This post is sponsored by TD and the TD Common Ground Project.
It was a beautiful day that brought a group of folks to the grounds of the Dartmouth North Community Centre for a big announcement!
Mother Goose was in attendance, as was Myrtle the Turtle, the Discovery Centre and our Mayor…fist bumping a group of kids who sat well-behaved…grinning and joking with their camp counsellors. It was a day for celebration…where there was music and dancing, crafts and games, an amazing feast…and of course, celebration cake!
Mr. Bharat Masrani, Group President and Chief Executive Officer of TD Bank Group, was in attendance along with multiple members of the TD team. They had GOOD NEWS to share.
With the Dartmouth North Community Centre (constructed in 1995) no longer meeting the needs of the community, TD will be funding the “Outdoor Library” portion of the exterior renovation as part of their TD Common Ground Initiative. The outdoor space will roll out along with a renovation to the HRM Rec space.
When completed, The Dartmouth North Community Centre will be more attractive, functional, and integrated into the surrounding community. The project will provide Dartmouth North with innovative indoor and outdoor spaces to foster discovery, creativity, and connection. The exterior renovations will enable the library to extend beyond the walls of the building…and bring the community in.
This year, as Canada marks 150 years as a nation, TD is recognizing this historical milestone by supporting local organizations to revitalize over 150 green spaces…helping to build vibrant infrastructure and programming to meet the distinct needs of different communities.
Mr. Masrani spoke to the group about the exciting new project…as did Mayor Mike Savage and a few other key players who’ve been instrumental in getting this project off the ground…Councilor Tony Mancini, Åsa Kachan (Chief Librarian/CEO, Halifax Public Libraries) and Brad Anguish (Director of Parks, Recreation, and Communities with the Municipality).
All were excited to share the news…but for me, goosebumps rose to my arms when Guyleigh Johnson, a Dartmouth North resident, took to the mic to perform her spoken word written for the event…“Where did we escape to?”
Where did we escape to?
what was our escape route?
we spent a lot of our time outside
seeking to hide
so the yelling adults would be quiet
we’d be at the park playing games
until it was time to go the library and explore
led us to rooms
full of computers and books
old lady giving looks
cause our excitement was compelling
then they’d start yelling
that we needed to lower our voices
meetings where they’d tell us to make better choices
our parents away from home
through the library we’d roam
every week new programs and I mean that
Things we never seen that
would change the way we think and move
books that would give us tools
being young was fun
Oh how we’d run
Through the hallways feeling free
Wind beneath our knees
accepting the possibilities
Where did we escape to?
What was our escape route?
people invested in who we became
never concerned about our last name
or our house on the street full of crime
These were the people that still gave us time
because they saw purpose in our attitudes
Creating a balance
So no matter how much
We’d seek and hide
We’d come back
And fulfill that
same unconditional Commitment
To my youth
always go to a space
where you can relate
learn and grow
and always make sure you go
And be leaders that teach
One hand is to move forward
The other is to look back and reach
I have no doubts in who you can be
because you used to be me
The idea for the project came directly from the community…the people who use the facility every single day. As Åsa Kachan points out, “People sit on the grass outside the library to pick up the free WiFi so it felt like this was a neighborhood where we should explore how we could push the boundaries and create better access to the Library’s resources.” The new space is envisioned as a way to “unwrap” itself in the community. Where a range of programming like outdoor movie nights and community gardens can tie back to the literacy and learning that unfolds inside. It’s a place where everyone is accepted and encouraged to participate…where the library and space around it really and truly belongs to the people who live in the community.
With the help of the folks at TD and their #TDCommonGround project, the Dartmouth North Community Centre is getting a fresh and innovative makeover. Ground is expected to break in the next few weeks as they plan for a beautiful new outdoor space.
Stay tuned…there’s much more to come! Follow the hashtag #TDCommonGround to see all of the amazing projects across Canada…including this one at the Dartmouth North Community Centre.
The picnic is just the beginning…great things will come from this space. Great people will benefit from its existence.
– – – – – – – – –
To learn more about the Halifax project, please visit:
Disclaimer: Curtains are Open was compensated by TD Canada for this post. As always, opinions are my own.