It’s always a beautiful day in the neighbourhood…
As someone who was born and raised in London, growing up in the south and then the west, I’ve always felt like I knew this city better than many. However, I can wholeheartedly admit that it wasn’t until I moved to the east, the Old East Village to be exact, that I truly understood what community means. In particular, a tight-knit community.
What is it about the OEV that makes it so special? There’s the history, the delicious restaurants, the Western Fair Market, the indie shops, the wonderful breweries, the oh so stroll-able streets, its proximity to downtown, and most of all, the people. People who live there (generally) love it. Like really, really love it! Honestly, I believe any other London neighbourhood would have a tough time rivaling OEV’s pride (sorry Wortley).
How can I prove all that? Well, let’s just talk about #OEV Day 2017 coming up on July 22nd. Previously, this event was known as The OEV Block Party and Yard Sale but this year, organizers Peter Strack, Katie Stewart, and Peter Davison, decided to shed even more love on the area… it’s a whole day devoted to the OEV!
With many of the events enjoyed by attendees in previous years, 2017 boasts added elements and soirees sure to convert anyone to the OEVill-igion. I spoke with the team collectively about what’s to come and here’s what they had to say.
What’s significant about the rebranding / new name OEV Day 2017?
It brings all the things that are going on in the neighbourhood into one place – yard sale, food, music, pop up shops, artisans and small business owners. It’s designed to celebrate all things OEV.
Peter Strack, the current president of the OEVCA in particular believes “the branding reflects the changes that have been going for over a decade here. It includes the business strip, the Market, the restoration of houses, new residential developments and the redevelopment of the Boyle Community Centre.”
Having an official day to celebrate one of London’s neighbourhoods is a big deal! What do you think this means for the OEV itself? And in a larger sense, for London as a whole?
Strack believes it continues to raise awareness for what OEV is all about. It’s the belief that this is a really diverse community. Due to the proximity to downtown (on major transit lines) it means that the OEV is a desirable neighbourhood to raise a family and start a business. It’s also very accessible to the whole city. People may not realize we have a brand new grocery store that has evolved out of a grassroots effort. [But it does!]
Can you see other London neighbourhoods following suit?
Old East Village is a hotbed for innovation. Whethit’sits the food incubator, craft brewing, or other small businesses, we believe this is leading edge stuff. We believe the neighbourhood is a leader in community economic development.
What can people expect from attending OEV Day?
Right off the top is our famous Old East Village Yard Sale. Sarah Howard and Lori Aitken have been coordinating with all the homes in the village and its looking like we’ll break the 100 household mark for the second year in a row. There’ll be great deals to be found, people raising money for charities and kids selling lots of lemonade.
Lori Aitken said: “in OEV, we’re a porch community to begin with so we’re accustomed to chatting with passersby but on yard sale day, people come from all over London and Southwestern Ontario! It’s really fun to share our lovely neighbourhood and our hospitality with the hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of people who visit in search of great deals and special treasures. It’s a thrift sale lover’s dream!”
The team behind the yard sale have created an interactive map, so check it out!
As the Yard Sale comes to a close, the Block Party kicks into high gear ( on Lorne Ave. between Ontario and Quebec Streets). This year, we have the bulk of the London Food Truck Association food trucks, local musical acts plus our headliner, The Classy Wrecks, a ska band from Toronto with roots here in the city. There’ll be a kids zone (it’s still being worked out) plus a new addition to the party: a chance to support local businesses with our pop up market (including Fire & Iron, Judith Purdy, Old East Village Grocer, On the Move Organics, and more). [Btw] there will be a bouncy castle!
Also, London Intercommunity Health Centre will be providing info on their new Community Exchange Project, and [will] share a sense of community spirit.
What’s the greatest thing about the OEV?
[It’s that] neighbours are willing to help each other and [there’s] a real sense of community. We sent this out to the OEV Facebook group and this was one of the major themes that came out of that online discussion. People know their neighbours, kids play and go to school together, the diversity of people and businesses within our neighbourhood [is what] we have going for us. There really is a special community feeling here.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Again – We welcome all Londoners to come and celebrate the OEV on this very special day and hope this will inspire them to keep coming back to our neighbourhood and business areas. We are a serious destination!
We’ll see you out there on July 22nd, London! For more info on music set times, yard sale locations, vendors, and food trucks, check out the event page right here.
Feature photo by Nicki Borland