For the past 16 years, the North End Community Renewal Corporation has hosted its annual event, Picnic In The Park at St John’s Park. The event has demonstrated breadth within the community, connecting neighbors and forging strong, new relationships within the North End core.
Beginning in 1998, Picnic In The Park started out with only 8 North End Community Renewal Corporation staff members that sat on the project as its steering committee.
Each Committee member would organize one aspect of the event and that is how they would produce the event – fast forward, the committee and its attendees has more than tripled in size. On average, Picnic In The Park now attracts around 3000 people ranging between children and adults of all ages.
This year, Picnic In The Park took place at the Indian & Metis Friendship Centre. The change was due unfavorable weather conditions. With the weather forecast predicting powerful thunderstorms and lighting, the picnic team was required to call in Plan B and move the event indoors of the first time.
Due to the change some activities had to be cancelled, such as the 3 on 3 basketball tournament, the skateboard demonstrations and the Petting Zoo.
Because of the vast range-age, picnic has many different types and styles of activities that aim to pique the interest of its targeted group take place indoors – this year we had face-painting, literacy activities, painting activities, mask making activities as just a few options for children at the event. For adults, we had Aboriginal Music Week hosting the main stage, an hour of local talent (two spoken word artists, a guitar player, Graffiti Art Program performers), and several health organization booths. The event also hosted a community BBQ where over 3000 hotdogs, 2000 samosas and 1,100 bananas were distributed to attendees.
All-in-all the day was a true success and a symbol of the resiliency of the residents of this community. The North End Community Renewal Corporation is looking forward to another great event next year on August 20th 2016.
-Picnic in the Park Coordinator