Our Neighbours are Our Community

According to the City’s Realizing Housing Potential report on McCauley, my block is indicative of the demographics of our community.

While one household on our block is from Cambodia, there are several households where Vietnamese and/or Chinese is spoken. Bangladeshi is spoken by one large household; my neighbour to the east speaks German and Polish; while my neighbours in the basement also speak those languages. There are at least two single parents raising children in my neighbourhood, and there are several working people (construction/trades), and many, many, students, teachers, and engineers. A small percent is Aboriginal. And, we have a number of seniors living here. I am happy to report that the dog owners across the street always bring their dog in as soon as he begins to bark. I have heard no neighbours ever complain about that dog. On my one block long avenue, we have seven families with young children.

We have a couple of Snow Angels who live two doors away from me who always shovel my neighbour’s sidewalk because they want to keep her as long as possible as she is such a good neighbour. Many times homeless people walking down the street have seen me struggling to take my groceries into the house and they have offered to help me carry them up the stairs. I am always grateful for the help.

We have many kinds of neighbours: people who live in houses near us, people who sleep in alleys or the shelters in our community. They live here nonetheless and are our neighbours.

Neighbours from three or four houses on our avenue a few Sundays ago came to the aid of a young woman who was being abused by a domestic partner. One of our neighbours went to the police station to support her and make a police report. Sadly, as is far too normal in all communities in our city, domestic violence is an issue. Once the young woman sobered up she dropped the charges. But I am proud to say this block has compassionate people who will come to the aid of people when they are in distress.

Several times in the past few years I have needed the services of the hospital. I am grateful for neighbours who jump in immediately to ensure that my cats are fed and cared for while I am gone.

My belief has always been if you want good neighbours you need to be a good neighbour. Every new person who moves onto the street I make a point of greeting. One man bought a former rooming house across the street and we were a bit concerned that he would be an absentee landlord. I went to speak with him when I first saw him. After we had spoken for a while he finally asked why I had gone over. I told him I was simply welcoming him to the neighbourhood. “No one ever does that anymore,” he said. “Well we do here!” said I.

My experience these past 10 years in my home has been that people who don’t want to live in a safe neighbourhood where everyone knows who you are, where you live, what sort of car you drive, and would recognize if strangers were entering your house, do not stay in this community. It is absolutely the truth that the more people who are on the street talking to one another and greeting each other, the safer the community. If you know your neighbours you will know whom you can trust, as well as whom you cannot trust. My guess is that there will be far more whom you can trust than not.

More in this issue

Vista Housing
Janis Irwin MLA

Neighbourhood Views

Around the Neighbourhood

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Next Issue . . .

Volume 41, Issue 2 will be published March 15, 2020. Articles and photos concerning community news, events, and opinions are welcome. We also accept submissions of poetry and cartoons. Deadline: February 20, 2020. Send submissions to: editor@bmcnews.org. Articles should be 400 words or less and accompanied by photographs (JPG, in high resolution) when possible.