Seona Stephen relaxes in the library

Seona Stephen relaxes in the library

Director bids adieu to Carlton House

New retiree plans to travel and take time to volunteer in her community

Next month Seona Stephen slides into retirement from her duties as nurse, counsellor, psychologist, detective, financial advisor and dishwasher.

She’s performed each of those roles in her work as executive director of Carlton House for nearly 10 years, since the retirement residence opened.

“It’s never really felt like a job,” she said in her light Scottish brogue. “It has been such a rewarding experience as the residents have enriched my life with their personal stories and ability to still have fun.”

The touch of accent remains from her homeland, where she did her nurses training in Edinburgh. As a registered nurse, she brings to the job a wealth of experience in acute care hospitals, including Victoria General and Royal Jubilee; over the years she has managed surgical units, emergency, intensive care, operating rooms, worked with a staff of more than 200 and balanced a budget in the millions of dollars.

All prepared her for her work at Carlton House, but the residents there have only added to her education.

“I can learn a lesson or two from them. We’re always spending our time running around trying to avoid change,” she said. “Their tolerance and acceptance of things they cannot change, such as specific health issues, is amazing.”

She’ll take those lessons to her home community of View Royal where retirement plans include volunteer work and travel.

“First of all I’m going to learn all about consignment stores and take all my business suits in to recycle,” she said with a laugh.

But she’s already started to pursue her interest in Emergency Management Response and is enrolled, with her husband John, to become volunteers with the Emergency Support Services Program.

“I do have a need to give back to the community. I think that will be really rewarding,” she said. “I’ll still be able to help people and use the skills I’ve developed over the years and put them to good use.”

There she’ll utilize the vast knowledge gained from residents and her work at Carlton House. It’s also a personal interest that harkens back two decades when the couple lost their Brentwood Bay home to a fire.

“It served us a purpose,” Stephen said, as they’ve overcome it and reached out to others in similar situations over the years.

The couple also has grand travel plans to get back to their roots.

“It’s a passion that both John and I share,” Stephen said. “Our next trip is in August, we’ll go to visit family in Scotland, Ireland, then over to Paris, down to the south of France and then into Monaco.”

But this month she’ll help ease in new executive directer Terez Payette who takes the helm in August.

The roughly 100 residents are what Stephen expects to miss most about coming to Carlton House every day.

“They’ve been part of my life for nearly 10 years. They’re like part of my family.”


Just Posted

The Victoria Royals will return to the Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena for the first time since the 2019-20 campaign when they open next season against the Vancouver Giants on Oct. 2. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fans expected in the Save-On stands for Victoria Royals’ Oct. 2 home opener

It’ll be the first Western Hockey League action at the arena since March 2020

Police are looking for witnesses and video footage after a crash on June 18. (Photo courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP looking for videos related to Corvette crash

Driver believed to have fled the scene of View Royal crash

The Pat Bay Highway was closed for several hours Monday morning after a drug-impaired driver crashed into two hydro poles. (Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Pat Bay closure caused by drug-impaired driver

Man struck two hydro poles, closing a section of the Pat Bay Monday morning

The City of Victoria is once again offering $50,000 for selected neighbourhood enhancement projects, through its participatory budgeting program. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria neighbourhoods can earn city funding for projects

Up to $50,000 available for initiatives that enhance, enrich neighbourhoods

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria with unusually high temperatures expected Monday and this coming weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria’s first week of summer will be a scorcher

Special weather statement issued Monday by Environment Canada

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

By the end of life, the average North American has eaten the weight of a family sedan in sugar. (
FITNESS: Living the sweet life without too much sugar

Simple choices can have a major impact on your health

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read