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Retirement home residents mourning the loss of beloved peacock named Peter


Residents and staff of a Simcoe, Ont. retirement and long-term care home are mourning the loss of a feathered fixture in their community.

About 20 years ago, a peacock and his mate left a nearby farm and showed up on the grounds of Cedarwood Village.

“The farmer did come to retrieve him a few times, but Peter and his mate kept flying back, so the local farmer said ‘just keep him,’” Karen Smith, the apartment co-ordinator at Cedarwood Village, explained.

Peter’s mate was fatally hit by a car on the nearby road not long after, but Peter refused to leave Cedarwood and made it his home.

“He just roamed the grounds here,” Smith said, adding that Peter would often sleep on a balcony and sit on the heaters from the dryer vents to keep warm in during the winter.

Peter the Peacock in an undated photo. (Submitted)

Peter was killed by a coyote on May 6, a loss that the retirement community is still grieving.

“He really was a joy to have around because he brought your spirits up,” Cedarwood Village resident Edna Maguire said.

Peter, according to everyone who knew him, had a big personality.

“He really loved attention,” Maguire explained, describing Peter as a “show off.”

Cedarwood Village resident Edna Maguire holding Peter’s feathers next to a garden ornament put up in his memory. (Krista Simpson/CTV Kitchener)

Bill Orgar, another resident, said his job for the past four years or so was to give Peter his breakfast.

He would head outside every day at 7:45 a.m. and most days Peter was there waiting for him.

“[I’d] go out and talk to him and feed him his breakfast. He’d come up close to me sometimes. He seem to enjoy that I’d stand there [and] talk to him,” Orgar recalled.

Carol Simone King shared that Peter, who she always called “The Bird,” would rap on her ground floor window to get more food.

“He’d put his beak on the glass and bang on it so I’d know to feed him,” she said.

On Mother’s Day, her children arrived with gifts for Peter.

“Each of them brought me a 30 pound bag of birdseed,” she said laughing, adding they were shocked to find out about Peter’s death.

Cedarwood Village resident Carol Simone Kay holds some of Peter’s tail feathers. (Krista Simpson/CTV Kitchener)

Leopold Jacobs, another resident, said Peter’s calls were his alarm clock.

“Every morning he woke me up.”

The farmer who once owned Peter even came to live at Cedarwood Village for a time.

“It was really neat,” Smith said. “And he remembered that that was his bird.”

According to Isabel Moore, Peter’s presence had a big impact on her when she first moved to Cedarwood a little more than a year ago.

Moore had sold the home where she had lived with her late husband for decades, and found moving to the retirement apartments a difficult transition.

“I felt pretty down for a month or so,” she recalled.

Moore said she didn’t know anyone at Cedarwood and would go into the garden and sit alone.

“And then pretty soon here comes Peter, and he stood there and did little dances with his feet, and then he would spin around and put his feathers out and everything.”

Within a few weeks, Moore made friends and now is enjoying her new home.

But she’ll never forget how Peter helped her out along the way.

“Everything got good. But Peter – he’s the one that really kept me wanting to be here.”

While the peacock no longer roams the gardens at Cedarwood Village, tributes to him can be found throughout the home.

A memorial service was held for the bird on May 16, and a peacock garden ornament was installed, joining a few other similar decorations at the facility.

A garden ornament recently put up at Cedarwood Village in memory of Peter the Peacock. (Krista Simpson/CTV Kitchener)

There is also a framed tribute to Peter in the facility’s main atrium, and a peacock figurine at the front of the home.

Many residents have held onto feathers from Peter, gathered when the peacock would drop them each summer. They’re now amongst Edna Maguire’s most prized possessions.

“I wouldn’t part with them now for sure,” she said. Top Stories

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