Value of Community at Westfest

Some of you are probably gearing up for the annual Westfest: live music, artists, and activities for the entire family. Westfest is an Ottawa street festival that shouldn’t be missed. It’s free and is accessible for people from all Ottawa communities and neighborhoods as well as all age groups!  Living in the Westboro neighborhood, I can certainly say that the festival fosters energy not found at other Ottawa attractions. A celebration of Canadian artists coupled with buskers and street performers, Westfest is a terrific way to cross paths with your community. I really like watching the Buskers. They draw the artistic energy from me.  

What is community? What does community mean to you? It’s often defined as the people living in one place. Broadening this definition to include the building of relationships and creation of experiences is extremely important. This can be as simple as chatting with your local shop owners, bankers, and transportation workers or appreciating the nature around you and enjoying local restaurants. The importance of neighborhood  is immeasurable and can very well determine how at ease you feel in your home. In fact studies show that the closer your house is to a café the higher the value of the property – indicating the significance of a location that encourages business and community  facilities.

Look at Westfest as an opportunity to form new friendships with people: enjoy a cold beer with your buddies while taking in the festivities or discover a new band with your friends. When you develop a sense of community, your home becomes increasingly more valuable to you and your family. Memories and good times with the people around you are worth more than anything you can put a price tag on.
This summer is a great time to meet the community businesses – there are plenty of other events, and attractions taking place in the coming months that allow the same possibilities! Consider the outting goods stores will soon be featuring the canoe and kayak trials. Take a boat for a spin! It’s free. Until then, stay cool and don’t forget the sunscreen!

See you at Westfest; I’ll be easy to spot: the Real Estate broker with the direction sign posted on his shoulder!  Martin Elder

Values of a Community, Reflected in a House

Just returned from a business trip to New Orleans and visited the botanical gardens. Tucked into a corner near the reception centre is a lovely little house built with an exterior cladding of small mirrors pasted to the entire envelope of the house. The walls and roof are made of a composite of 8.5 X 11 sized mirrors. The house has a shiny chrome like finish as though the exterior was built of armour squares from a long unused museum piece of medieval armour. The faceted mirrors recall the look of reflective scales of a metallic reptile. Then again, I think of the brilliant surface of solar panels attached to an space craft. The mirrored house is a thought provoking garden sculpture.

So I had to ask why am I intrigued by the shiny little house? What does the house reflect? Could the house reflect the happenings of the neighbourhood. That’s possible on a philosophic level. Social values are strongly reflected in architecture and building materials. The size of a home reflects the wealth of a community as we surely like to associate with others who are at a similar wealth bracket as our own. Higher wealth is OK but never lower. Communities are like palisades of similar values. That sounds mighty but the reality is that there is an assortment or homes and people in a community and that make a diversity. More interesting to live in diversity of styles, peoples and cultures. People are happier in a complex network of familiar differences