BARRIE, ONT. -- Dippie Carisse celebrated her 100th birthday from inside the walls of Roberta Place long-term care home in Barrie as her family stood outside with balloons.

"My mother was a Dutch war bride. She married a French-Canadian in Holland and came over in 1947 to Canada and made Canada her home," says her son, Hess.

Ever the independent woman, Mrs. Carisse lived alone and drove herself around until the age of 95.

Last year, she moved into Roberta Place - just before COVID-19 took hold and devastated the seniors' facility.

Mrs. Carisse was among the more than 200 people infected by the deadly virus.

Hess says two days after her diagnosis, her oxygen levels dropped significantly into the low 80s. "We thought things were turning bad, but the next day, she rebounded."  Fortunately, despite some scary moments, she survived.

Her son says he believes there were lasting effects from her battle with the virus.

"During the war, she was a tenacious young lady, and now she's an older one, but still has the tenacity in her life," he says.

Her family hopes that for Mrs. Carisse's 101st birthday, they can celebrate together in person, rather than at a distance.