Thursday, November 22, 2012

Community and Non-Community in Vancouver

I was in Vancouver (or the Big Mango, as I like to call it) for a Cohousing Fair held Monday night to an over-flow crowd in the Heritage Hall on Main Street.

Cohousing groups, both developed and forming, came from the lower mainland and Vancouver Island to set out their stalls and hear architect and cohousing guru Chuck Durrett give a presentation.

Each group had a table with displays, brochures, pictures, and enthusiastic cohousers eager to talk about their own communities and cohousing in general. The response was fantastic!

The organizers, members of the newest cohousing group in Vancouver, Cedar Cottage Cohousing, had to open the doors early because people were lined up outside in the cold, waiting to get in.

A crowd of 250 or more, including several families with children, listened attentively as Chuck explained the principles of community living and while each group made a short presentation about their own cohousing community.

It was an amazing event to be part of, and it certainly left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling about what we have accomplished here at Pacific Gardens. It lifted up my heart when I heard the emcee say, "What we're trying to do here is change the world!"

And then I left the hall and went out into the world of Vancouver.  What a contrast! People talking on their cell-phones, but not to each other.  People standing grim-faced on the bus.

People glaring at a mother with a cranky baby on the bus, or avoiding the glazed eyes of people begging on the street (and there were lots of those, sadly). People so focused on getting where they wanted to go that they practically knocked you over.

And everywhere, cars, and noise, and somebody selling something in a thousand-and-one stores and on a thousand-and-one signs.  I was so glad to get back to the relative peace-and-quiet of Nanaimo!

And I was especially glad to be back at Pacific Gardens, where our community nurtures and supports us, and a smile or hello is more important than a text on a cell-phone.


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