Beside us and around us, we inevitably share the same sidewalks. We asked some of our neighbours to introduce themselves and share their stories that they may become familiar faces. We hope that one day, we will weave into each other’s life stories.

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Haroldene (Deany) Peters is a community development worker at Regent Park Community Health Centre. For almost 26 years, she has worked to promote community engagement and to protect vulnerable populations. She explains that welcome and belonging have a significant impact on wellness. “We love you. You’re valuable people. You’re important in our society. [Those messages] make a big difference for someone’s willingness to go through hurdles and challenges.”

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When Faith Imasuen arrived in Canada from Africa, she was pregnant with her twin sons. Effectively abandoned by her husband, Faith sought legal counsel from the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic. The clinic successfully defended her case, allowing Faith to stay in Canada. With the help of a network of people, including those whom Faith has met through Safe Families Canada, she is raising her boys nearby and working as a cashier in a local business.

Darcy Higgins is a food, community and sustainability advocate in Toronto. He founded Food Forward in 2010 to connect and support Toronto food work and advocate for policy change. He’s pictured standing in the community garden plot in Allan Gardens, which gathers community residents, including Grace Toronto Church, for the good work of growing good food. “Creating places, which have healthy food and activities, allow people to get to know their neighbours and create more cohesion in the neighbourhood.”

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Text: Jen Michel
Photography: Catherine Noble and Jill Goodman