By Lisa Cyr
This Canada Day, Revelstoke residents are invited to dine in their yards or outside as a way of connecting with each other to celebrate our Canadian values as inclusive, welcoming and caring communities.
Under non-pandemic circumstances, the community normally rallies for the Canada Day parade, followed by events at Queen Elizabeth Park. But this year, the City of Revelstoke has had to cancel its annual festivities.
Recognizing that connected communities are stronger, healthier, and more resilient, the community-wide outdoor dining kick-off event will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. on July 1, and is meant to be the first of many weekly outdoor dinners taking place on Friday nights during July and August.
The event is a great opportunity to show each other what a wonderful and supportive community we live in.
Select local businesses are also stepping up to make dining easier by offering discounts on July 1 as well as Front Yard Feast throughout the summer, when customers mention the campaign.
The hope is that this initiative will also boost the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce’s current #spendinrevy campaign. The event will also be coupled with a weekly challenge, designed to build trust and kindship between neighbours.
Participants are invited to post photos of themselves carrying out the different challenges, (including dining outside) to Vibrant Revelstoke’s Facebook group page (www.facebook.com/groups/vibrantrevelstoke), where all the information, details and updates will be posted.
For local organizers, the event is meant to bring people together to build stronger community ties. “Traditionally, we break bread with those we trust,” said Simon Hunt, one of the event’s organizers.
Hunt has experience in emergency response and recovery, and is part of Vibrant Revelstoke’s Neighbourhood Connections team, which seeks to build community resilience by deepening community and neighbourhood ties.
“By strengthening relationships between one another, we are effectively creating a more resilient community,” Hunt said.
The importance of strengthening neighbourhood connection and deepening community arose as high priorities in the Official Community Plan visioning process, as well as the Big Event, a large, multi-sectoral event hosted by Vibrant Revelstoke last June, where participants discussed current and emerging issues related to affordability.
For Mayor Gary Sulz, the event comes as a positive and viable alternative to the usual Canada Day celebration, highlighting the importance of coming together as a community.
“It is important that as a community we come together to honour our tradition of celebrating our Canadian history, especially now when we cannot be together physically but we can be together socially,” he said.
“The Front Yard Feast will allow us all to follow the provincial health officer’s physical distancing recommendations, while making it possible to celebrate with our neighbours.”
Whether your household decides to make its own food or have a meal delivered, the main goal is to foster community connectedness and build community spirit in this COVID-19 public safety era.
“I encourage the community to come together in this fashion to say Happy Birthday Canada,” said Sulz.
Vibrant Revelstoke is a local affordability initiative made up of businesses, social sector organizations, city officials, and people with lived and living experience.
Together, they identify gaps and opportunities for change and work towards making Revelstoke a more affordable, inclusive and resilient community.