Won't You Be My Neighbour?
Hey everyone! After a couple weeks break from blogging, I’m back to fill you in on an upcoming event happening in London that I’m really excited to experience!
So far, I’ve been lucky enough to participate--on behalf of Radio Western--in many festivals this summer such as Bark in the Park, London International Food & Craft Beer Fest, and Sunfest; however, the event happening this weekend aims to be a city-wide event unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
How so? Well, for starters, this event is entirely run by people like YOU.
City of Neighbours, a spiritual successor of last year’s 100in1Day event, is a “people-powered festival” taking place on Saturday, July 13th for the first time in which people from all over London have volunteered their time to run multiple activities all over the city that anyone is free to participate in. There are already 50+ activities taking place across London that one can participate in with more activities still being added.
Heenal Rajani, the organizer behind the City of Neighbours festival, has his sights set on one particular activity. “One activity I’m really looking forward to checking out is called The Confluence. It’s in Ivey Park, and an architecture firm, Cornerstone Architecture, [is] creating this temporary structure. It’s going to be a labyrinth that you can go into, and in the centre will be all kinds of activities taking place. They’ve created this physical space in which there will be yoga, meditation, and all kinds of other activities.”
Ever wanted to learn some Braille? There’s an activity for it. Maybe you’ve been wanting to become one with your mind and body by finding your zen? There’s multiple yoga and meditation activities ready to be attended by the public. There’s even an activity (in fact, it’s one of my most anticipated activities) titled “Pet Mr. Fish”. For those curious as to what the activity entails, the description beautifully sums up the activity: “Come by The Coves [at 99 Springbank Drive] to visit with the world's softest black cat, Mr. Fish. Experience what it's like to pet a tiny panther. Or jaguar. We aren't sure what the difference is.” An activity like this seems so simple in nature, but that’s part of what makes it the perfect activity for this event; you don’t need to form a massive gathering or have access to a building in order to host or participate in an event like this, you just need to have the desire to be interactive with your community.
The previously mentioned Confluence activity describes itself as “an architectural installation with the goal to combat urban loneliness through connection and belonging”. This got me thinking about what exactly caught Rajani’s interest in this particular installation, and it became apparent that this activity, essentially, encapsulates the entire objective of City of Neighbours: Coming together to help each other through a community-driven setting. Whether it be the people who are volunteering their time to help run an activity or anyone, such as yourself, who wants to check out the activities taking place, London has a beautiful community filled with people willing to help each other, and Rajani wants to showcase that. “The fact that there are so many people who are interested in doing something [as part of City of Neighbours] is really exciting to me, and I think it has huge potential for this beautiful city and what it could become if we continue working together”, says Rajani. Rajani is hoping that community-lead activities can be more common thanks to an event like this, and even hopes that some of the activities taking place on Saturday could blossom into a consistent occurrence outside of the City of Neighbours event.
For more information on getting involved with this event, go to Cityofneighbours.ca to find a map with listings of all the activities taking place across London this Saturday. Events are still being added so make sure to keep checking in to find out which activities are taking place near you! Be sure to use the hashtag #cityofneighbours while participating in the activities to share your fun with your friends, and we’ll see you there!
That’s it for me this week. You can catch me at City of Neighbours this weekend and the Home County Festival next weekend (July 19th-21st). If there’s a festival that you’d like to see me at, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org !