There were many memorable moments on the campaign trail this last municipal election, most of them good. One has stayed with me, and the encounter frequently enters my thoughts.
I always welcome the intrusion.
It was a warm day to knock on doors. At this door, I was greeted by an older resident dressed in a sweater despite the summer temperature. In a neighbourhood undergoing significant change, their house remained unchanged. The resident was polite but difficult to engage. They shared with me their health challenges of the last year. When I asked how they managed, especially during these COVID-19 years, their eyes softened, and so did their voice. They shared with me a tale of gratitude. One neighbour drove them to their medical appointments, another cleared the walk and gathered the garbage, and another did their weekly grocery shopping with delivery.
We said our goodbyes and I continued my canvass. Knocking on neighbours’ doors, I offered thanks for the support they had shown the older resident. As always, there was more to the story – a tale of reciprocity. It turns out that the house that time forgot was home to a unique and fabulous record collection – perhaps the largest in all of Ontario. Help would only be accepted when the older neighbour felt they could offer something in return. In exchange for the grocery delivery, they would loan out two albums from a stunning collection. The terms of engagement were accepted by all. These were not acts of charity so much as reciprocal demonstrations of our collective responsibility to each other.
Such a lovely and timely reminder of what engaged citizenship looks like—Happy Holidays to one and all.
Photo: "Beverly Swamp" by Paul O'Hara
Greener Ward 1 - Tree tours and native plant information for Ward 1 with our guide Paul O'Hara
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The City of Hamilton is situated upon the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, which was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabek to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Purchase, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
Today, the City of Hamilton is home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island (North America), and we recognize that we must do more to learn about the rich history of this land so that we can better understand our roles as residents, neighbours, partners and caretakers.