When I arrived on Sherburn Street between Ellice Avenue and Sargent Avenue shortly after 3 p.m. on June 14, the street had been blocked off, tarps were strung and tents were up. A block party was taking place and it was the first one for many long-time residents.
A small Sherburn Street committee that banded trees to prevent Dutch Elm Disease decided to use some of the money it had raised to throw a block party.
Brian Timlick has lived on Sherburn Street for eight-and-a-half years and took the lead in gathering the signatures required to close the street to vehicular traffic. Some 70 per cent of residents on the street needed to be in favour and 85 per cent support was reached.
"I just kept going door to door. More people found out about the party and were happy and wanted to know how they could help," Timlick explained while barbecuing hot dogs.
Creative activities, riding bikes up and down the street, a bubble station and a Jell-O flight ensured non-stop fun for kids. They were buzzing inside a cupcake-decorating station which came with chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, icing and an assortment of toppings. Terri Sawatsky made an awesome lollipop tree using branches, pipe cleaners and lollipops.
With more rain expected, additional tarps were added to the village. After a downpour, even more people came out to enjoy the party and the prearranged entertainment.
Young and old and acquaintances and friends were treated to balloon twisting by Ryan Price Magic. Spirits were further lifted by live music. Residents relaxing in lawn chairs were treated to sets by Haymaker, a rock band, as well as the folksy-eclectic sounds of Half Man Half Elf.
The damp and chilly neighbours of Sherburn Street stood their ground with Mother Nature and roasted one last marshmallow on the bonfire before calling it quits at 9:30 p.m. The hope was for a renewed connection between neighbours and I think it is safe to say the mission was accomplished.
Christina Hiebert is a community correspondent for the West End. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org