Hello fellow North Enders, and happy summer. Hopefully some of you will remember the Walk the Block event that some volunteers put on (and that was so wonderfully supported by so many of you) last August. By popular demand, we’re bringing the event back – with a twist. This year’s event will combine the Walk the Block event with a community-wide yard sale on Saturday, June 24, from 8-noon.

If you don’t know what Walk the Block is, or just need a refresher, it’s a free, community-wide event to celebrate and bring attention to the value and benefits of walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods. Last year, that was expressed with small-scale, neighbour-driven events throughout the North End, and featured a free community barbecue at Welcome Inn.

During last year’s event, we had a great time taking in the porch concerts, visiting the dog-friendly “take-a-stick, leave-a-stick” installation, quenching our thirst with a delicious lemonade, contributing to a sidewalk chalk masterpiece, picking up some Murphy’s Treats for our dog Ozzy, reading all the lovely messages our neighbours left on a “Why We Love The North End” poster, and of course, getting the chance to meet many of you at the community barbecue.

This year’s event will be a little different. By combining Walk the Block with a community-wide yard sale, we hope to increase engagement and foot traffic throughout the neighbourhood by providing even more opportunities to participate. We want to continue the spirit of Walk the Block, so we’re encouraging you to participate however you want.

If a yard sale isn’t your cup of tea, we invite you to choose another event or way to celebrate. You can host a garden tour, put on a porch concert, organize a food drive, teach your neighbours how to juggle, or decorate your front yard with 100 pink flamingos (but don’t do that, because that’s what I’m going to do)!

And while we would love to host another free barbecue this year, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem possible now. Last year’s event was sponsored (in part) by community partners involved in ongoing development projects in the neighbourhood. As some of our neighbours raised concerns about this relationship, we decided not to engage with these partners this year and haven’t found another sponsor. Although we won’t have a barbecue this year, we’re continuing to engage with community stakeholders to try to bring back the barbecue for future events.

Barbecue or not, we hope you’ll join us and participate either with an event or simply as a neighbour by rolling, riding, scooting, skating, or walking the block. Participating in community events like this is so important in bringing neighbours together. We hope it helps promotes a sense of belonging and pride in our neighbourhood and encourages all of us to take an active role in our community.

For more information about the event, or to register to have your yard sale or Walk the Block event registered on our free event map, visit www.walktheblockhamilton.com or email me at thompskeith@gmail.com

Hope to see you all there on June 24!