community engagement

Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden Turns 30!

Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden Turns 30!

 The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden (HSCG) celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Initiated by Jim Hollicky in 1989, the garden boasts 33 plots for residents in Hillhurst Sunnyside, and has served as a great connector of residents.

Garden Leader, Richard Smith and his partner Buff Smith have been involved with the garden for 12 years. They moved from Peace River — where they maintained a huge garden — to their home in Sunnyside — which has a small and shaded backyard — and sought a space to grow some veggies. Buff says, “We saw [the garden] and I asked about it (because I always chat people up). We thought it would take a while and just kept asking every two weeks until finally they were like ‘*sigh* okay here’. We were so lucky the way it all happened.”

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Buff and Richard speak about the community and connection that makes the HSCG such an excellent tool for residents to engage with one another. Richard says the greatest reward has been the gardeners. He says, “[It’s a] great group of people. They really are excellent. And a number of them have become friends. People that you see on the street and chat with and talk about gardening and other stuff are the best part.”

Buff agrees, “Definitely the people [are the greatest reward] and the fact that you get to run over and pick fresh vegetables too.”

But the garden is not without its obstacles. Richard says routinely weather is the biggest challenge. He says, “Hailstorm in a garden and it looks like somebody put it through a shredder. It’s pretty disappointing.”

Another challenge, the duo says, can be gardeners with an agenda and who may not be so community minded. Richard says, “It’s the same in any group of people, 95% of them are willing to do their bit and volunteer and then there’s 5% who don’t and they can be a pain. There are obligations like coming to the spring clean up and fall clean up and some people just don’t and it’s frustrating. But as I say, it’s 5% of the time. A small minority.”

Buff believes this is “Only because it’s a community garden, so it’s not just about growing the produce it’s about growing the community. When there are people who only want to come and garden then that’s their expectation and that’s all they want to do, so you have to recognize that not everyone thinks community is important.”

The HSCG also produces a lot of compostable material and Richard mentioned that the City’s compost program has been a barrier for the garden financially. In order to eliminate their black cart, the garden took on two green carts, but this changed their status and the price per month skyrocketed. He says, “It cost us over $1100 to have two green carts. It’s $75 per month per cart because we’re classified as commercial. So that’s a challenge right now.

Our total revenues are only $1540 for the plots. And if we’re spending $1100 for compost we can’t do it. So I’m trying to get Waste and Recycling to classify us as residential.

I’m hearing from other community gardens that they’re not using the green carts, they’re doing something else, so there isn’t pressure right now from other community gardens.”

And what do they and HSCG gardeners hope for the next 30 years of gardening? Richard says, “We need more community gardens. There must be 60 people on the HSCG waitlist right now. And it’s at least a two year wait to get on a plot. There are 33 plots in our garden and there were 4 vacancies this year and that’s kind of typical. I think it was a similar case with the Kensington Community First Garden. I hear there’s some talk with Bow to Bluff and Sunnyside Shared garden and making that into an allotment garden.”

Community gardens are important for Hillhurst Sunnyside residents. Richard says, “It brings people together and helps to create community. And aligns with so many other things the community association does like drop in badminton, soccer, potluck nights and stuff. It brings people together. And gives them an opportunity to donate some produce to Fresh Food Basket. And there are people who share their gardens, or their skills and expertise to help others out.”

Buff says community gardens such as HSCG, “Allow people who live in the city and don’t have access to a plot to grow fresh food and feed their family better. And get back to the dirt. There are people who have never gardened before and they’re so intimidated and then when they get their first crops their so excited to be eating fresh stuff.”

We hope that HSCG enjoys another amazing 30 years (and more!) and that community gardens in our neighbourhood will continue to grow (pun intended) and flourish.

Written by Jessica Clark, Communications Manager

Neighbour Day Events in Hillhurst Sunnyside

Hillhurst Sunnyside Community | Neighbour Day Happenings June 15th

Neighbour day is coming up on June 15th and there are so many exciting things happening in Hillhurst Sunnyside for you to enjoy! See below for this year's exciting events and click through the links for more details:

Bowview Pool OPENS- The Bowview Outdoor Swimming pool opens up to the public. Lessons are currently taking registrations!

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Community Wide Yard Sales-  9am-2pm between Kensington Road & 5th Ave NW, visit the streets of 10A, 11th, 11A, 12th, and 13th (and beyond??) It’s back! The super-duper, you-won’t-wanna-miss-it: Kensington-Wide Yard-Sale Day! For 18 years (and counting), neighbors have pillaged their attics & storage spaces to find all kinds of interesting things to offer for sale--AND, as an added perk, there are always some young entrepreneurs offering up tasty treats to eat, too.

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Sunnyside Park Party- A community-led event at New Edinborough Park from 3-7pm complete with live music, games, baby racing and more! Donations welcome to make this event a success! 

Hillhurst Block Party BBQ- 3-7pm at 1700 Block Bowness Road NW. If you live in Hillhurst come out for some games and food! Donations welcome to make this event a success! 

Framed on Fifth Sidewalk and Backyard Festival Framed on Fifth invites you to meet your Calgary area artists.  Chat, watch them work and check out their skills  and finished artworks in front of our gallery and in our open backyard.

Food Forest Pilot Project - Please note this project has been postponed. Stay tuned for future updates.

Community Planning and Engagement Update for June

Community Planning and Engagement

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee (HSPC) will be meeting on Tuesday June 11, 2019 from 7-9pm. All community residents are welcome! Agendas and past minutes are posted on www.hsca.ca/meetings.

Please help us welcome the applicant’s team at Ocgrow and architects at Riddell Kurczaba as they provide an update on the proposed development at 211-221 14 St NW (site of the yellow National Transmission auto garage on the west side of 14 St between Kensington Rd and 2 Ave).

Want to volunteer? HSPC is looking for more representation from Sunnyside and condo neighbours. All are welcome – guests, students and whether you rent or own your home or have a business in the neighbourhood. Please bring your ideas and an open mind. Contact lisa.c@hsca.ca.

Ocgrow | 211-221 14 St NW (National Transmission Building)

Ocgrow has submitted a rezoning and ARP amendment application for this site for a 26m (8-storey), 5 FAR mixed use building (ARP limit of 20m or 6 storeys and 4 FAR). Because this is a proposed change to bylaw, the application will need to go through City Council for their final decision.

The due date for community comments is Monday, June 10, 2019. For information or to provide comments, please contact the City of Calgary File Manager at matt.rockley@calgary.ca. You can copy HSPC at lisa@hsca.ca and Councillor Farrell’s office at caward7@calgary.ca.

Background information:

·       HSPC overview: https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/residents-meeting-may-30-2019-natl-transmission-redevelopment.

·       Developer’s project website http://engageocgrowkensington.com

·       Review the status of the application at the City’s Planning Map website at www.calgary.ca/pdmap.

Kensington Manor | 321 10 St NW

View an update on the vacant Kensington Manor building at https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/kensington-manor-june-4-2019-council-report.

Bow to Bluff public parks project – FUNDED

Check out an exciting news announcement from Councillor Druh Farrell on the citizen-initiated Bow to Bluff project. The project was the result of years of resident engagement and advocacy to transform and create activity on the triangle-shaped parks along the LRT line from the Bow River to McHugh Bluff. Read more at https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/bow-to-bluff-funded.

Water for Riley: the drinking fountain

Check out another win for the community from the volunteer team at Water for Riley on the installation of the drinking fountain on the west side of Riley Park by the playground! Check out their blog for updates at http://www.waterforriley.org.

Bow River Naturalization and McHugh Bluff Goats

The City is beginning work this May to naturalize the park open space near 14 Street NW along Memorial Drive, and a portion of the McHugh Bluff natural area. The goals of this naturalization project are to: establish more natural, self-sustaining vegetation communities within the boulevards, provide habitat for native pollinators (e.g., bees, butterflies) and reduce non-native invasive plant species.

Read more and view the map of the affected areas at https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/city-of-calgary-naturalization-the-goats-are-coming-back.

Residential Parking Program Review

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Written by Lisa Chong, Community Planning and Engagement Coordinator

Community Planning, Development and Engagement Update

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee (HSPC) will hold its next meeting on Tuesday May 14, 2019 from 7-9pm at the HSCA Hearth Room. All residents, guests, and students are welcome. Bring your questions or ideas and learn more about what’s going on in your neighbourhood.

We will have guest presentations from Alloy Homes on a proposed infill at 229 11 Street NW and a subsequent guest presentation from a community member about moving the existing house at 229 11 Street NW to the vacant lot on 10A Street, where the original century-old home was tragically destroyed in a 2017 fire. What a great way to preserve the history of Hillhurst Sunnyside and witness the evolution of this wonderful community!

Thank you, Bob McKercher, Outgoing Chair, Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee

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On behalf of the HSCA, we would like to thank Mr. Bob McKercher for his service to the community as chair of the Hillhurst Sunnyside Planning Committee and member of the HSCA Board of Directors for the last 5 ½ years. Bob has brought a balanced and level-headed contribution to HSPC. Bob was instrumental in navigating the challenges of a changing neighbourhood with an emphasis on collaboration, engagement and finding commonalities between residents, HSCA, City of Calgary, applicant/developers and City Council.

With the collapse of the original Community Planning Committee in Spring 2013, Bob, along with a small handful of interim planning committee members and with the support of the HSCA as an organization, successfully restarted the planning committee in Fall 2013. The HSPC is now structured in such a way to divide the work into subcommittees with support from the Planning Coordinator/Executive Committee. Together, with a renewed focus in transparency and education, we successfully raised the profile of HSCA as a balanced voice for community planning in Calgary.

While we are sad to see Bob step down, he is not going anywhere and will still be present as an HSPC member. With our April 30, 2019 Annual General Meeting, three community residents have stepped up with an interest in community planning. We will meet the new HSCA Board members and the future chair person/people at the next meeting.

Jane’s Walk 2019: A Weekend in Hillhurst Sunnyside

By the time you read this, the Jane’s Walk festival weekend will have passed. Hillhurst Sunnyside residents are/were pleased to host four walking tours on the walk festival weekend. Learn more about Jane Jacobs and the wisdom she has imparted to community activists and city-builders around the world and learn about how to start your own walking tours at www.hsca.ca/blog.

“Theodore” | 417 10 St NW

The Graywood mixed-use commercial/condo project (at the site of the current 10th Street Royal Bank building across from Safeway) has been approved by Calgary Planning Commission at the April 18, 2019 hearing – watch the live video of the hearing at THIS LINK. You can see the final renderings and learn about the new location of the RBC branch at https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co/posts/graywood-rbc-site-now-theodore-417-10-st-nw.

National Transmission Site

Ocgrow has submitted their Land Use Redesignation and Hillhurst Sunnyside Area Redevelopment Plan amendments on Tuesday April 30; we should expect to see the application before HSCA soon. For details, visit the developer’s website at http://engageocgrowkensington.com and on our website at THIS LINK. There will be further opportunities to engage and provide comment on this proposal – please contact lisa.c@hsca.ca for details.

Victoria on the Park (Formerly Five Eleven)

The proposed development at has undergone its review from the community and City – you can see the new, updated renderings at the developer’s website at https://www.fiveeleven.ca. We will have an upcoming feature on this development and on the history of the area soon on our HSCA Community Planning website and in a future issue of the Voice. Stay tuned.

Resources

·       HSCA Community Planning website: https://hsca-community-planning.mn.co

·       City of Calgary Planning and Development Map (note that Calgary Herald public notices are transitioning to online notifications as of May 16, 2019): https://developmentmap.calgary.ca

  

Mark Your Calendar for Calgary Neighbour Day – Saturday June 15, 2019

One year after city of Calgary citizens came together as a result of the 2013 flood, Mayor Nenshi proclaimed the third weekend of June as Neighbour Day, a celebration of community. Since then, YYC Neighbour Day events have cropped up all over the city.

Planning is now underway for Neighbour Day celebrations across Hillhurst and Sunnyside! Are you curious about how HSCA can support resident-led events, or would you like to participate, volunteer, and/or contribute to local festivities? Contact Lisa Chong at lisa.c@hsca.ca to get connected.

The City of Calgary will waive its block party permits for Neighbour Day each year – for more details and ideas for your Neighbour Day celebration, go to www.calgary.ca/neighbourday.

If you would like to get your event featured on HSCA media, please drop us a line! We are happy to help promote your event – send your stories and photos to jessica.c@hsca.ca.

Jane's Walk 2019 - A Weekend in Hillhurst Sunnyside

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Jane’s Walk 2019: A Weekend in Hillhurst Sunnyside

It’s the annual Jane’s Walk festival the weekend of May 3, 4, & 5! Jane’s Walks are free, locally-led walking tours inspired by legendary urban activist, Jane Jacobs. Walks are hosted by volunteers on the first weekend of May, whether it’s rain, snow or shine. Hillhurst Sunnyside has you covered with four walks on Saturday and Sunday – participation in any (or all four) walks is optional. Click on the links for details on each walk as follows:

Gentle Density in Historic Hillhurst
Saturday May 4 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Starts at HSCA, 1320 5 Avenue NW and ending at containR
Hosted by Decker, Lorna & Lisa and guest presenters (Hillhurst residents, Studio North, Sunnyside Sustainable Living)

Sunnyside Garage Art Tour
Saturday May 4 from 1:45 PM to 3:15 PM
Starts at containR, 1020 2 Avenue NW
Hosted by Christie and Darren

Spark Change – A Look at Laneway Housing
Sunday May 5 from 1-2:00 PM
Starts and ends at HSCA, 1350 5 Avenue NW
Hosted by Maricris & Lisa and guest presenters (Alloy Homes, City of Calgary).

Flood Protection in Sunnyside
Sunday May 5 from 4-6:00 PM
Starts and ends at the Sunnyside Bus Loop at 748 5 Street NW. Bonus: the City will arrange to open the doors to take a peek in the recently completed Sanitary Lift Station.
Hosted by Charlie, Lisa and Vania (City of Calgary Water Resources)

A fair amount of planning goes into the Jane’s Walk events. We sat down with Lisa Chong, Community Planning & Engagement Coordinator at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association to learn more about organizing Jane’s Walk in Hillhurst Sunnyside.

Who is Jane?

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She saw cities as ecosystems that had their own logic and dynamism which would change over time according to how they were used. With a keen eye for detail, she wrote eloquently about sidewalks, parks, retail design and self-organization. At the core of her work and thinking was the need to get out and walk your city and observe how people, through their actions and interactions, create communities with a strong sense of belonging (from the Calgary Foundation’s Jane’s Walk website).

What is Hillhurst Sunnyside’s relationship to Jane?

I was first introduced to the writings of Jane Jacobs in my Urban Studies 201 class. Jane’s ability to mobilize communities and champion for vibrant and diverse neighbourhoods piqued my interest in how planning, policy and design influences the social fabric of place and eventually led me to the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association.

The community activism that has shaped Hillhurst Sunnyside mirrors Jane’s work in many ways:

  • A strong sense of social justice and inclusivity resulted in HSCA’s historical and current advocacy for family-oriented and affordable housing, food security, social services and harm-reduction programs and support for seniors.

  • Resilience, demonstrating strength of community, organization and advocacy that resulted from the 2013 floods.

  • The HSCA Planning Committee has existed in various forms since the 1970s and continues to work to inform and educate residents in planning and development initiatives and ensure that neighbours have an opportunity to engage in civic matters together with the City of Calgary and development applicants.

Hillhurst Sunnyside was host to Jane herself: Ms Jacobs visited our community and saw Hillhurst Sunnyside as embodying the planning principles articulated in her 1961 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” through successful qualities of scale and mixes of people with place. We also have a unique family connection to Jane as you will learn on the Saturday tour and at the following link – In the Family Footsteps: An Interview with Jane Jacob’s Calgary Nephew.

What was your process with organizing the Hillhurst Sunnyside walks?

Planning for this walk started a year in advance, when residents were asked what they would like to learn about in the 2019 walk. Walking tours can be tough to run as individuals, so we asked people to help! I’m connected with people daily due to my role at HSCA, the close-knit nature of the community and through redevelopment initiatives.

We have also cultivated positive relationships with City of Calgary staff who are excited to present about their work and to educate about the City’s process and talk about how citizens can engage in city- and community-building.

Development applicants also reach out to us as the Community Association (and vice versa) to present their design ideas to the wider community. We like to involve industry folks in the community through dialogue as new buildings will stand long after their design applications are accepted by the City and eventually built.

Our guest presenters are usually more than happy to talk about their work and about what they love about “home”.

What were some of the successes and learnings from the 2018 Walk?

Participants of the 2018 housing walk were thrilled to learn more about the city that they live in and asked excellent questions of our guest presenters. We delivered our Land Acknowledgement, welcomed participants and introduced HSCA before starting our journey. We connected Calgarians with 12 presenters and stories from neighbours, local non-profit housing organizations and the City of Calgary as we covered 2454 steps (1.87 km) and hosted 40 engaged minds and pairs of feet.

Some residents told us that while they are not able to participate in events at the HSCA building, they loved the idea of joining us on a collaborative walk and learning together. We were featured on Global News and on social media, generating interest and support in affordable housing and population diversity: https://globalnews.ca/news/4189734/more-calgary-affordable-housing-units-urged.

We found that participants wanted a chance to decompress, quench their thirst, and discuss what they learned. We also learned to reduce the distance of the walk, as it was a challenge to move so many people on a tight schedule and split up our walks. This year, we were awarded a modest Stepping Stones grant from the Calgary Foundation/First Calgary to provide refreshments during the first Saturday walking tour (lemonade, anyone?).

Additionally, we partnered with Sunnyside residents to host two back-to-back walks on Saturday May 4 with a picnic lunch break and conversations in between. Bring your own food and drink and a blanket to sit on as we continue the conversation at containR.

Who else will be a part of the festival weekend?

To find more Jane's Walks in Calgary, go to https://www.janeswalk.calgaryfoundation.org.  Remember to check back often as the website is still populating with all the various volunteer-led walks across the city.

Do you have any advice for any residents who may want to start a Jane’s Walk in their neighbourhood?

Ask for help!

You can get together with a neighbour or a friend on a topic you feel passionate about and start from there. This walk-buddy will help keep you motivated and will serve as a sounding board for any ideas. There are resources available at the Calgary Public Library and on the City of Calgary website, if you are looking for facts and historical information.

The Calgary Foundation organizes, promotes and provides training for aspiring Jane’s Walk Leaders in Calgary – contact Julie Black and Janet Hails for more information or go to their website at https://janeswalk.calgaryfoundation.org. You can also connect with HSCA and we can help you promote your walk on our media channels.

Where else can people go to learn more about Jane?

The Calgary Urban Affairs Book Club is hosting an event, “Jane’s Talk” to discuss the book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Wednesday May 15, 2019
Former Central Library
616 Macleod Trail SE
6:30-8:00 PM

Register and find out more at https://showpass.com/janes-talk.

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How Can Your Community Association Support You?

March is Community Association Awareness Month. This means that the HSCA and other Calgary CAs (there are over 150 in YYC) want you to know about all of the amazing opportunities to give back to your community association—and there are many ways; from volunteer positions, to donations, to membership, to attending events—but we would also like to take this opportunity to make you aware of the ways HSCA can give back to you.

Resident-Led Initiatives (in our spaces)

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association is known for both our Farmers’ Market and Flea Market, but did you know that these programs were initially started, led or developed by residents in the community?

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And our drop-in Badminton group and art class program were also ideas that first developed outside of our regular programming. Chair yoga is another example. These arts and recreations ideas came from instructors who wanted to find a foothold for their businesses or share their gifts with the community and found such success in collaboration and a fit with our mission and values that we adopted them into our program offerings.

They all share a common thread of passionate volunteers and participants who pitched ideas for programs they wanted to see in the building, and they helped nurture and grow those in our spaces for the benefit of the community.

            The Kensington Community First Garden, located beside the HSCA building, established in 2010, was also a project developed and implemented by residents with some facilitation from HSCA to secure grants and funding, as well as some ongoing stewardship of the garden plots when it was adopted into our Community Food Program.

Resident-Led Initiatives (outside of our spaces)

Community gardens are also a good example of resident-led initiatives.

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The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Garden, established in 1989, was founded by residents who wanted to provide a place for those with limited space to grow their own food and to meet neighbours who shared their passion.

            And HSCA’s Vitalization Committee worked with the City of Calgary to develop placemaking and public art installation opportunities in the community such as Bow to Bluff and containR.

Community Planning

The Community Planning Committee is another example of what HSCA can give back to residents. The committee is volunteer driven and plays a valuable role in providing advice, background information and community context, as well as expressing the concerns of the Community Association to the City of Calgary and to applicants, and advocating for development that fulfills the vision as described in the Area Redevelopment Plan.

            HSCA’s Community Planning Coordinator, Lisa, has also taken on Community Engagement initiatives into her role and is available to assist with questions and applications for community grants to throw events such as block parties, or Neighbour Day events.  

Outreach and Resources

During and after the 2013 flood in Calgary, mobilization of support efforts on a community level were implemented the quickest. Residents who were flood affected were not necessarily willing to speak to government officials but would open the door to speak to their neighbours.

Eventually, a Flood Task Force was created to assist with the overwhelming amount of information. This task force then evolved into the Emergency Planning and Response Committee of the HSCA board. Volunteers of the committee use their knowledge and expertise, in a similar way to Community Planning Committee volunteers, to advocate for residents, host open houses and informational sessions and push for progress. They also developed a Community Emergency Plan to help keep Hillhurst Sunnyside residents informed and safe.

The Community Connections program at HSCA assists residents either through direct support or by sharing information on available resources externally. Community Connections outreach programs include the Fresh Food Basket, and yearly Tax clinics, and also provides free and accessible opportunities for all residents to participate in social events or programs such as Drop-In ESL Club, Neighbour Night, Seniors Drop in groups (cards or knitting), and Community Potlucks.

Volunteer and Career Experience

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Community associations and the community at large benefit greatly from the hard work and skills of volunteers, but there are also opportunities for volunteers to learn and develop new skills and knowledge through volunteering. And for student volunteers we can sometimes provide support through bursaries.

            HSCA also hires practicum students and summer students to assist with their education programs and they in turn are provided with meaningful employment that can be applied to their school requirements.

Stories and Belonging

Some of the most compelling stories originate at the community level. Last year, Christie Page and the Garage Door Art Project in Sunnyside gained traction and attention in the news after receiving mention on HSCA channels. And who would have predicted that Painting Birdhouses, a project initiated by North Hill Centre to revitalize the Hearth Room would have gained that kind of steam? But it speaks to the strength of our local partnerships that we could reach out to Framed on Fifth for support on this and they came through in a big way.

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            Sense of Belonging is generated through these types of initiatives (and many of the above mentioned) as like-minded residents come together to share and explore their passions in the community. HSCA is honoured to provide these opportunities as we know that belonging is a human need, such as food or shelter, and is important for residents to see value in life and cope with intensely painful emotions.

Of course, all of the above are just a fraction of the ways that HSCA can give back to you. As the community of Hillhurst Sunnyside grows and changes the needs of our residents will too, and so these programs and committees may change. But what will not change are the core reasons for why we are interested in supporting our residents, that we wish to preserve and enhance a healthy and vibrant quality of life for Hillhurst Sunnyside and that includes providing opportunities for participation to build a sense of belonging.

#howwillYOUbeapartofit

  • Written by Jessica Clark, HSCA Communications Manager