Our Regent Park Community Manager, Denise Soueidan-O’Leary, wrote this piece for the February 2021 issue of the bridge, a community newspaper. We are republishing with permission.
The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) has called Regent Park home for the past eight years, building deep connections with the community from the third floor of the Daniels Spectrum building on Dundas Street East. We have worked with the Social Development Plan and the Community Civic Engagement Collaborative, curating the Regent Park Community Newsletter, running the Regent Park Potluck, starting Regent Park Open Mic nights, and partnering in many neighbourhood initiatives. We are committed to making this vibrant community stronger every day.
Last October we launched the Every One Every Day: Toronto Our Neighbourhood Project, modelled after the British Participatory Cities framework for resident engagement. The purpose of the project is to grow, build and connect social ecosystems – especially important during this time of physical distancing and increased social isolation. Building social capital and linking with social ecosystems is the foundation of strengthening any community, and it is particularly true in Regent Park.
Our Neighbourhood Project’s first phase ran from October to December, with more than 100 residents signed up. With community partners like Art Heart, Green Thumbs Growing Kids, Just Vertical, WOSEN, and others, we ran 30 workshops in six weeks that engaged 130 participants in community mural painting, hydroponic growing, cooking together, yoga, tree planting and even entrepreneurial journaling! We were able to do a few workshops in person, observing social distancing, but also successfully moved much programming online to respect COVID-19 restrictions.
Phase 1 of the our neighbourhood project ran over six weeks:
The second phase is currently under way. We have released four new project starter kits into the community:
- Our Neighbourhood Pollinates: designing pollinator gardens to support natural ecosystems;
- Our Neighbourhood Reads: sharing books and stories, and creating story installations, story walks, and book exchanges;
- Our Neighbourhood Blooms: planning and planting beautiful gardens in public spaces; and
- Our Neighbourhood Stories: building a living tour of Regent Park to connect neighbours and collect their stories.
We would love to have you join the project! For more information and to sign up, check out the Every One Every Day: Toronto project on the Centre for Social Innovation website. Send questions to everyoneeveryday[at]socialinnovation[dot]ca.
This opportunity is open to everyone, of every age and demographic, as long as you are living or working in Regent Park. Registration is open until the end of February.