Happy 2021!

This 29th edition of Neighbours helping Neighbours, shares heartwarming stories of connections made in physically distanced ways throughout December.

This is 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

PS ~ We'd love for you to forward this issue to at least one other person who shares our love of all things neighbourhoods, then suggest they subscribe through the link at the bottom or waterloo.ca/subscribe
MacGregor Albert festivities
The MacGregor Albert Community Association found new ways to celebrate with neighbours during the 2020 holiday season. The group arranged a neighbourhood decorating contest for participating homes and also enjoyed some outdoor physically distanced carols. These festive opportunities helped the neighbourhood stay connected this winter. 
Spreading hope in Lakeshore North
Lakeshore North block connectors encouraged neighbours to spread hope and light this winter with a neighbourhood lantern walk. Neighbours participated by creating lanterns at home and sharing their location for a neighbourhood walking route. Community members then took a winter walk with their household to see the lanterns representing hope and light this season throughout Lakeshore North.
Playground equipment can get icy!
During the winter months, playgrounds in our parks may be covered in snow and ice. Please take care and use playground equipment with caution. 
Hello Neighbours surprise
Staying home has been hard for many and with the lockdown measures now in place, Sarah and her family decided to put together some care packages to brighten the spirits of older adult neighbours on their street. They put together care packages with goodies from local businesses including Sabletine, La Fromagerie and J&J Cards for their neighbours to enjoy and keep busy while staying home.
Sarah is a neighbourhood block connector who had only met a few neighbours since moving to a new home a few months ago. With each delivery she asked if her neighbours knew someone else who could use a surprise. It was a great opportunity to meet some new neighbours, introduce themselves, make new connections and spread some cheer.
Bringing cheer and making connections
As a block connector in Lakeshore North, Nancy felt the 2020 holiday season could use some extra cheer and connection. With the help of a pandemic mini grant, neighbours were encouraged to participate in a Hope and Light Lantern activity run by block connector Kelly and were also given a small treat to enjoy after a wintery day. Hot chocolate bombs were a hit with neighbours as a great way to enjoy some time with their household. This care and kindness went a long way in connecting neighbours! 
City servicing three more trails for winter use
In recognition of reduced recreational opportunities due to COVID-19 this winter, the city is increasing services levels in an effort to provide three additional walking/hiking opportunities.

Residents can use the trails and roadway networks at Mount Hope Cemetery, Parkview Cemetery and Bechtel Park Woodlot, and Clair Creek Trail (located between Sundew Drive and Columbia Forest Blvd at Erbsville Rd).

Washroom facilities will be open at the Parkview Cemetery and Bechtel Park Woodlot location and will be accessible at the Manulife Centre daily from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.).

Walkers/hikers are reminded to please maintain two metre physical distance when using trails and walkways throughout the city unless with members of the same household. Wearing a mask, even outdoors, is recommended.

The cemetery locations both have relatively flat asphalt surfaces and benches to sit and rest when needed. The Clair Creek Trail is a longer (approximately 2 km), and more natural trail experience.

Upper Beechwood Holiday Walk
The Upper Beechwood #1 Homeowner’s Association (UB1) hosted a social-distanced Holiday Walk around the neighbourhood on December 10. There was a contest for the best decorated house and a scavenger hunt to find the snowflakes hidden along the walk route. Neighbours enjoyed a special treat as they walked by the pool house from a local Waterloo bakery, Sabletine Patisserie. 

Over 80 families participated in the physically distanced walk with a great mix of neighbours from the very young in strollers to the young at heartThe event raised over $1,550 and 302 lbs of food for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region.
Safe use of outdoor rinks
Under COVID-19 restrictions, neighbourhood rinks are only for physical recreation, not for gathering or socializing. Please visit them only with the members of your own household.

Visit the outdoor rink webpage for more information.
Blood. It's in you to give.
By scheduling an hour of your time to donate blood, you could be giving someone a lifetime! Blood donors are needed in Waterloo to help patients in our community and across Canada. Blood donations are needed for patients undergoing surgery, cancer treatment, routine medical treatments for various diseases and disorders, trauma accidents, and much more.

The Waterloo Donor Centre is located at 94 Bridgeport Rd E. Open six days a week. Appointments are required to ensure physical distancing.

For more information visit Canadian Blood Services.
It's easy to become a Block Connector
Feeling inspired by the stories of great neighbours you've heard here lately?

We are looking for additional block connectors to help grow the program and reduce isolation through neighbourly outreach. Block connectors can reside in any neighbourhood block or area in Waterloo; including multi-residential housing such as apartment buildings, condos or other clustered homes. Areas can be inside and outside of existing neighbourhood and homes association boundaries.

Those interested in becoming a block connector will participate in a virtual orientation session to discuss the role and program conditions under the pandemic; and will work with staff to coordinate connection opportunities that are appropriate for their area.

Full requirements are posted on the Neighbourhoods webpage.

Email the neighbourhoods team for further information.
Coming soon!
Stay tuned for 'What's for Dinner Wednesdsay?' This new weekly series will share take out ideas/meal options from local businesses and serve up a side of history.

Information available on the City of Waterloo Museum on Instagram or Facebook. Support local!
Multicultural Calendar:
  • January 6 ~ Epiphany. A Christian festival held in honour of the coming of the three kings to the infant Jesus Christ. (Christian)
  • January 7 ~ Orthodox Christmas/Feast of the Nativity. The equivalent of December 25th on the Julian calendar. Many Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas day on or near this date. (Orthodox Christian)
  • January 13 ~ Lohri is a popular winter time Punjabi folk festival, celebrated primarily by Sikhs and Hindus from the Punjab region of Indian subcontinent. (Sikh/Hindu)
  • January 13 ~ Maghi is the annual festival and one of the seasonal gathering of the Sikhs. (Sikh)
  • January 14 ~ Orthodox New Year. The start of the new year under the Julian calendar. (Orthodox Christian)
  • January 20 ~ Martin Luther King Jr. Day. American federal holiday which marks the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and falls on the third Monday of January, close to King's actual birthday on January 15. (United States)

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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