The Eton Street Community BBQ was an event planned to bring together folks from our micro-community (2 apartment buildings). We felt that people are so often busy going to & from work or involved in the many activities that make up our daily lives, that we don’t have the chance to connect with those in our immediate vicinity (or even our own building). We planned to foster a sense of community & belonging by intentionally bringing together the residents of our building and the building next door for a brief, casual event where we could get to know each other.
We had an ice-breaker based on guessing what city each person was born in, which was a fun & interactive way to learn some information about our neighbours. Many folks from our building helped to set up the food, drinks & BBQ, and also to clean up everything at the end of the event. We had recycling stations set up to help to reduce waste. We were also able to invite folks from the neighbourhood who just happened to be passing by, so we were able to extend the reach of the event a bit.
We had an excellent turnout, and an age range from early 20s to 80s. We have a resident in our building in her 80s who in in poor health and rarely ever leaves her apartment. She was hesitant to come to the BBQ when we initially invited her, but on the day she was the very first person to show up, and stayed for the entire event! We also had an interesting “it’s a small world” moment where one of the folks from our building was getting to know one of the people who we had invited as she was passing by (lives on the same street, a few buildings down from us). While they were chatting, they realized that not only had they both gone to the same university in Alberta, but that they both were friends with one of the professors there!
From these few hours spent in each others’ company we learned more about our neighbours than most of us have after having lived in the neighbourhood for years. Now when we see each other in the building, parkade or in the neighbourhood, we have a common ground & feel a sense of community & belonging that wasn’t there before. We believe that we’ve also encouraged the “pay it forward” attitude & look forward to more events like this in our community.

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