. With the help of Hospice Calgary, Bethany began a hospice and palliative care program. At the same time, Bethany began 24-hour monitoring of Lifeline, increased our focus on Hospice care and was the primary focus on a TV program.

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A Phone Call Away

The Launch of Lifeline

Dignity had always been integral to Bethany’s vision for seniors' well-being, and empowering independence was a vital part of that. With that in mind, the Lutheran Welfare Society launched a new program called Bethany Lifeline that provided independent seniors with an emergency response with just the push of a button.

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New Introductions

An Emblem and a Village

For the first time in years, the Lutheran Welfare Society was not in the process of construction. In the meantime, attention was turned to the creation of a new emblem. Shortly after, expansion became the focus again with Bethany Village.

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The Beginning of Chapel Services

In 1975, two pastors at Bethany Calgary began providing Chapel Service and Bible Study groups – a simple action that would evolve into a holistic, faith-based practice of care.

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A Renaming

Bethany is Born

As the Lutheran Welfare Society entered its fourth decade of service, its vision and reputation for high standards of care remained – but something significant had changed: our name.

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Three Levels of Care

A New Facility With Lodging Opens

The years of expansion were far from over as 1975 saw a significant development: the opening of a new facility that provided accommodation for 150 people and shelter for another 50. The addition of lodging was necessary because it meant that between the seniors' care facilities, auxiliary hospital and lodging, Bethany was able to provide three levels of care – and were the first in Alberta to do so.


Expansion, Focus and Firsts

A Decade of Growth

From the opening of new wings and the dedication of the Bethany Auxiliary Hospital to the very first full-time chaplain, the ‘60s were a time of growth and opportunity.

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New Hires

Evolving the Hospital Team

As the hospital project continued to grow successfully, the team was augmented with the arrival of Mrs. Kay Burvill, who served as A Director of Patient Care from 1957 to 1981.

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A Monumental Year

Openings, Closings and the People That Made the Difference

With Bethel Home closing and the Bethany Chronic Disease Hospital admitting its first patients, 1956 was a big year of change for the society – although one thing remained the same (and would always): the impact made by our staff.

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Revising the Charter

A Necessary Change

To build and operate a new Chronic Disease Hospital, the Lutheran Welfare Society amend the Society’s Charter on January 25, 1955.


A Vision For A Hospital

Plans Are Drawn

Since the very beginning of the Society, we had intended to operate a hospital for the chronically ill that could help seniors with the challenge of moving from a home to a hospital when it became necessary. With that goal in mind, the Lutheran Welfare Society hired J. Cawston Architects to draw plans for a chronic hospital at the recently acquired Riley Estate site.


Expanding into Wayne

Bethel Home Opens

Just a few years after opening Bethany Home, the Lutheran Welfare Society acquired a fully equipped hospital in Wayne, Alberta, from the local Coal Miner’s Union on the condition that the building be operated as a charitable home for five years.

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Open for Care

Bethany Home Begins Operations

The hurdle of acquiring land was truly overcome and the Lutheran Welfare Society was able to open Bethany Home to provide care for 19 residents.

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The Riley Estate

A Big Step Forward

Through the generous support of Lutheran church members, the Lutheran Welfare Society was able to make a big first purchase – the Riley Estate Mansion.

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Things Get Official

Within a year from the start of the group’s exploration of a seniors’ home, the Lutheran Welfare Society in Alberta was officially incorporated, and Rev T.M. Hansen was elected the very first Chair of the organization.


A Beginning

Exploring the Idea of a Seniors Home

During the annual convention of the West Canada District of Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, the seeds were planted that would eventually grow into the Bethany Care Society: a committee was elected to investigate a senior citizen’s home in the Calgary area.

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