Submitted by Gurleen Dhessi, consultant, Public Affairs

Marilyn’s Bakery is a dream turned reality for a passionate baker, Kerry Netherton, program coordinator at Czorny Alzheimer Centre.

“I was asked if I had any ideas for recreation special projects,” says Kerry, program coordinator, Czorny Alzheimer Centre. “Being a baker, I thought, wouldn't it be great if we could create a storefront bakery inside the Czorny Alzheimer Centre for residents to enjoy.”

“Bringing my baking experience, I did most of the design work in collaboration with the contractors that could bring it to light,” says Kerry. “I was pretty adamant about the design being vintage-inspired and having a unique look.”

Marilyn's Bakery, named after Marilyn Stewart, who founded the Czorny Alzheimer's Centre with her family in memory of her parents, opened in November 2023 adjacent to the coffee shop. The bakery design mimics a storefront with classic touches, like a retro mini fridge, stylized font on the glass jars and an antique chalkboard sign.

“The sensory component of the bakery engages residents in countless ways, and their expressions are priceless,” says Kerry. “We took one of the residents to the bakery, and her eyes opened up with a smile ear-to-ear like a kid at Christmas, and she couldn’t stop telling the other residents when she came back from the bakery.”

The aroma from the baking fills the hallway on Wednesdays, adding to the authenticity of the experience and creating an innovative space that opens up new possibilities for programs and activities for residents that aren’t typically offered in dementia care facilities. 

“Currently, the bakery and coffee shop is open on Wednesdays for residents to pick and enjoy baked treats and drinks with each other,” says Kerry. “We will be expanding to add Saturdays and Sundays and eventually include families.”

The recreation team manages the bakery, which has a bread machine and a commercial toaster, where volunteers in frilly aprons bake cookies, pies and cinnamon buns.

The bakery represents the team's commitment to enhancing the quality of life for residents at Czorny Azheimer Centre, introducing a new and heartwarming chapter in their home.

“We wanted to offer something innovative that our residents could use as recreation,” says Gay Pottie, manager, Czorny Alzheimer Centre. “I think the bakery not only coincides with our coffee shop perfectly but provides a familiar bakery setting for residents to feel welcomed in.”

The bakery is supported by generous donors to the Surrey Hospital Foundation.

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