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  • Writer's pictureAl Parrish

Building Community and A Home for it

One of the best ways to test your own learning is to try to teach the subject. And for us, the subject is cohousing.


About 10 of us from our recently-amalgamated GrassRoutesand Speedvale Cohousing groups (now under the name GrassRoutes), were sitting around in the back forest, under a gigantic evergreen, last weekend. We were enjoying a warm, sunny day with a light breeze, in the dappled shade of the native trees and plants that Vicki and Mike have so lovingly planted and fostered. We were sipping coffee or freshly squeezed lemonade. It was idyllic.


Then Richard dropped in…


… and things got even better.


Richard is an award-winning writer for the Guelph Todaynewspaper. He came in and sat with us, we introduced ourselves, and we had a great chance to chat with him about cohousing in general and about GrassRoutes specifically. He asked the right sort of questions and listened to our answers. Then he asked all the right follow-up questions. All the while he was taking notes and his recorder was running so that he would get everything just right. And I’m pretty sure he did. After a while, he thanked us and headed off to cover another event in Guelph, that he was writing about (Ribfest, I think).


Then we GrassRoutes-ers headed off for a social event. We have lots of ‘business’ to do as we build a home for our community: we work with engineers, architects, consultants, planners, and the city. We work legal issues, financial matters, on building design – inside and out – landscaping, water and soil testing, zoning issues, site plans, etc. But the business of a community is also to build community. Not simply a building to live in but an intentional, functioning, interactive, happy, social community. Social events are a great way of doing this.


Our day continued to be beautiful for our activity - canoeing and/or walking through Guelph, winding our way down the Speed River and ending up at the Boathouse for ice cream. It is a nice way for all of us to continue the process of getting to know each other better. For me, it was also another chance to get to know Guelph better. I am awaiting the time when someone in Guelph asks me for directions around town and I can give them confidently and accurately – not just yet, but I’m learning.


After our social event, we all returned to our current homes in the diaspora. We all look forward to living in our eventual home on Speedvale but, in the meantime, we get to hang out together when we can, and wait to read Richard’s article in Guelph Today.


UPDATE: it appears that we are good teachers and/or Richard is a great student.




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