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Barrie woman marks her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends

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It was a very special day for Barrie resident Betty Olafson, who celebrated her centennial on Wednesday surrounded by family and friends at the Roberta Place Retirement Lodge.

"Very exciting, but I think that's the only 100 I'll make. I won't make the two," she chuckled.

Residents at the Barrie retirement home marked the occasion by lining the lobby and handing Olafson red roses as she went past.

Residents hand Betty Olafson red roses as she celebrates her 100th birthday at Roberta Place Retirement Lodge in Barrie, Ont., on Wed., Nov. 22, 2023. (CTV News/Molly Frommer)

According to those closest to her, Olafson's 100 years have been nothing short of extraordinary.

"She was born in Shanghai, China, 100 years ago, and she moved to England when she was eight in about 1931," said Olafson's daughter Jane Pimm.

The milestone occasion brought family members from near and far to celebrate, including Olafson's grandson and his two young children, who made the trip from Germany.

"We're so proud. It's really an exciting moment for the whole family and, of course, for her as well. We couldn't be happier to see her in such good health and to see her so chipper. She still jokes around a lot and it's fun," said her grandson, Dennis Pimm.

Olafson has been at Roberta Place since 2017, and staff said it wouldn't be the same without her.

"The only word I can think of to describe Betty is she's a remarkable woman. She's travelled the world, and she never lets most days go by without saying, 'You know, you should be grateful for what we have living in a country like Canada.' So, we wish nothing but the best for Betty. She's an amazing resident to have here," said Stewart Allington.

King Charles and Queen Camilla send a special birthday message to Betty Olafson, on her 100th in Barrie, Ont., on Wed., Nov. 22, 2023. (CTV News/Molly Frommer)

Olafson also received a special birthday greeting from King Charles and Queen Camilla, who recognized the special milestone, writing, "May your celebration be filled with joy, fond memories, and the love of family and friends."

Finally, Olafson also shared some lighthearted advice on reaching 100 years.

"Not to drink too much or eat too much and try your best to be good but not too good because it's not fun," she said.

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