Canada’s Oldest Person: Cecile Klein marks 114 years

Cecile Klein celebrates her 114th birthday from her room at the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre in June 2021. (Supplied photo)

How does someone live to celebrate their 114th birthday? On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, host Ellin Bessner poses the question to Cecile Klein, Canada’s oldest person. She tells us her secret to longevity: staying active, doing things for yourself, eating steaks (because you still have all your own teeth) and hopping on a cruise to Mexico at the young age of 103.

Klein lived on her own, in her own house in Montreal’s Snowdon area, until she was 110, in 2017. Unfortunately, she suffered a fall that year, which landed her in Montreal’s main Jewish nursing home, the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre, where she’s lived ever since.

The pandemic has been particularly hard for the nursing home: at least 60 residents died and the government called in the Armed Forces to help. Klein was lucky not to get sick, but she remained isolated for much of 2020. When she celebrated her 114th birthday last week, while her fellow residents could gather outside with her, only four family members were allowed to visit in her room.

Klein joins us today right after her birthday party, along with her 85-year-old daughter; her grandson, Arthur Nussbam; and Arthur’s sister, Elaine Nussbaum.

What we talked about:

  • Watch video of Klein’s birthday party on The CJN’s YouTube page
  • See photos from the event on Côte-Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein’s Facebook page

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at