Windsor-Essex ChangeCamp

On Saturday May 8th, 40 members of the community gathered at the Windsor-Essex ChangeCamp held at the Central Branch of the Windsor Public Library to answer this question,

How can we re-imagine Windsor-Essex as a stronger and more vibrant community?

We came together, and in true unconference fashion, we collaboratively built a schedule (photo) of the day’s topics of conversations. Brief notes from these sessions have been posted on this blog and they are also available on the wiki.

From all the organizers (Mita Williams, Nicole Noel, Art Rhyno, Jean Foster), I want to thank everyone who joined us that day and filled the day with conversation and connection.

The day would not have been possible without the financial support of our sponsors and so much thanks goes to:  Open Source Learning Systems, Go Vital Internet Service, and The Centre for Studies in Social Justice.

Thanks also goes out to Shane Potvin for the Momentum Rose buttons that each attendee received and to Taste Bud Food and Far Flung Foods for keeping us well fed.

And the organizers very much appreciate the coverage of Windsor-Essex ChangeCamp event from the windsoriteDOTca, the Downtown Windsor Blog, The Early Shift (CBC Radio Windsor) and The Windsor Star and especially from all the attendees who helped us spread the word about the event on Twitter, on Facebook, and to their friends.

We are very grateful for the Windsor Public Library to have been able to host the event with such a great space for community gathering.

And thanks goes out to Mark Kuznicki of and to all the fellow ChangeCamp organizers across Canada who inspired us to strengthen our community by hosting a gathering to strengthen our community.

Twitter feed from WEChangeCamp

Photos from WEChangeCamp

Third Session – Group F

Regional identity. What is your Windsor gem?

  • if I was a tourist and asked you, what do you love about windsor
  • ottawa street, riverfront, peche island
  • Dairy Freeze ; poutine at Phog
  • photo of ideas to come!!
  • we are not alone. not just me
  • the power of listening in organizations and the potential of person to person
  • we can change windsor
  • small things will make big things
  • create some collaboration
  • we want future events
  • encourage to post a particular milestone

Third Session – Group A

Increase awareness of our cultural assets

  • Cultural RoadMap – more about that coming up
  • There seems to be a disconnect between the arts section and how that money gets amplified
  • need to validate the investment into the arts community
  • should challenge these critics head on
  • let them know that the art spaces are their spaces too – if not them then
  • the area seems to lacking some energy area – need a place that feels the creative energy
  • cultural summit
  • city= movement, people, goods – build this as an artist theme
  • arts destination – in the old west superanchor?
  • creating buzz
  • kids days
  • classic cars as art? artifacts that should be showcased
  • great exhibits at the agw – how to get the word of mouth
  • marketing is being pinched everywhere – and then it creates a negative cycle
  • wednesday, free admission
  • a cultural mall – space to interact
  • close down some streets for festivals – spill out on the streets — cafes, local artists
  • festivals every weekend – buskers, etc — make a destination where something interesting is always happening – other than bar hopping
  • grants are available
  • balloon effect of good art things

Third Session – Group D

How do we get local businesses to work together to improve downtown?

  • looked into business trying new things
  • how to bring businesses downtown and then bringing people downtown
  • focused on young people – dave and busters brings in kids
  • windsor eats – some people need a tangible physical presence
  • Kelly is hosting some space for Windsor Eats
  • red tape is debilitating to start new businesses
  • social purchasing portal – as a way to have businesses to purchase from each other – the money changes hands buts stays local
  • formalize alliances using this portal
  • open places to rent — an online thing from Tom from Phog demonstrates
  • the best of the future is ahead of us

Third Session – Group C

Light rail – How can we improve public transit in Windsor

  • why is ridership low?
  • stigma: could fight this by asking residents to design local transit stops and reflect space and pride
  • student artwork in transit
  • advocate money saved, less traffic
  • addressing convenience – project for gps will be added to buses – so can be used with smartphones
  • the idea of free transit – this would eliminate the cost of handling .. money. this was costed out at millions
  • Brazillian idea: you pay into a station so that people could load on the bus more quickly
  • light rail also discussed

Third session – Group B

Public Market – Downtown Windsor Farmers Market

  • local produce is coming into the downtown core and residents are able to get some of their staples locally
  • now other farmer’s markets in Essex county are being started
  • important because there is a connection between the city and the county – this a path that connect the true
  • differences between a public market v. a true farmers market
  • problem – can you have two public markets in the city? What would happen to the Ottawa market
  • what would happen if Oullette was closed down and stores were encouraged to set up on the street
  • the downtown market could expand and then bring in other businesses and a different mix of people there and change the feel of the downtown core
  • how could the market develop – its a really great beginning but it could expand into something great – its sustained by volunteers who are making it work
  • successful don’t need a large investment from the city- its the investment by the people that has grown it into

Third session – Group E

Does Windsor have anybody willing to join CASNP (Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native Peoples) and work with and advocating for Indigenous Peoples?

  • hope to get a branch of the Canadian Alliance
  • Windsor’s history is based in aboriginal history
  • would like a public statement of items of what things have happened in the past otherwise we move forward on a poor foundation
  • General Amherstberg admitted in his diary that British forces distributed smallpox blankets – a history that needs to widely be acknowledged
  • education and engagement
  • social networking to make connections, using cjam?

Second Session – Group E

Establishing a regional food policy, promoting “go local”, building awareness of farm + food + tourism

  • - had their own breakout session
  • food summit – food tourism
  • food security group
  • “food deserts” West end doesn’t have access to fresh food
  • local food can help restaurants, food tourism
  • local food can mean different things to different people
  • work with ethnic foods, new culinary experiences
  • fresh food to kids – some of that is happening – Rino is working on a project
  • support events in causes that you love
  • more creative events in which everyone winds

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