Do you ever get the feeling that people don’t know their neighbours these days?
›› Jennifer Chown
If you do get that feeling, you’re right. In a 2012 survey by the Vancouver Foundation, 46% of people said that they never see their neighbours. The survey found that the neighbour-to-neighbour relationships that do exist are polite, but they’re not very deep.
Locally, the Victoria Foundation’s 2016 Vital Signs survey found that Victorians only knew an average of four neighbours well enough to ask a favour of them.
But we all know that we should get to know our neighbours more than we do. We know that it is good for us. When we know our neighbours, our communities are stronger. Our streets are safer. We share more. We help each other. We are less isolated.
In response, a team from Leadership Victoria’s Community Leadership Development Program invites you—and your neighbours—to celebrate together on Victoria’s first Neighbour Day on Sunday May 7, 2017.
Neighbour Day started in Melbourne, Australia in March 2003, after the remains of an elderly woman were found inside her suburban home. The woman had been dead for two years – forgotten by her neighbours, her friends and her family. Appalled, a Melbourne resident suggested a ‘National Check on Your Neighbour Day’ in a letter to the editor of the Melbourne newspaper. This concept was refined and renamed, and on Sunday, March 30th, 2003, Australia’s first Neighbour Day was observed.
Today, Neighbour Day is celebrated coast-to-coast in Australia, and has spread to other parts of the world. Neighbour Day has been held in some Canadian cities previously, but never before on Vancouver Island.
On Neighbour Day, we invite you to meet and greet the people with whom you share your fences and walls. Do whatever feels right for you. We invite you to knock on a door for the first time, to wave, to lend a helping hand, to share, to visit, to throw a party—anything goes, as long as it involves you and the people in your building or on your street.
For more suggestions about how you can participate on Neighbour Day, or to download a Neighbour Day Toolkit, please visit neighbourdayvictoria.com or join us at facebook.com/neighbourdayvictoria. And please proudly let us know if you are making plans for Neighbour Day—stand up and be counted as someone who values neighbour-to-neighbour connections, and show the world that Victoria is full of friendly, neighbourly streets.