Oldest Canadian-born man plans 110th birthday amidst pandemic; family puts out call for birthday cards
HALIFAX -- The town of Beaver Harbour, N.B. is preparing for a huge milestone that’s been 110 years in the making.
As the oldest Canadian-born man, Arnold Hawkin’s birthday tends to draw large crowds.
This year, as he celebrates his 110th birthday on Jan. 30, things will look a bit different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even if we’re in yellow, I don’t think it would be best to have people coming in and going in his household,” said Arnold’s granddaughter, Cheryl Mckinley.
Due to public health restrictions and Arnold’s age, he won’t be able to celebrate as he normally does each year.
His family has made protecting him throughout the pandemic a priority.
“First thing we did was put something right on the door that we weren’t allowing people in to see him, because we don’t want to take any chances with him at all,” said Meme Hawkins, Arnold’s daughter. “Everybody has respected that. They haven’t come near. They just send good wishes on Facebook and stuff like that.”
Not wanting Arnold to feel alone on his special day, his family put out a call on Facebook asking for birthday cards.
Their initial goal was to get 110 birthday cards for Arnold.
Since the post was put on Facebook earlier this week, it has already been shared over 400 times.
The family say they’ll collect every card they receive so they can read each one to Arnold on Jan. 30.
Although Arnold hasn’t had many visitors come to his door lately, he’s been sure to keep up on his virtual appearances.
“I can go live and he’s been able to talk, we’ve been able to take videos and post on there,” said Cheryl.
As for Arnold’s philosophy for reaching an age not many get to, it hasn’t changed.
“Fish and potatoes. He still has his fish and potatoes,” said Arnold’s family members.
Arnold’s age doesn’t slow him down. He’s still very active in the community that he was born in, grew up in, worked as a fisherman and raised a family of his own.
“He still talks about his fishing days, but he goes out to the wharves a lot and tends weir and he pulls his lobster traps almost every day,” said Meme.
The family doesn’t expect Arnold will have time to visit the wharf on Jan. 30, as he’ll be too busy going through his mountain of birthday cards.
Anyone who wants to join in on Arnold’s birthday celebrations and send a card along can mail it to:
Arnold Hawkins C/O Cheryl MckInley
858 Route 770
Bonny River, N.B.