By coming together with neighbours and friends to work on a common cause, you can make a difference in your community. This is especially true when it comes to community safety issues.
This section provides ideas on how to create a stronger, safer, better neighbourhood through projects that bring people together and increase their sense of wellbeing.
- Adopt a park
- Start a community garden
- Do a community clean-up
Adopt a park
The City of Ottawa’s Adopt a Park, Roadway or Gateway program encourages residents to get involved in maintaining our public spaces. The program is open to community groups and people of all ages who want to enhance the quality of life in our community.
Here’s how it works:
- Volunteers take on park or roadway clean-up projects to improve safety and to keep the city clean, green and free of litter and graffiti. By removing debris and litter, they help protect the water quality of our rivers and fish habitats.
- Volunteers participate in clean-up projects at least twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall.
- The City asks individuals and groups to commit for a minimum of two years to the program.
- Adopted parks, roadways or gateways display a sign featuring the names of the adopting person or group.
Visit the City’s website for more information on the program and how to get involved.
Build a community garden
A community garden is a place where people come together to grow flowers, herbs, fruits or vegetables. Often, community gardens make use of neglected or underused spaces in neighbourhoods, providing beauty and food for the people who tend them.
Benefits of community gardens
Environmental education and conservation: By growing fruits, vegetables and herbs in a community garden, you can learn how to get fresh, local food. Gardening reduces your environmental footprint, since you’ll need to buy less produce transported from farther away.
Community building: Gardening with people in your neighbourhood can create a sense of community and closeness. It gives people a chance to meet and work together on an area that everyone can enjoy. It also connects people of different generations and cultures and helps neighbours find common interests.
Healthy body and mind: Gardening is part of a healthy lifestyle. It gets people outside and doing something active. It can also provide stress relief and educational opportunities.
Neighbourhood pride: Community gardens help create a sense of pride among neighbours who work together on the project.
For more information
- How to start and maintain your community garden: Community Gardening Network of Ottawa
- Support for your garden: If you are planning your garden in a commercial area, contact your local Business Improvement Area to find out if they want to get involved
Do a community clean-up
A community clean-up is an event in which friends and neighbours work together to clean up a park, street, ravine, shoreline, pathway, bus stop or other public space.
The City of Ottawa has two scheduled Cleaning Up the Capital days. One takes place in the spring and the other in the fall. You can register for these activities by calling 3-1-1.
The City provides volunteers with Cleanup Starter Kits, which include gloves, garbage bags, leaf-and-yard waste bags, project tips and important safety information.
You can also start a community clean-up on your own at other times during the year. You can request Cleanup Starter Kits and receive information about garbage pick-up and other issues by contacting the city at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why plan a community clean-up?
Organizing a community clean-up is a great way to
- make your community a cleaner place
- connect with friends and neighbours
- give back to your community
- allow high school students to earn some of their community service hours
It can also feel like an ‘instant win’ as you’ll see a big difference in a short period of time.
A tidy neighbourhood can
- help residents feel safe and secure
- develop a sense of pride in your neighbourhood
- set a good example for people of all ages
- encourage healthy living and an active lifestyle
How can you get involved?
Once you’ve chosen the area you want to clean up, gather some friends, neighbours or family members, and get to work!
Remember to practice safety when doing a community clean-up. Wear gloves (good thick ones that are not easily punctured) and boots. Always supervise children.
For more information