Did you miss the 2021 Celebration?

COVID is changing us

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!

ABTC and Auditorium Exchange

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.

Come Back Bingo

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:)

28th Annual Celebration

How is COVID Changing Us?

Festival of Neighbourhoods is back! You are invited to our 28th Annual Celebration Sunday, November 21st at 1-3pm on Zoom! RSVP by November 19th to the Zoom event registration link here.Annual Celebration Poster

Lots of neighbourhood gatherings have become annual occurrences and the pandemic has prevented them from happening in their traditional way. We want to hear how your neighbourhood has adapted gatherings to be safe and inclusive the past year.

Join us in celebrating our diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods. Let’s learn from each other on how we are adapting in this ever changing world. The Festival continues to connect neighbours to share ideas for the future of our neighbourhoods.

In honor of the Festival’s 28th year, the first 28 neighbourhoods to RSVP for the online celebration will receive a $50 certificate to be used for future neighbourhood projects or gatherings. Stay tuned for future updates about this awesome event!

COVID has changed our registration form too!

If your neighbourhood has gathered together this year, whether in person or online, don’t forget to register it. If there were no gatherings, let us know about that change you experienced too!

Share with us by filling out a short COVID-times registration form.

Founded by Architect John MacDonald, the Social Development Centre of Waterloo Region and the City of Kitchener, Festival of Neighbourhoods encourages citizens to plan simple gatherings in their neighbourhoods that are open to everyone and unite neighbours.

COVID Safe Gathering Spaces

Living RoomsBuilding Covid-19  awareness is an ongoing challenge for many neighbourhoods.  Encouraging reflection about how we have adapted and changed to live with our new realities during a global pandemic here in our own neighbourhoods and communities is the purpose of the COVID Safe Pop Up Living Rooms. Social Development Centre has brough together two initiatives the Kitchener’s Festival of Neighbourhoods and Covid Safe Pubilc Spaces to set up a site-specific pop up gatherings for a few hours within neighbourhoods that do not experience safety in many regards. We will practice the evolving COVID safe protocols and everyone can be as confident as possible that they are doing what they can to be protected from transmission, while unpacking deeper levels of what safety means to each of us. 

To learn more about the project or to bring COVID-safe Living Room to your neighbourhood, contact Heather Majaury at heather@waterlooregion.org. 

If you wish to volunteer with the COVID Safe Spaces Project, please fill out this short survey!


2021 FON Program Coordinator Posting

2021 Post Image at Prospect AvenueKitchener’s Festival of Neighbourhoods team is seeking a candidate with experience in community development and community engagement, both face to face and online, to fill the 2021 Program Coordinator position.

Festival of Neighbourhoods was founded in 1994 and has since been a support and a recognition program for Kitchener residents who step off their front porch or front step to bring their neighbours together. Usually, neighbours who organize gatherings on their streets, in parks or buildings, are offered tools, a friendly support team, prizes and incentives to continue creating conditions and connections that counter isolation, build lasting relationships and break prejudice and stereotypes. As neighbours keep getting together, they collectively explore many ways to improve upon the physical infrastructure or the social fabric of their neighbourhoods. 

Inclusivity and equity in the city are a particular focus of the Festival of Neighbourhoods and this year, while still in the pandemic mode, we will be building on everything we learned about challenges and successes of remaining good neighbours to continue connecting virtually and transition to face to face encounters again. As virtual and physical remain inseparable, we are looking for a coordinator who is at ease working in both environments and has applied equity and anti-racism lens in their community work. 

The successful candidate would have experience in:

• Direct engagement across age, ability, income, colour, culture, language, & types of neighbourhoods

• Community-based research & information gathering to design strategies and tools for targeted engagement 

• Promotional material design to mobilize neighbours for effective outreach activities 

• Active engagement through social media of both residents and a range of partners organizations

• Conflict resolution and constructive communication in an intercultural context 

• Organizing conference calls and online events (Zoom & Google Meet)

To accomplish the following tasks:

• Coordination: facilitating team meetings; creation and monitoring of the workplan; tracking neighbourhood gatherings and Festival registrations; updating procedures, contact lists and reference documents; assist in creation of communication articles for the website and E-Neighbour; organize an Annual Celebration.

• Engagement: respond to asks for support by sharing tips and tools with neighbours; active outreach to new communities/neighbourhoods; updating and applying Inclusion Challenge strategies; supporting neighbourhood gatherings; administration of the Early Bird Registration Prizes and Neighbourhood Activity Trunk bookings; regular engagement through social media and online events. 

The position is a part-time limited contract, to approximately 25 hours per week from April to December 2021, with the possibility of renewal. Please submit your resume and a description of your experience and interest in working with neighbourhood-based initiatives, especially within the Festival of Neighbourhoods’ model of outreach and engagement. 

Deadline for applications is midnight on March 26th. Email the selection committee at admin@waterlooregion.org

Sincerely, John MacDonald, John MacDonald Architect and Aleksandra Petrovic, Social Development Centre WR