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Help Grow the Heart of Bowness

There is so much to celebrate this summer. You can feel it in the air: this pent-up demand for patio season, for birthday parties, for any activities that bring together the people we hold dear. We are lucky to have so many great outdoor places to gather here: Bowness Park, patios, front yards, and backyards. And the Bowness Community Association (BCA) is working on another: THE HEART OF BOWNESS!

The BCA has long been considered the Heart of Bowness, and we’re making it official by expanding into the outdoors. THE HEART OF BOWNESS will be a park space designed to celebrate the energy and passion of all Bownesians. With gardening space, a mixed-use sports court, a public art space, seating, and winter ice activities, this dream park will have a little something for everyone in our community.

THE HEART OF BOWNESS will add to our neighbourhood’s rich history of community gardens. You’ve probably driven past the old community garden located right on Bowness Road, on the east side of the train tracks; that garden was operated by the Bowness Railway Community Garden Group (BRG) until last year when the plot of land used for gardening changed ownership. While the situation was disappointing for the community, the BRG is very appreciative of the owner’s generosity in allowing them to use the ground and facilities for the last 13 years. Since getting the news, the BRG has been in talks with the BCA and other community organizations to relocate the community garden.

The value of community gardens is well known and their increasing popularity has been further boosted in the last year as travel has been restricted, global supply chains have been stretched to their breaking points, and financial strains have increased. THE HEART OF BOWNESS will have raised-bed garden boxes, inviting the community to continue the age-old tradition of building a bountiful harvest together.

In addition, there will be a multi-use sports court with endless possibilities right in the centre of THE HEART OF BOWNESS. This space will provide Bownesians old and new with a place to get active together all year long – complete with a basketball net, a pickleball court, public art, and potentially even a fire pit! The court will allow us to expand our existing programs, like popular pickleball, and move some classic BCA events to this space, like our annual Movie in the Park!

Flexibility is central to the vision for this park, so the court will be built to allow a seamless transition from summer activities to a winter wonderland. While nothing quite beats the iconic views while skating at Bowness Park, having our own ice will mean less crowding and more slip-sliding!

The park’s construction will begin this summer: garden boxes and a storage shed will be built, and a water line will be installed. Not only will this launch our project, but also ready the space for the full build-out in 2023!

Here’s the fun part: we need YOU to help us bring THE HEART OF BOWNESS to life! To complete your park, we need to raise $300,000 – and in a neighbourhood with such a strong spirit of giving, we know this goal can be reached by year’s end! We also need volunteers for the Fundraising, Gardening and Outdoor Ice Committees!

To contribute visit THE HEART OF BOWNESS page here!

To join one of our Committees, email: volunteer@mybowness.com

We invite you to follow along (and help us spread the word by using #HeartOfBowness) as construction gets underway. And we can’t wait to celebrate our unique community with you at THE HEART OF BOWNESS!

Imagine a place where you can go to sow some seeds, help them grow, harvest their bounty, and share with your loved ones. Now envision that place within a short walking distance from your home. Begin to imagine running into your neighbours and friends as you’re digging in the dirt, connecting to nature and discovering the joy of growing your own food.

Can you see it? It’s your community garden, a place to support your physical and mental wellbeing, for youth to learn to grow food, and where biodiversity can flourish. In other words, it’s a lot of things for a lot of people, but ultimately, it’s a safe space to learn about gardening, share intergenerational knowledge, and find a sense of belonging.

Starting this spring, the BCA invites you to come grow with us. Drop by the BCA office or email communityhub@mybowness.com to learn more and get involved.

“The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?”

– Jack Kornfield

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