No fuss, no muss, at 102 Jean MacKay does allow for a photo of a couple of the letters that honoured her 100th birthday. On April 19 she turns 102. Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News

Oak Bay woman turns 102 with little fanfare

Neighbours in her condo building insist on a tea party to celebrate

No photo.

No video.

No fuss, please.

Born April 19, 1915, Jean Mackay was alright with a centennial birthday two years.

“I don’t even know how I got this far,” she said with a laugh. “What do you do when you’re 102?”

You just get up everyday and enjoy it apparently.

When Mackay retired from her government job in Winnipeg at 60 she headed for the warmer climate of the coast.

“Manitoba is frigid when you’re retired,” she said with a laugh.

A common phenomenon, about 10 friends also made the shift, one sister already lived here and the other moved with her.

“It was a small community then, it’s a big city now,” Mackay says of Victoria.

It was also a challenge to find an apartment even decades ago, and she started in an apartment near the Quadra/McKenzie area before moving to James Bay.

“James Bay was convenient to everything but it was very cold there, so I came here and I noticed the difference,” she said. An Oak Bay resident for about 20 years, to the best of her recollection, she used to amble along to Willows beach and still enjoys a walk into the village for shopping.

Even Oak Bay has changed in her short time here, with more traffic and families.

“It was more like a suburb. Oak Bay Avenue is busy all the time. It’s still nice though,” she said.

Her neighbours plan a tea party for her birthday April 23. The only reason Mackay agreed to an interview, is because those same neighbours insisted. They’re proud.

Mackay admits it’s unusual to hit 102 and be living in your own home.

“I’d like to stay on my own but you never know,” she said.

She played golf and bowled 5-pin in Manitoba. When she came here she developed a bridge habit at Monterey Recreation Centre, one she had to give up to failing eyesight. However, cooking dinner was the biggest forfeit to her diminished vision.

“That is the biggest thing, the meals. Breakfast is easy and lunch is no big deal but for dinner you want a nice hot meal,” Mackay said.

She has someone come in twice a week who brings pre made dinners and of course she picks up some meals taking her walker out to Oak Bay Village.

“It’s just nice to get out for a walk now and again,” she said. “You have to keep active and you can’t just sit around and do nothing.”

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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