Mending clothing and community: A Halifax TD Park People Grant Event

Nothing says summer like a road trip. This summer, my family and I ventured out to the beautiful eastern shores of this vast country, in an attempt at a break from reality after a year and a half of pandemic living. We spent some time enjoying the rugged beauty of Cape Breton and paired that with a stay in Halifax, the vibrant urban hub of the Maritimes.

The plan was always to work for a period while being away, which included being able to visit with numerous colleagues living and visiting Nova Scotia (do I hear Park People Halifax office?), and attending events supported by TD Park People Grants.



The author, Rachel Yanchyshyn (right of the picture) meeting with Park People friends in Nova Scotia: Leah Houston, Nadia Bello and Erika Nikolai (left to right)

As we say around here, vibrant parks feel magical, but they don’t happen by magic. It takes dedicated people to make parks vibrant people-places. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how this community group made magic happen in their park.


Clothing Care and Repair Workshop


Art Bikers, the organizers of this event, is a mobile arts program that brings artists, children and community members together in public green spaces around Halifax/K’jipuktuk.

Their TD Park People Grant supported events were a series of three outdoor celebratory gatherings focused on clothing repair and reuse. Participants were each invited to bring a piece of clothing to repair or embellish and were provided with all the necessary tools and materials.


Credit photo: A participant who brought some clothing to repair by Carolina Andrade


The Art Bikers team were the experts on-site, patiently sharing techniques and encouraging skill sharing amongst participants, showing them creative, fun, sustainable ways to make damaged items useful again.


Before the event


“It’s important to think about the space that you’re interacting with,” says Kawama Kasutu, one of this year’s Art Bikers.”To make sure the activities work well with the community, but also that the setup works well. We try to build connections that are long-lasting.”

Partnerships are often the key to successful events, and in this case, recruiting volunteers to set up for an afternoon of sustainable crafting was handled by ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia), one of the event partners. After a brief orientation huddle with the Art Bikers team, the volunteers worked like busy bees before the event, erecting pop-up shade tents, spreading colourful quilts on the ground, and getting acquainted with the myriad of materials and tools available for use.


Credit photo: Volunteers looking at supplies by Carolina Andrade 


Holding events after Covid-19


Adapting an event while managing Covid 19 restrictions isn’t easy, but, as this event demonstrated, the right combination of creativity and organization can make masked magic happen.

“It was a counterintuitive way to organize an event. We couldn’t send out invitations to the larger community and garden members, to get as many people as possible to the event, as we normally would,” Heather Asbil from ISANS explains. “We usually would have food to share at this type of event.”


Credit photo: Heather at the sign-in table by Carolina Andrade


The group added a registration table, PPE and sanitizer to the event and made sure the setup allowed for physical distancing. All of this helped participants feel safe at a community gathering.


Make it beautiful!


“This mending workshop has been one of my favourite parts <of the program>…” Kawama says ”…it’s nice to have it in a park. It’s open and accessible. Being in the open air is really nice, especially with Covid-19. The event was very inviting to people passing by. People wonder, what’s going on in the park?”


Credit photo: Kawama Kasutu modeling her latest creation, by Carolina Andrade


What’s going on in the park, indeed. The colourful materials and hands-on activities supported by a TD Park People Grant attracted families from nearby apartment complexes and others who travelled from further afield, all lured by the idea of making something old feel new again.


Feature photo credit: Hands with embroidery, Glen Garden Park by Carolina Andrade.

Park People takes part in a new Healthy Communities Initiative

COVID-19 has seriously impacted our access to and use of public spaces. This is especially true in communities that are already experiencing systemic inequalities. 

The Healthy Communities Initiative is a $31 million investment from the Government of Canada to support communities as they create and adapt public spaces to respond to the new realities of COVID-19. Projects funded through the Healthy Communities Initiative will create safe and vibrant public spaces, improve mobility options and provide innovative digital solutions to connect people and improve health. 


Photo credit: Wex POPS. This photo was taken in 2018.


Organizations have shown tremendous creativity and resourcefulness in developing temporary and longer-lasting solutions that enable people to connect and access public spaces safely while still respecting public health measures. In a recent Community Mobilization Session, Park People highlighted some inspiring projects we have seen in recent years.


These can inspire project submissions

The projects linked here are provided as to sources of inspiration. For eligibility details, please be sure to check specifics on the Community Foundation website

With funding between $5,000 and $250,000, the Healthy Communities Initiative aims to support local efforts to develop small-scale infrastructure solutions, programming and services for communities across Canada. Local governments, charities, Indigenous communities and nonprofits are all welcome to apply for funding.

Funding can be used for adapting public spaces, or for programming or services that respond to COVID-19 and serve the public or a community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Organizations are encouraged to engage the community when designing their projects. 

Read more in the Applicant Guide, attend an upcoming event and the deadline to apply is June 25, 2021.



Watch our webinar on Simple ways to create vibrant and safe spaces during COVID-19



TD Park People Grants Build Vital Connections Between People and Parks

The COVID-19 pandemic has given Canadians a greater appreciation for the role parks and green spaces play in supporting our physical and mental health as well as the resilience of our communities.

Park People, with the support of the TD Ready Commitment, has launched this year’s TD Park People Grant program to help build the vital connection between people and parks at a time when people need it most.

In 2021, TD Park People Grants will support the work of 72 community groups across the country with micro-grants of $2,000 to support activities that promote environmental education, sustainability and stewardship in Canada’s parks and green spaces. This year, at least 50% of all grants will be given to underserved community groups, ensuring equity-seeking groups are involved in shaping the natural spaces that matter to them.


An activity organized by Le Carré et sa ruelle in 2020 thanks to the TD Park People Grants Program. Photo credit: Marie-Hélène Roch.

Throughout 2020, we were amazed and inspired by the in-person and virtual activities that connect people to parks and nature.
Some examples included:


A pollinator garden. Photo credit: Friends of Dallington Pollinator Garden. 


Starting today, qualified organizations and community groups who are interested in connecting their community to their parks and green spaces are encouraged to apply to receive a $2,000 grant to host their activities between April 17 and December 31, 2021. The application process is simple, and we’ve developed a number of resources to help groups host engaging community events that help build the vital connection between people and parks. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2021.

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