Fleurette Lalande loves her hometown, keeping active and – perhaps most of all – people.
“I wouldn’t move from Vankleek Hill for the world,” says the 88-year-old, who was born just outside the village, and has lived in the town itself for 66 years.
The active senior can be spotted regularly out in the community, walking several kilometres each day through the village, occasionally waving and stopping to chat with people she knows.
“I just like people – I love life and I’m lucky that my morale is very good,” Lalande comments when asked what inspires her continually positive attitude, adding with a laugh. “I’m lucky also that I’ve still got all my marbles upstairs – so far.”
Her walks require the aid of two ski poles these days, and sometimes she has to rest – the result of a knee operation two years ago. Although the knee issue limits the pace of her activities, it is also one of the things that keeps Lalande motivated and moving.
“If I stop walking, I won’t be able to walk,” says the determined octogenarian, who also does an hour of yoga each morning.
Although she decided to give her volunteer work a break last summer, Lalande is well known in the region for her activities with community groups throughout the area. She worked with both the Club d’âge d’or in Vankleek Hill and the Vankleek Hill Ski-Vent-Clic cross-country ski club for more than two decades and also with many other organizations, including the Red Cross, and Hawkesbury Community Services.
Many locals know Lalande and her late partner Guy Lepage from the years they spent operating the convenience store at the corner of Main Street and Derby Avenue in Vankleek Hill from 1982-92.
COVID-19 regulations have limited her social activities, but Lalande manages to keep in touch with family, friends and relatives.
“There is no visiting, but I use my phone a lot,” she chuckles. “People call me and I call them. My five children are very close to me and they call me often.”