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Fairview Neighbourhood Gathering
In our Fairview Slopes neighbourhood, most residents are a mixture of urban professionals, students, young families, and seniors who live in apartments or condominiums. As long-time residents, we have always been aware that a true sense of community has never existed in our area. Other than the False Creek Community Centre, which is a fifteen-minute walk from our street, there is no central gathering place, and this downhill/uphill walk presents challenges for residents with mobility issues.
On Sunday, July 12, 2015, our organizing committee, which included five representatives from three strata complexes in the 1200 block of West 7th Avenue, hosted our first ever Fairview Neighbourhood Gathering. The event took place in the inner courtyard at 1244 West 7th from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and was a combination barbecue and potluck. A total of seventeen ethnically diverse residents, ranging in age from 6 to 86 years old, and representing several different countries of origin, including Myanmar, England, the US, Korea, and Canada, were active participants.
The main objective of our event was to begin to build a better sense of belonging in the community by bringing together neighbours living in the immediate vicinity to share food, socialize, and get to know one another. Prior to our get-together, social interactions among neighbours living in the three different strata complexes had been almost non-existent. As a result of the event, a more positive relationship among those in attendance has been established and we are off to a good start in terms of encouraging better communication and more frequent interactions among local residents.
The positive outcomes of our event include the following:
• The five members of the organizing committee represented
three neighbouring strata complexes.
• We got to know one another quickly, worked really well
together, realized that we are all longtime residents of the
area, and discovered that we have common interests and
• Since there are only eighteen units in the three strata
complexes, we were pleased to have seventeen participants at
• The participants ranged in age from six to eighty-six, were of
diverse ethnic backgrounds, and represented several different
countries of origin.
• Everyone brought food to share and many helped set up tables
and cleanup afterwards.
• Feedback from participants was very positive and some stayed
longer than the allotted time.
• Thanks to good weather, we were able to stay outside the
The generous funding we received from the Vancouver Foundation was used to rent tables, chairs, plates, and utensils, and to purchase appetizers, non-alcoholic drinks, serviettes, disposable tablecloths, and a few decorations. Attendees provided a variety of appetizers, side dishes, desserts, wine, and other beverages.
We feel that our first effort at community building and neighbourhood improvement was very successful, and we will no doubt repeat the experience in years to come. As the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Although ours was a small step, it was a step in the right direction, especially given that entire neighbourhoods in Vancouver are being disrupted due to demolition of older houses and construction of bigger houses that are not lived in on a regular basis.
Thank you to the Vancouver Foundation and to the Mount Pleasant and Little Mountain Neighborhood Houses for supporting our project and for giving us the opportunity to enhance the quality of life for a small number of residents within the Fairview Slopes community.
Caroline & Barry Krause, 1244 West 7th Avenue
James & Diana Pammenter, 1266 West 7th Avenue
Doreen Clarkson, 1234 West 7th Avenue