Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Connecting to our Community- another form of self-care

I love living in our neighbourhood. The streets are tree-lined, the neighbours friendly, and the river paths provide lots of exploration (and burr!) options for the "Hound of the Baskervilles".

One of the other things I love about our neighbourhood are all the interesting little shops which abound- it is possible to find all manner of interesting and useful items (and services) without needing to go more than a few blocks. Groceries, banking, rent a film, antiques, nails ... you name it.

For things such as the nails, one needn't look further than Pollock's Hardware. The display window alone is something to take in (especially if you are simply out for a walk)- it looks like a shop window from another era. This sense of time-travel only gets stronger as you cross the threshold- old wooden shelving sits on the rough hewn wood floors, and you can find all manner of odds and ends you wouldn't have thought were still available for purchase.

Odds are good you'll be greeted by a shopkeep of the four-footed variety, as Digger et al are often hanging out there. Visitors are permitted to bring their dogs, too (we tend not to, as The Hound is rather large, and tends to bump into things. She's also extremely protective of her "pack").

Need just a few nails? Don't bother with Rona or Home Depot, where you have to buy them by the kilo, but you can still get them by the handful at Pollock's ... The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, and if they don't happen to carry what you need, they will be able to suggest a place where you might find it. Not only have I found I can usually get what I'm looking for there, the price is often just as good as, or even cheaper than the "big stores".

We have been renting films from Video Cellar for over 20 years- they recently raised their prices, but are still relatively inexpensive. For our family, renting a film on DVD works out far cheaper than taking everyone to the cinema (although I have been known to do that, as well), and it gives the Littlest man the opportunity to ask questions or leave the room if something proves to be overwhelming for him. (Video Cellar also sells assorted junk food at cheap prices, but we won't go there ;-) )

I have previously mentioned Vintage Veruca- I can't stress enough how lovely it is, and if you haven't checked out her shop, you really are missing out on something special.

Another of my favourite places to visit is the Modern Sewing Machine Company. The gentleman whose shop it is is quite knowledgeable about the products he services, and his is the shop to go to if you are looking for parts for a Singer treadle machine. The prices are very reasonable.

As well, we have Sonya's Flowers. She not only sells flowers (as one would expect, from the business name), she also has a small tea & coffee bar at the back of the shop. Most of the teas are on display in glass jars so that you might give them a sniff before ordering a cup. It's a real exercise in being present in the moment- you don't come here to grab a cup as you dash off to work; no, it's best experienced by having a seat, and taking in the scenery while you wait the 3-5 minutes for your tea to steep (2 minutes for white tea). Sonya herself is very helpful and friendly, as is Marilyn, who also works in the shop. The shop also boasts many very lovely little things to display or give as gifts- from colourful sock monkeys to candles to "Lug" bags ...

A few weeks ago, when Himself had the day off, we went for lunch at Santa Lucia. The dining room is very small, but not cramped; rather intimate. They also have a bar/lounge with a patio. Our lunch was excellent; it was nice to just spend time together, too.

Next door to Santa Lucia is Tenderloin Meats, a shop which is frequently called "The Bacon Store" in our home. Tenderloin is home to what is probably the best bacon in town.

By patronising local businesses, not only are you helping your local economy, it gives you a chance to meet and get to know some of your neighbours, too. The more people in your neighbourhood you know, the more connected you'll feel to the community. A connected community is a healthy community, one that looks after its members. Our neighbours seem to know one another fairly well; so well, in fact, that a stray cat is enough to cause a stir ...

So, that's my neighbourhood in a hurry, why not take a walk around yours and tell me what you've found there?

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