Elijah snake

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Elijah Rae Mon Jul 15th

Hey everyone! Just a quick update from the story I posted on Friday to inform you that the City of Neighbours event was an absolute success! For those interested, here’s a little recap of my journey through London:


I started the day off by going to my most-anticipated event, Pet Mr. Fish. The entire activity was centered around driving out to pet a very cute cat, which I figured would be an easy, yet wholesome, way to start the day. To my dismay, I arrived at The Coves and walked through the nature trail to find no cute cat there. While there was no cats for me to pet, I still got the day started by going for a peaceful walk through The Coves; still starting my day off in a wholesome manner. 


After this, I visited the Family Fun Day hosted by the great people over at Campus Creative. They had everything that could keep a family entertained: A wall of video games, a photo booth, a tour of their 3D printing lab, and the main event, a petting zoo. That’s right, they genuinely gave you the opportunity to hold and/or pet a boa constrictor. Which I did. And it was terrifying.


After seeing my life flash before my eyes due to the 50 pound carnivore that was just chilling on my shoulders, I attended a peaceful meditation session at Ivey Park in an installation built by Cornerstone Architecture. It was a great way to unwind and get away from any stress that I may have been feeling that day. This activity definitely brought the community together in a way that could be fun and engaging for those who may have never meditated before, and the turnout was great as a result of their welcoming nature; however, while this activity was a great way to enjoy some time with yourself, the next activity I attended really captured the feeling of togetherness and community-building that City of Neighbours is all about.


I was lucky enough to visit the lovely people over at the CNIB London Community Hub. For those who may not know, the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) Foundation offers innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion. They started me off with a brief description of Braille and how the reading system came into existence. Following this was a Braille Scavenger Hunt, which was easily the most fun I had during my run of activities. I was tasked with reading visual clues and words written in braille in order to translate them into answers which led me to my prize; and I have to say it was one of the most engaging ways to be educated that I’ve ever experienced. After the scavenger hunt, Vera Orsini, who doubles as the Coordinator for Regional Operations for CNIB Ontario West as well as the kindest person I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, showcased some of the incredible programs and services offered to blind and low-vision individuals; the most intriguing of which is a program called Phone It Forward. The program aims to get people to donate their used smartphones, in exchange for a tax receipt, and CNIB will wipe and refurbish the phone with a suite of accessible apps. Afterwards, the newly refurbished phone will be given to someone with sight loss along with training on how to use the revamped phone. CNIB are always looking for donations for the Phone It Forward program, as well as volunteers that would like to help out at the London location;  if you’re interested and would like more information, I encourage you to visit the CNIB London Community Hub at 171 Queens Ave Unit 101 or visit their website at cnib.ca to sign up for their email lists. You can also find out what’s happening in Ontario West by calling their events line at 1-844-377-0991.


Following my time at CNIB, I visited a Give and Take Library where in order to take a book, you needed to leave one in return. It was a great little pop-up shop that encouraged Londoners to expand their knowledge and help someone in their community learn something new. Unfortunately after this activity, some heavy rain wiped out a good majority of the activities going on for City of Neighbours which lead me to the end of the event. 


Overall, I thought this event was a great time! For anyone who is looking to get out and explore what London has to offer, this the best event to look out for. City of Neighbours did a spectacular job at showcasing how beautiful London can be, especially when our community comes together.


That’s it for me! I’ll be at Home County this coming weekend so if you plan on attending, don’t hesitate to pay me a visit at the Radio Western booth. If there’s a festival that you’d like to see me at, send me an email at elijah@radiowestern.ca!