Kitchener’s Festival Of Neighbourhoods concluded its 27th season by connecting neighbours differently for its annual celebration in 2020. This year, neighbours and City Of Kitchener representatives ‘zoomed’ together on Sunday, November 15th in an interactive online celebration that recognized how neighbourhoods created community connections with health and safety in mind through an unpredictable year. Neighbours also discussed ways to continue creating connections and imagined what their neighbourhoods will be like as we move into a future of possibility.
The Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region contributed to the celebration of inclusion across neighbourhoods, and 17 different neighbourhood representatives participated in the online discussion from regions across the City of Kitchener.
A new “Neighbours Exchange” program was part of this year’s Festival Of Neighbourhoods celebration; two neighbours from different areas of the city were matched to take each other on short walking tours of their respective neighbourhoods and their experiences were shared as part of the online gathering.
The whole group of attendees were then divided into “Breakout Rooms” to discuss:
How did your neighbourhood create connection this year, and what would you need to continue these connections in an unpredictable future? What ideas do you have for the future of your neighbourhood?
Mayor Berry Vrbanovic dropped in to each breakout session to connect with neighbours.
A wide range of ideas for future connections were shared;
-use of public golf courses for winter activities such as cross country skiing and tobogganing
– holiday walking tours, continuing traditional events in ways that are covid-safe, drop-off toy drives and fundraisers for charities
– emphasis on the increased need for outdoor spaces such as parks, ice rinks, and dog runs
– training for seniors, newcomers and anyone on how to operate Zoom to connect safely online
– neighbourhood contests towards environmental sustainability and aims to reduce climate change
– calls to neighbours to check-in and reaching out new neighbours
Video tours from two neighbourhoods were also shared as part of the celebration; and more can be viewed on https://www.facebook.com/FONKitchener
Victoria Park, Central Frederick, Schneider Creek, Doon South and Mount Hope Breithaupt Park have been featured and more videos will be posted soon from Huron, King East and Vanier/Kingsdale neighbourhoods.
Mayor Berry Vrbanovic thanked all the neighbourhood representatives and concluded with “I know by sticking together and working together we’ll all get through this and we’ll be a stronger community coming out the other side. Hopefully next summer we can enjoy some of our traditional things when a vaccine is in place”.
The celebration concluded with Door Prizes:
$100 Gift Card for Swanson’s Home Hardware and Building Centre; Central Frederick Neighbourhood Association
$100 Gift Card for Swanson’s Home Hardware and Building Centre; Schneider Creek Neighbourhood
Red Racoon Bike Rescue, Neighbourhood Bike Tune-Up Clinic; Lakeside Park Neighbourhood
Five Swim Lesson Passes from the City Of Kitchener; Lakeside Park Neighbourhood
Festival of Neighbourhoods is a joint initiative between John MacDonald Architect and the Social Development Centre Waterloo Region with support from the City of Kitchener. Kitchener’s Festival Of Neighbourhoods looks forward to a new season in 2021 of celebrating and supporting neighbourhood projects and activities.