What does a vibrant community mean to me?

Submitted by Liz Weaver on February 11, 2015 - 9:33am
Poverty Reduction Summit a time to dream big about eliminating poverty in Canada


Even though I live in an urban environment - the City of Hamilton with more than 520,000 residents, the corner of the world that I call home is a much smaller sub-community or village called Rockton, Ontario. We are distinguished by the inclusion of the village name on our addresses and the fact that we are home to the annual Rockton World’s Fair which has happened in the community every Thanksgiving Weekend since 1852.

It is ironic that the residents of the tiny village of Rockton had a vision that was so much greater than themselves when they adopted the name of a World’s Fair in the 1930’s. For me, this vision of something more is what being a vibrant community is all about.

The volunteers of the Rockton Fair, despite good and bad economic times have preserved for the past 162 years. Last year, the Rockton World’s Fair welcomed more than 70,000 guests over four days and an equal number of animals from horses to cows, chickens, sheep, dogs and llamas.

How can we create this vibrancy, this sense of belonging and community across all villages, cities and regions in Canada? How can we become places where all people belong, can thrive and dream those dreams that are bigger than their individual struggles?

Since 2002, many cities across Canada have been working toward this goal of creating vibrant places by creating cities which address poverty. The progress has been made in small steps and in big leaps from affordable transit strategies to reforming social assistance. We have seen cities leading and provincial governments stepping up their commitment to reducing poverty. They have been joined by business leaders, faith communities, non-profit organizations and citizens wanting a better future for all.

In 1852 the citizens in the Village of Rockton, ON, dreamed of something bigger. The 2015 Poverty Reduction Summit, May 6 – 8, 2015 in Ottawa, Canada, will be a time for all of us to dream bigger as well – a place where everyone talks about poverty and acts to eliminate it.