What a year! The Kitchener Festival of Neighbourhoods concluded it 28th season in 2021 by continuing its new tradition of an online zoom celebration. We continued to find interactive ways to engage and connect. We learned a lot in 2020 and built upon our experiences in the pandemic. The Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region acknowledged the adaptations and activities of the Central Frederick Neighbourhood to keep inclusion front and centre and setting a great example for all of us. During distancing, they hosted virtual craft events, delivered all the material to neighbours homes, and made and exibit of all the great work to continue staying in touch, sharing and supporting each other.
We also introduced everyone to The COVID Safe LIVING room which is yet another activity trunk that can be signed out of the F.O.N pantry of possibilities. The LIVING Room was supported by Canada Healthy Communities Initiative. At our celebrations in November we held an on-line LIVING room where we discussed how COVID was changing Us? Kitchener’s Mayor, Berry Verbanovic, offered a candid synthesis of the entire event. With these kinds of ongoing exchanges we can contribute to and increase the quality of life for everyone we share this awesome city with– together.
The neigbourhoods who attended the festival on-line celebration this year received a $50.00 gift certificate to go toward their activities and events The neighbourhoods attending included, Victoria Park, Central Frederick, Schneider Creek, Doon South, Mount Hope Breithaupt Park, Huron, King East, Vanier/Kingsdale, The Bus Station District, Duke and Water Street Downtown Neighbourhood, Auditorium, Lydia Street, A Better Tent City, Williamsburg, Belmont, Westmount, Country Hills, Laurelwood Downtown Kitchener, Cherry Park, Forest Hills, Alpine, North Six, Olde Berlin Towne, The Kitchener Market Area. A total of 25 neighbourhoods!
We took the Neighbourhood Exchange to a new level this year! We set up our own version of a neighbourly speed dating session to encourage participants to become Real Life Exchangers! Exchangers from A Better Tent City and Auditorium made an awesome video that compared the experiences of their neighbourhoods and with each other. It really highlighted our true interconnectedness, despite stark differences in access to basic necessities such as running water, showers, laundry, sewer, etc. Which neighbourhood did you always wanted to visit? Let’s do it together in 2022.
We celebrated our COVID Comeback Bingo Winner from Central Frederick represented by Susan Fulop with a 100.00 gift certificate. As they say, “If you don’t play you can’t win!” We encourage everyone to use Comeback Bingo to kickstart your activities over the winter and into the spring as well. We thoroughly enjoyed the creativity of the Williamsburg Neighbourhood and its Association who shared a video synopsis of their activities which included on-line picture sharing. Totally inspiring!
Comfortably sitting in our living room in a community garden, we asked the neighbours to learn more about each other. They did have fun with our bingo cards. Watch the video! Do you want to try? Download at www.festivalofneighboruhoods.ca and walk around your neighbourhood to get to know more about your neighbours:)