Welcome to the 21st edition of Neighbours helping Neighbours, a bi-weekly newsletter from the neighbourhoods team, with a focus on good news stories, important community updates and an ever growing list of support resources.

If you have ideas for resources to share or shareable stories of kindness, please send them to: neighbourhoods@waterloo.ca

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Ward 5 park updates
The updates to Roselea Park are underway. Lincoln Heights neighbours send a special thanks to Mary Jo Megginson, Marian Monné, Helen Fylactou and Jill Watson (pictured above, left to right) for their fundraising efforts for this community space.

In other park news, upgrades and rehab to Exmoor and Bechtel parks have been completed!
Where: City of Waterloo Museum, located at Conestoga Mall (near the food court)
When: now until to June 18, 2021; Exhibition hours are: Monday to Friday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Admission: is always free.

When the global pandemic was declared, consumer habits shifted drastically as a new reality took hold. The sudden disruption in our routines shifted to survival, and triggered us to reevaluate what we had been entitled to, and seek out the basics. The change was strongly centered among the necessities of life such as food and beverage and health and wellness.

Our homes took on new meaning, and the more time we spent at home, a desire to be self-sufficient took root. Back to baking, preserving, unscheduled family time, dusting off our bikes, gardening, homeschooling, staying connected, and buying local made items are some of the ways we directed our survival focus. We fundamentally started living different lives.

Many of us turned to virtual experiences to learn how to DIY during self-isolation. This survival instinct is the focus of the City of Waterloo Museum’s new exhibit Back 2 Basics Reboot: Timely pieces from our collection. The exhibit examines the trends and changes in our behavior during this sustained period of staying in. The museum staff have looked at our emerging activities and trends throughout the pandemic, and cleverly assembled the historic equivalent from our collection. Each object is timely and historic offering a reboot to redefining the new normal.

For more information, please call 519-885-8828 or visit waterloo.ca/museum
New gaga ball pit in Auburn Park!
Auburn Park just got a whole lot more exciting! Community members in the area of Auburn Park were disheartened when their local playground was vandalized. Neighbours and members of the school community came together to fundraise for a new playground in partnership with the city and the local school. In addition to this excitement, neighbours organized a successful neighbourhood matching fund grant for a new gaga ball pit and benches.

Thanks to the grant organizer, Heidi, for sharing a photo of the gaga ball pit.
Harvest time comes to Lakeshore North community garden
As the Lakeshore North community garden leader, Matthew, describes, COVID-19 caused the Lakeshore North community garden to have a different opening season than originally anticipated. In the early spring this year the allotted garden space in Pinebrook Park was only a lonely, square, clay, mud pit. With money raised through fundraising and the neighbourhood matching fund, volunteers built five raised bed plots and six in-ground plots. These changes added 720 ft2 of growing space! With COVID-19 guidelines in place for community gardens, community members were still able to make the most out of the new garden.

Gardener, Dianne, shared some feedback on the experience, “Being new to the community, it has been a really nice way to meet some neighbours and share our interest in gardening. It also provides great exercise and entertainment during the pandemic. As seniors, we are very limited to where we can visit, so the garden has been our outside entertainment. We are now enjoying the fruits of our labour as we pick and enjoy our delicious vegetables. Thank you, City of Waterloo and also a big thanks to Matthew R. for his part too.”
At home gardening tips from the Waterloo Horticultural Society
In this edition, Waterloo Horticultural Society member, Kathy Pearson shares details about freezing and drying vegetables and herbs!

Parsnips, horseradish, kale and salsify can be kept over the winter in the garden. Carrots, beets and turnips can stay in the ground until there is a hard frost. Once items are harvested, process as soon as possible and use the best of the crop for freezing.

Vegetables that may be kept in the freezer very well include: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, chard, corn, herbs, kale, peas, sweet pipes, pumpkin, rhubarb, spinach, winter squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini. No special equipment is needed for freezing but consult a reputable source for the method needed and safe storage time. Foodland Ontario is a good resource for recipes for produce and freezing.

Now is a good time to pot up foliage herbs that you want to try indoors as a house plant for the winter. Herbs with a high water content like basilchivesmintdill, and cilantro can be frozen on a cookie sheet then stored in bags afterwards. Raw herbs will keep frozen for about eight months. 

To dry herbs, pick a three to six inch tip. Remove any spoiled foliage and rinse away dirt lightly with a spray. Dry the herbs quickly between sheets of paper towel. Spread the herbs on a screening lined with cheese cloth or on cheese cloth in a basket. Herbs that can be picked in long enough branches to be tied loosely together may be hung upside down to dry. Store in a dry, well ventilated, warm dark room to dry. In ten days to two weeks when leaves are cracking dry, strip them from the stem and pack whole into small jars for kitchen use. 

Stay tuned for more at home gardening tips in the next edition!

Image courtesy of: Foodland Ontario
"Becoming an Active Bystander," Online Porch Chat, Sept 24
Facilitated by the Mennonite Central Committee, in this Porch Chat participants will discuss the theory and practice behind being an active bystander.

This Porch Chat is part of a series facilitated in partnership with the Keep Families Safe Coalition. With heightened stress and isolation due to the pandemic, the Keep Families Safe Coalition strives to prevent family violence in the Region of Waterloo. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of Waterloo Neighbourhoods.
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Waterloo Neighbourhoods is published throughout the year to keep residents informed about the good things happening in neighbourhoods across Waterloo. If you have any questions or comments, please call 519-747-8515 or email communications@waterloo.ca. If you’re reading Waterloo Neighbourhoods as a non-subscriber, visit our subscription page to sign up for future editions.

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