For the past three years, folks living in Toronto’s Brockton Triangle have celebrated Earth Day by organizing a clean-up of their very downtown Toronto hood. Older kids and parents pitch in and younger kids do crafts and decorate the street with sidewalk chalk while being collectively supervised. Sound charming? Well, it is. But it didn’t just get charming all by itself.
Brockton Triangle is no ordinary nabe. It’s an organized and passionate community of residents and friends who are committed to building their patch of Parkdale into something special. Citizens of the Triangle hold neighbourhood potlucks, arts festivals and huge communal yard sales. They help out in each other’s yards, share gardening tips and babysitters and swap magazines and movies (Battlestar Galactica recently made the rounds). All of this activity is organized through a “Brockton Neighbours” Yahoo! group that boasts 225 members. They even have a neighbourhood logo, designed through a community contest. It’s reached the point where realtors who are selling homes in the area advertise this strong community spirit to prospective buyers. Here is how Brockton Neigbours decribes itself on Yahoo!:
In August of 2006, about 20 neighbours and two dogs, gathered for an inaugural neighbourhood potluck on the grass at the Shirley Street schoolyard. Invigorated by the experience of meeting one another and buoyed by a sense of excitement about what sort of great things we could create by working together, neighbours have been creating gatherings and community-centred projects ever since. A growing sense of joy and pride in our shared space has resulted. Both online and on the streets, neighbours have been taking satisfaction and finding rewards of all kinds in coming together to discuss issues of mutual concern and dream of projects we can create together. Brockton Neighbours is a space for neighbours to talk with one another about social, political, community or other types of initiatives in the area. If you have or need information or resources of many kinds – this is a great place to share with your neighbours. Need to borrow a ladder? Concerned about dumping? Looking for a recommendation for a good plumber? Want to give away a piece of furniture? Need help moving a sofa? If you can’t think of someone to call directly – try posting a request/offer here. It’s great to live in a place where the proverbial “cup of sugar” is easy to come by when you really need it and where you can enjoy the opportunity to contribute to others. Interest has been expressed in diverse projects such as community gardening, potlucks & community meals, many forms of resource-sharing, yard sales, skill sharing, car sharing, social action, anti-gang response, festivals, art projects and many more.
Got a great story about your neighbourhood? We’d love to hear it!