A Block Carrier Reflects
Since 2015, I’ve had the privilege of delivering Boyle McCauley News to a couple of blocks around 93/92 Streets, between 107A and 106A Avenues. With new opportunities coming up, sadly I’ve now had to give up the routes, which got me reflecting on my experience as a Block Carrier.
I’ve enjoyed witnessing the little changes that would take place in between the delivery of each issue. A new mailbox installed. A new front porch stairwell. A broken gate. The seasonal changes of the old Green Ash trees shedding beautiful leaves in the fall and streams of sunshine and shadow through the branches onto the street and sidewalks.
Delivering papers along these streets, I’m always torn between the sense of community I can see and feel there and the stigma McCauley holds in the minds of many Edmontonians. I would see many indicators of challenges, such as a house with its front gate locked at the sidewalk so you can’t walk all the way up to the door. One house got some press in 2019 after being featured on CBC’s investigative podcast, Slumtown. Shortly afterwards it burned to the ground, taking a neighbouring home along with it. An old boat sat nearby, seemingly abandoned on a vacant lot.
At the same time, I’ve also been greeted with kindness by residents working on their front lawn and chatting with friends on the porch. I saw a vacant lot get transformed into an integrated community garden.
When I had extra papers I would offer them to people walking through the neighbourhood, people who at first glance may be unhoused. From my time volunteering in McCauley as a block connector with the Abundant Community Edmonton (ACE) program, it was clear that for meaningful change to take place, community has to be defined beyond people who own and rent. There are others in the inner city who spend their time accessing meals, supports, and services in the area. Boyle McCauley News is a resource for these community members as well. In this way, the Block Carrier truly serves the community as a whole.
Thank you to the 92/93 Street – 106A/107A Avenue residents for the valuable time I’ve spent walking your sidewalks. And I wish all the best to Boyle McCauley News and its amazing team. Thank you for creating a community newspaper that is meant for everyone in Boyle Street and McCauley.
If you are interested in becoming a Block Carrier, contact email@example.com to find out what routes are available.