August 25, 2010

CANADA: Active, happy lifestyle key to longevity, says centenarian

CAPE BRETON, Canada / The Cape Breton Post / News / August 24, 2010

By Chris Shannon

SYDNEY RIVER — Bouquets of flowers line her windowsill. Cards of congratulations are propped up on tables around her bed. And letters from the Governor General, prime minister and other dignitaries wishing her well are neatly piled in a corner of her cozy room.

Jane Binns-Coady, one of six siblings born in New Waterford and raised in Sydney, is marking her 100th birthday today. It follows a whirlwind weekend of relatives and friends celebrating the occasion with a big birthday bash for Sydney’s newest centenarian.

Jane Binns-Coady officially joins the centenarian’s club as she turns 100 today. Binns-Coady, who was born in New Waterford, has lived in Sydney nearly all of her life. She celebrated the momentous occasion with family and friends at the Harbourstone En
Chris Shannon - Cape Breton Post

“Everyone wanted a picture. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t want a sandwich in my mouth if someone was taking a picture,” said Binns-Coady, a devout Catholic who sat in a chair next to her bed at the Harbourstone Enhanced Care facility, Tuesday.

In honour of her longevity, she has been named September’s resident of the month at the nursing home.

She said the secret to a long and healthy life is to “try to keep happy and keep the wrinkles away,” as well as to stay active. And in her case that means walking the corridors in her wing of Harbourstone six and sometimes seven times a day.

But her happiness was tested just prior to her birthday celebrations when her son, 76-year-old Eugene Binns, was hospitalized for a month. His health concerns eased enough for a release from hospital just in time to attend Sunday’s party for his mother.

“When I saw him coming out (of the hospital) the party didn’t mean all that much to me. He was better and that’s what made my birthday so special,” she said.

Binns-Coady had five children with her husband, Edward Binns, and lived on Gray Street in Ashby. The young couple married when she was only 19 years old — at the very start of the Great Depression

“We managed. They were never hungry and they were never cold. I couldn’t work and look after five children.” - Jane Binns-Coady

Up until that point she had worked at a laundromat where she tied parcels of clean linen, preparing them for delivery. She also worked as a clerk at Woolworth’s department store on Charlotte Street when it was a “5 and 10” store.

She also took in three foster children over the years to provide for them.

At only 36, Edward died tragically when he fell off the back of a truck hauling furs to a Reitman’s clothing store in downtown Sydney in 1942. The next day, Binns-Coady gave birth to her fifth child, Frank.

The intervening years between Edward’s death and her second marriage to Peter Coady in 1955 were tough, she said.

“We managed. They were never hungry and they were never cold. I couldn’t work and look after five children.”

She said her second love fit in very well with her family, until his death many years later.

Binns-Coady said she continues to receive well wishes and regular visits from her three surviving children, 30 grandchildren, 59 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great-grandchildren.

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