West End stories: the Water Lady, Saturdays at the Fitness Centre, and more
Participants of W.E. Connect workshops chose these stories to be shared widely. The stories were submitted by community members through the West End Experiences Survey.
Read these stories, then reply below: What characteristics or qualities of the West End do you see in these stories?
The Water Lady!
During the last two heat waves this year, one woman was sitting on a sidewalk patio with an adult beverage with her friends and asking (and getting consent) to spray people with a water gun. She was such a bully personality who understood the situation and provided some hilarity and relief. These are the types of people in the West End. It is a small community feel at the footsteps of the big city. It's connected but also secluded and the individuals in the community are what make it feel like home.
Saturdays at the Fitness Centre
My partner and I went to a community centre fitness class every Saturday morning for over three years. It had an extremely affordable drop-in rate which helped as we were students and just starting out in the city. The class was special in that people of all ages came to it to work out. The friends we made in the class led to waves on the sidewalk as we moved about the community during the week recognizing people as we ran our errands. Babies were born and brought to the class, news was shared, and brunch was had after the class. Covid hit and the class hasn't been there since. We miss it, we miss our little Saturday community, and I hope that however the community centre shapes up that there continues to be accessible, and importantly, affordable options for community building.
I live in the West End and love it here because of the diversity in housing, ages of people and incomes. This community has so much character. I love seeing people gather in the little parklets and often stop to talk to my neighbours there. People take pride in gardening as well. I'm part of a community garden at Nelson Park and there is connection and support.
Spring Time in the West End
I've lived in the West End for 14 years since I was in my late 20s. What I love most about living in the West End is watching the trees and plants bloom and blossom again every spring. How Barlcay becomes filled in with tree cover each April and May. How the rhododendron garden blooms in April. How the cherry blossoms explode in May. This is one of the most special experiences of the West End for me.
What characteristics or qualities of the West End do you see in these stories?