Welcome to the 34th 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

PS ~ Follow us on Instagram! For Neighbourhoods content follow us @citywaterloo and tag us #CityofWaterloo to share stories and happenings from your neighbourhood. 
Neighbour shout-outs!
The City of Waterloo wants to recognize people who do something great, big or small, in their neighbourhood. Nominations will be accepted year-round and every nominee will receive a thank you package.

How can you get involved?

  • Submit a quick and easy nomination to describe your kind neighbour’s contributions
  • Help spread the word about this new program
  • Be a caring and kind neighbour!

Spotted: Neighbourhood Kindness!
Edmund shares: Kae does a lot of work for the MACA group which is our neighbourhood association. She is constantly putting effort into helping to organize and publicize community events. She voluntarily distributes the Waterloo Chronicle in our area. She is willing to help out in things that need to be taken care of when neighbours are away.
Small child wearing a white and apron proudly holding a tray of heart-shaped cookies.
Sharing the love of food
Westvale neighbourhood block connector, Breanne, found a way to bring neighbours together virtually this Valentine's Day. Meals Without Madness offered kid-friendly cooking classes to make some sweet treats over Zoom. The events were organized for a variety of ages to participate and celebrate the day with neighbours. 
Library Staff Support Vaccination Rollout Across Waterloo Region
Adults 80 years of age and older, who have pre-registered for the COVID-19 vaccine, will be getting a phone call in the coming days and weeks from the staff of one of our local library systems to book their vaccination appointment.

Staff of Kitchener Public Library, Waterloo Public Library, Idea Exchange (Cambridge), and Region of Waterloo Library (serving the townships) have offered to navigate the online appointment system so everyone in our vulnerable older population – who has indicated a phone call is their preferred way to be contacted – is booked for their immunization.

This week, Waterloo Region began vaccinating the 80 and older age group, alongside health care workers, as part of Phase One of the rollout of the vaccine. Older adults are at higher risk for severe illness than younger populations which is why they have been prioritized for immunization.

Dominoes, Checkers and Uno games displayed on a table
Staying active indoors and outdoors!
Glasgow Heights II Homes Association organized a variety of COVID-19 safe opportunities this winter to keep neighbours connected. One idea included outdoor snow tools for neighbours to use in greenspace and another included the purchase of giant games for neighbours to use within individual households. 
Backyard and Community Fires
A group of residents interested in backyard fires recently made a presentation to Council, asking for consideration to allow residential backyard fires in the City of Waterloo. Council has asked staff to look into the feasibility of backyard fires and get a wider opinion from the general public on this topic. Recognizing that not all our residents live in properties suited for backyard fires, staff are also giving consideration to community fire spaces in approved neighbourhood parks.

City staff are interested in your feedback on recreational fires: backyard fires, and community fires in park spaces. If the City were to allow recreational fires, new regulations and an update to the Open Air Burning by-law (2011-124) would be required. While this survey includes questions about possible regulations, the overall question of allowing recreational fires also is still before Council/undecided.

Please take a few moments to share your thoughts. The survey will be open through the end of March 31, 2021.
Bags of dog poop hanging from a fence
Let's talk about dog poop and dog leashes!
Dog poop, dog leashes and dog waste recycling containers! Three hot topics for you to provide feedback on. Visit Engage Waterloo and share your thoughts on how we can solve these challenges together, and to suggest locations for five new dog waste recycling containers!
Rink season has ended
This winter, community rinks have provided safe opportunities for physical activity, outdoor fun, and neighbourly connections.
Thank you to our dedicated rink volunteers for all of your hard work this season.
Register for day camps
We are offering day camps to keep your kids entertained during school breaks. Check out the week-long Stop Motion Animation Camp. You can also take a look at the Waterloo Region Esports camp for kids aged 12 - 19, and the Jumpstart day camps.
Multicultural Calendar:
  • March 19-20 ~ Naw Ruz (Bahá’í / Persian New Year). The beginning of the new year under the Persian calendar. It welcomes the arrival of spring with various rituals, traditions, and festivals. It is celebrated in Iran and in various ethno-linguistic communities around the world. (Iran / International)
  • March 20 ~ International Francophonie Day. A day to celebrate the French language, culture, and values. (International)
  • March 20 ~ Spring Equinox. According to Wiccans, this date marks the beginning of Spring, and is one of two days in the year when there are approximately equal amounts of day and night time. (International)
  • March 21 ~ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Declared by the UN, this day remembers the damaging effects of racial discrimination and is a reminder to continue building a world with justice and equality. (International)
  • March 21 ~ International Day of Nowruz (Iranian / Persian New Year). The word Nowruz means ‘new day’. Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21. It is celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people all around the world and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and other regions.
  • March 21 ~ World Down Syndrome Day. A day to raise public awareness of Down syndrome and the effective and meaningful inclusion and participation of all people with Down Syndrome in spaces where decisions are being made about matters relating to or affecting their lives.
  • March 24 ~ International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. This day was started in remembrance of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador who was assassinated in 1980 for denouncing violations of human rights. Its purpose is to honour the memories of victims and heroes whose lives were devoted or lost in the pursuit of human rights or its denial therein.
  • March 25 ~ International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This is a United Nations international observation that offers the opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. First observed in 2008, the international day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.
  • March 27 – Apr 4 ~ Pesach (Passover). The Passover starts on the 15th day of Nisan, the first ecclesiastical month of the Jewish year. It commemorates the Exodus of Egypt and the nation’s freedom under the leadership of Moses. (Jewish)
  • March 28 ~ Birth of Prophet Zarathustra. This day celebrates the birth of Zarathustra, an Iranian prophet and reformer who was recognized as the founder of an ancient pre-Islamic religion known as Zoroastrianism. (Zoroastrian)
  • March 28 ~ Palm Sunday. A Christian celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem the week prior to his death and resurrection, which marks the start of Passion Week. (Christian)
  • March 29 ~ Holi. A Hindu spring festival, originating from India, celebrated predominantly in India but has also spread to Nepal and many other Western countries, also known as the "festival of colours" or the "festival of love.” (Hindu)
  • March 31 ~ International Transgender Day of Visibility. The annual holiday dedicated to celebrating trans people and raising awareness of the discrimination they face worldwide. (International)

Source: Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion
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