By Sheri Selway

During winter and especially during Covid lockdowns or “zones,” it is more difficult to see friends and neighbours.  So how do we maintain that sense of community?

Shoveling!  Yes, after the first February storm, Shawn and I went out to do our sidewalk.  And so did many of the neighbours!  We all were socially distant, shoveling the walks.  Mine had already been done, so I helped out others.   Very friendly and helping each other and chance to talk a bit.

My daughter Zoe lives in Macaulay West with her family. Her block has a strong sense of community.   The strength of their community didn’t just happen. It was developed over time by organizing small block parties, backyard get-togethers, water fights or just casual evening porch get-togethers. It is common for one or two neighbours to clear snow from the block, and everyone takes care of those who live alone or are disabled somehow. But it goes further than that. Using social media (Facebook, Texts), the MacAulay block communicates daily. Support goes far and wide – such examples include helping young families with childcare, helping in an emergency, grocery store pick-up, healthcare support, meals. They trade furniture, books, games and clothing. If someone is out of garlic, someone else runs it over. If someone needs to do a load of laundry, another household will help.

The North-End is full of communities just like this.

There are several “groups” on Facebook, search North End, and they will pop up (some are listed below).   The Neighbourhood Association is forming a committee to get a Library in the North End, so find out how to get involved! There is also an app called Nextdoor, which another of my neighbours uses to share information.

There are several “Little Free Libraries” in different parts of the neighbourhood.  One is on Mary near Ferrie, another on Wood Street near James and another on Macaulay near Bay.  Great places to bring a book and borrow a book.  I also notice that some people put out things to give away.  One person on Ferrie E. often has a bin out with items in it.  And randomly I find nice chairs, desks etc. that are free to pick up in different parts of the neighbourhood.

Spring is coming, we hope, and there are often people working in the front beds at Bayview and at the pollinator garden at Bay and Strachan.

There are a lot of small things we can do to foster a sense of community.  Share a book or a jar of homemade soup with a neighbour! See if he/she needs anything at the store when you are going.  It’s a bit harder during Covid, but it makes our neighbourhood a great place to live!

Sheri Selway with thanks to Robyn and Zoe for their ideas!

Facebook groups include: North End Neighbourhood Association, North End Information, Welcome to the North End and The North End Breezes.