Abundant Community McCauley

Summer Block Parties

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. We’re out more – walking, biking, playing in the park, going to festivals, or getting out of the city if we have the opportunity.

I go camping with my family at Lesser Slave Lake every summer. We park ourselves on the beach where we read, swim, paddle, and play games. My brother goes fishing and the little ones build sand castles. A fire gets lit after yet another glorious sunset, the guitar and mandolin come out . . . ah, I’m looking forward to it already!

As you’re out and about this summer in your garden, the playground, or shopping at a local business, it’s also the time to greet your neighbours, catch up with their summer plans, and wish them well. “Hello, how are you?’’ goes a long way!

Last month, Joanne shared her story of her block party and I suggested you too could host a party, however large or small. The City of Edmonton has a great how-to guide to organizing block parties. They list top 10 reasons to have a block party:

  • To have fun – no excuses or reasons are needed to celebrate.
  • To provide an opportunity to know your neighbours and where they live.
  • To establish friendships.
  • To increase that sense of belonging to a community.
  • To meet neighbours on your block that might be able to help you with a gardening problem, or lend you that needed ingredient for your recipe.
  • To encourage neighbours to look after the neighbourhood.
  • To help with safety/crime prevention by knowing who lives where and who does not.
  • To learn a little about each other and know who might need a little extra help from time to time.
  • To increase security by knowing each other’s schedules.
  • To develop an opportunity to meet some of the old time neighbours and learn about your community history.

Closing off the street or back alley requires a permit from the City. Although the permit is free, it does require signatures from your neighbours to show support for the event, whether or not they plan to attend. It’s a good excuse to meet your neighbours and I can help if you are interested! Two weeks’ notice is what the City needs so they can bring the road barriers.

You can use the community league’s Block Party Kit and apply for a Revitalization Small Sparks grants of $250. If this sounds too complicated, start small – host a pop-up party in your back yard for a few neighbours. Another way to meet neighbours is to attend an event organized by others! The McCauley Garden Crawls, the Intercultural Gatherings or the Family Activities being held on Sundays at the Edmonton Intercultural Centre, the Hallelujah Garage Sale on July 7 – lots of events in the ‘hood. To find out more, email me at abundantcommunitymccauley@gmail.com. Have fun this summer!

More in this issue

Neighbourhood Views

  • MUSE Awards – The Edmonton Muse, an online magazine dealing with local art, culture, and music, celebrated its first anniversary on May 25. As part of the celebration at the Starlite Room, awards were handed out to several Edmontonians making a difference. One of the recipients was Sinder Sparks, founder of The Musical Mamas Society, a group of women musicians from in and around the area. Paula E. Kirman

  • Editor Receives Award from ESPC – Boyle McCauley News Editor Paula E. Kirman received the Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Award of Merit for Advocacy of Social Justice on May 24. She is pictured between ESPC Research Coordinator John Kolkman and his wife Kate Quinn, both McCauley residents and founders of the paper. Melissa Scott

  • Harbin Gate Memories – Memories written about the Harbin Gate hang on the fence where it was removed for Valley Line LRT construction. Paula E. Kirman

  • MUSE Awards – The Edmonton Muse, an online magazine dealing with local art, culture, and music, celebrated its first anniversary on May 25. As part of the celebration at the Starlite Room, awards were handed out to several Edmontonians making a difference. Boyle McCauley News Editor Paula E. Kirman was the first recipient for her involvement in a number of volunteer, non-profit groups. Marissa Loewen

  • New Community Space at Bissell Centre – Ryan Arcand presents Gary St. Amand, CEO of Bissell Centre, an eagle staff at the grand opening of Bissell Centre’s new community space in its west building, on June 11. The drop-in has improved access to basic needs and support services. Paula E. Kirman  

  • Portrait of a Caterpillar – Gord Currie is an Ambrose Place resident who has taken up photography to cope with the challenges in his life. Here is an example of his work. He says that he has gone from “poverty to photography” and gives credit for this photo “to the caterpillar for being a good subject.” Gord Currie

  • Graffiti Artists at Work – Graffiti artists made original creations during Hip Hop in the Park on May 26 at Boyle Street Plaza. Paula E. Kirman

Around the Neighbourhood

Volunteer With Us!

We are always looking for new writers and photographers, as well as ideas for future stories. We also regularly need block carriers to help with the delivery and distribution of the paper. Email Paula with your submissions, feedback, ideas, and availability. We also ask that contributors read our Editorial Guidelines and that all volunteers read and agree to our Code of Conduct.

Next Issue . . .

Our next issue is September. Articles and photos concerning community news, events, and opinions are welcome. We also encourage submissions of poetry, and cartoons (in JPG or PDF format). Deadline: August 12. Send submissions to: editor@bmcnews.org. Articles should be 400 words or less and accompanied by photographs (JPG, in high resolution) when possible.