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From green space to good neighbours, Guelph is pretty great

In this week's Mom of the House, Brianna Bell shares some of the things she loves about her city
2018-09-07 Mom of the House
Penny by the Paisley Road tracks. Photo courtesy of Brianna Bell

Earlier this week someone posted a thought-provoking and inspiring question on a local Facebook group that I’m in. They asked other group members to post their favourite things about living in the City of Guelph, the things that make us proud to live here. The poster pointed out that there has been a lot of negativity lately, especially on social media, about our city and the direction it is headed.

What followed was beautiful and inspiring, dozens of comments about the beauty of Guelph, and all the wonderful parts of this city that are worth celebrating. I joined in, listing as many things as I could think of that make my city a beautiful space to raise my family, a place that feels like home to me.

I spent some time thinking about the online interaction, relishing in it’s hopefulness and positivity. You don’t find those kinds of positive interactions very often online. I too have noticed that lately comments about Guelph have veered towards the negative. It can get to the point where we forget about the beauty of Guelph, but when I look around at the life that I live in this city, I see mostly joy and positive interactions.

I live about a kilometre from the downtown core, and I feel safe and happy in our home, surrounded by our community. This week I texted a friend across the street because I ran out of eggs and was baking. The baby was napping, so she delivered the eggs to me so that I could finish making my muffins. Over the years we’ve traded different missing ingredients. All of the neighbourhood kids enjoy bike riding and playing, kids hopping from porches and patches of grass at different houses, the entire neighbourhood a community hub filled with children’s laughter and singing.

Most days we go for walks outside, and I love looking at the different houses and people in our neighbourhood. We have a mixture of stately million dollar houses, and tiny 700-square-foot wartime era bungalows. We have plenty of tiny libraries, and my kids love carting books to drop off, and picking out a new book each week. We’ve befriended people on different streets, learning their stories and savouring the community and connection we find. One man has been a fixture of this neighbourhood for sixty years, inheriting his home from his parents, sharing the history of farm fields were permanent homes now stand.

We also enjoy the community, culture, and arts that we find in nearly every corner of Guelph. We enjoy Neighbourhood Group activities, small businesses that we support and cheer on, music that we listen to and dance to on the street corner, or huddled inside tiny cafes. We are members of our Civic Museum, where we go on cold days to warm up and play. We are members of our church, where we worship every Sunday, but our faith community can be found every other day of the week – and we run into them often, at the grocery store, on the street, playing at the park.

The green space in Guelph is like no other place I’ve lived. We explore parks and trails, savouring each season and the delight that it brings. There are so many places we still haven’t discovered, a testament to the wise scope of lush trails and untouched space within the city.

There’s plenty of free programs around the city, local food initiatives, non-profit organizations, and hubs of community for nearly every type of interest or hobby you can find.

It’s not hard to find the positive parts of this city, the beauty is in nearly every corner. It’s not all perfect, but there’s many in this city working hard to help in the areas that need helping, and that in itself is beautiful too.

What do you love about this city? Share some positivity in the comments.