Tag Archives: EFCL

Happy City author and community leagues on same page

By NORA BEGORAY, EFCL Marketing Director

Oct. 5, 2015 – A big YES  to Charles Montgomery and his talk at Happy City: Your City, Your Life, a well-attended event held at MacEwan University. It was a lovely fall Oct. 1 evening in Edmonton, and everyone seemed to be in a very good mood.

Charles Montgomery, EFCL, Happy City, Edmonton NextGen, community leagues

EFCL’s marketing director (L), Nora Begoray and Bev Zubot, EFCL planning officer, chat to guest speaker and author, Charles Montgomery signs his book at the Happy City: Your City, Your Life event hosted by Edmonton’s NextGen.

I was really inspired by the large attendance; some had even traveled in from Leduc to see Montgomery talk about his book, Happy City. So many of the concepts in the book speak to the very heart of what community leagues advocate for and believe in. Montgomery spoke about the well-known benefits of living more locally. Benefits for the environment in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and benefits for the residents in their physical, mental and social health.

He talked passionately about how we need to fix all that we had done wrong in the past several decades. Done wrong in the sense of how we have allowed our cities to grow and the urban design that we have built has made the citizens more reliant on automobiles, and the greater isolation caused by home designs and towering condos.

For a happy city, people need frequent superficial contact with strangers. We need to intentionally create space for short interactions because that is a first step to developing trust and friendships. Front yard space where you see your neighbours, social green spaces in townhouses or apartments. He advocated against population dispersal, against consolidating shopping all in one district, or massive multiple sport field facilities, but instead intersperse your shopping, your activities, your gardens within your walkable, bikeable communities.

He advocated for the grassroots to request these changes from our policy makers, and insist on regulations that will encourage increased mixed-density and mixed-use developments throughout our city – purposefully design many places to walk to, stop at or visit.

The slower we move throughout our city, the more opportunities to connect and the more generous, more patient and more content we become.

I believe in Edmonton, our civic leaders and judging by the crowd, our next generation are fully immersed in the Happy City vision of transforming our lives through urban design.  Obviously some things we intuitively know, and community leagues are all about encouraging residents to gather, connect, live local, participate local, walk, bike and garden locally, but did we know that all those times we were serving hot chocolate, we were subconsciously encouraging people to think more warmly about each other just by holding a warm drink?  We do now.

Thanks Charles Montgomery, and to Edmonton’s NextGen for hosting the event – we will keep the hot chocolate coming.


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Resilience Festival great opportunity for two young volunteers

(L-R) Volunteers from The Meadows Community League, Iman and Kassidey, were thrilled to meet Edmonton mayor, Don  Iveson.

(L-R) Volunteers from The Meadows Community League, Iman and Kassidey, were thrilled to meet Edmonton mayor, Don Iveson.


By NORA BEGORAY, EFCL Marketing Director

February 10, 2015 – The EFCL was proud to be a part of Edmonton’s first Resilience Festival, which was held Feb. 8 and 9 at the Boyle Street Community League Hall. The EFCL and community leagues are passionate about supporting local opportunities for people to get together to develop relationships that make our neighbourhoods stronger, more sustainable and more resilient.

The event was organized by The Local Good. There were all kinds of relationship building opportunities, exchanging information about sustainable environments, protecting our provincial headwaters, sharing yard space for gardens and understanding what goes into making communities resilient.

The festival was a delightful mix of interesting things to learn, but it also had a great deal of local artwork to see,  handmade crafts we could buy and some wonderful free samples. Our team particularly enjoyed the Chocolate and Cherry jam made from Fruits of Sherbrooke, a not-for-profit group that rescues backyard fruit and ensures it is not wasted.

Another reason this festival was such a pleasure to participate in, were my two young volunteers from The Meadows Community League, Iman and Kassidy. They were a delight to work with.

Volunteering with Community Leagues is a great way for youth to gain valuable life skills in a super supportive setting.  Even helping to round up and organize kids for an activity can provide beginning skills in event planning, teaching, social or recreational work.  Being connected with community organizers will provide opportunities to model cooperative decision making and bring awareness to what can be achieved when people, maybe with very diverse interests work together for the benefit of all.

Iman and Kassidy had an interest to “make their weekends more productive” and work on their social skills.  Iman is in the leadership program at her junior high school, and typically shy, she was amazed to realize how receptive and kind people are to a simple smile and a, “ Hi, how are you today?”

Iman and Cassidy are great ambassadors for encouraging friendly, active and engaged neighbourhoods.

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