105 years young – The London Free Press

The Titanic sank the year before Rene Adams was born and the First World War started a year later.

Family and friends gathered Sunday at a nursing home in south London to celebrate Adams’ 105 birthday.

The celebration was held in the party room at the Village of Glendale Crossing, where Adams lives.

Her family – two children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren – set up photos from the milestone moments of her life. Adams posed for photos holding a photo of herself taken a few years before she married her husband Don in 1936.

The two met at Central secondary school and were high school sweethearts. Adams moved to London from Pennsylvania with her five siblings after her father got a job in a tannery.

The disappearance of the once-thriving industry in London is one of the many ways the city has changed since Adams was born and later moved here.

London’s population in 1913 was 55,000. Several suburbs, including Pottersburg on the city’s eastern fringe and Chelsea Green to the southeast, became part of the city a year earlier. Street cars began operating on Sunday in London a year after Adams was born.

Robert Borden was the prime minister of Canada and the world was on the eve of the First World War.

Rene Adams at her birthday party on Sunday. She turned 105 last Friday. (SHANNON COULTER, The London Free Press)

Though Adams is one of London’s oldest residents, living to 100 and beyond is becoming more common in Canada.

In fact, centenarians were the fastest growing age group between 2011 and 2016 when their numbers increased 41 per cent, according to the 2016 Census.

More than 8,000 centenarians were counted in the census. By 2051, the number could reach nearly 40,000.

Among people 100 and older, there were five women for every man, the census reports, as women have a longer life expectancy then men.

Centenarians have become so prevalent that Meadow Park long-term care home in London had a celebration last year for four residents who either turned 100 or were turning 100.

Mac Chester, the facility recreation director, said the home used to have one 100th birthday party a year.

“The 90th birthday parties used to be a big deal. Not any longer.”