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2019

ISSUE #4


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TABLE OF CONTENTS 01.

ON THE MENU A Spice Tour of Downtown Shop Like a Chef Finding Adventure in the Everyday Better When Shared A Circular Rhythm

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pg. 29 pg. 31 pg. 33 pg. 35

pg. 39 pg. 43

COMMUNITY Fostering Friendliness A Job Well Done The New Faces of Work Spaces Little Canada in Downtown Barbershop Renaissance

O wnI t M agazin e | I ssue 4

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pg. 19 pg. 23 pg. 26 pg. 27

It’s our unwavering sense of community that truly defines Downtown Kitchener. It’s where dreamers, creators and makers find neighbours, collaborators and friends. No matter the size, scale or type of change you want to champion, if it betters our community, people here will help you! And if you simply want to be a part of something, there’s a place for you in DTK.

ARTS & CULTURE Connecting with Colour Leisure-able Lifestyle in a Compact Core

05.

pg. 9 pg. 11 pg. 15

EXPLORE THE CORE How and Where to Make Friends Smile, It's Saturday Dog Days in DTK A Family Guide to Downtown Kitchener

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pg. 3 pg. 7

LIFESTYLE Making Strides Towards a More Sustainable Future A Spotlight on Sustainable Style 7 Plants for Condo Living The New Picket Fence Perception

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Page 19

pg. 45 pg. 47 pg. 49 pg. 53 pg. 55

CONTRIBUTORS The People Behind the Pages

pg. 59

www.downtownkitchener.ca


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The New Faces of Work Spaces "People don’t want to go to work anymore and sit in a cubicle or at a desk that’s quiet and feel like they’re on their own and isolated. They want to come to work and feel like they’re in an exciting environment..."

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O wnI t M agazin e | I ssue 4

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Better When Shared "When people converge around a table and share dishes, a real sense of community is created. Instead of being head-down and focused on your own dish, you’re engaged and interacting with others."

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Author

Photographer

Jannell Lo

Jess Kalman

O n t h e M enu

A SPICE TOUR OF DOWNTOWN

D

owntown Kitchener’s emerging landscape of diverse cuisines came as a pleasant surprise when I moved here just over a year ago. Growing up in a big city, I’m used to enjoying pho one day, jerk chicken another and finishing the week with a homey Indian curry.

When I first moved to Kitchener, I anticipated learning how to cook all of my favourites, but with the selection of great options available to me, I haven’t had to work nearly as hard as I had feared!

A Sp ice To ur o f Do wnt o wn


Pho Vietnam K&W

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O n t h e M enu

Sahar’s Kitchen

Mark’s Caribbean Kitchen Sahar’s Kitchen

Mark’s Caribbean Kitchen

Pho Vietnam K&W

| 83 King Street E.

| 20 King Street E.

| 4-28 Cedar Street S.

Take a break from classics like butter chicken or samosas and ask the husband and wife duo at Sahar’s Kitchen about their off-menu specials. If you’re more adventurous, try the exceptional goat curry, braised and coated in a lusciously spiced gravy, served best alongside saffron rice and an order of lachha paratha — a flakier, chewier version of naan.

Mark moved to Kitchener 40 years ago to study and work, but only opened his Caribbean establishment about a year ago. Despite the restaurant’s relative youth, it’s clear Mark’s been working on his craft behind the scenes, as he has completely mastered his jerk chicken recipe. Well-balanced, moist and not too spicy, he combines it with expertly caramelized plantain and a lightly vinegared slaw to round it all out.

Tucked away on Cedar Street between King and Charles, Pho Vietnam K&W serves up an extensive menu of classic Vietnamese fare. The pho is fantastic, but don’t let it stop you from trying other outstanding dishes.

Other standouts are the oxtail stew, braised in a deep and mouth-watering jus, and the succulent shrimp curry which can be ordered as a warm pocket of joy inside a roti. Most dishes are served with either rice and peas (but actually beans), fries or roti.

A Spice Tour o f D ownt own

Vegetarians can try the North Indian dish of baingan bharta comprised of roasted and stewed eggplant, tomato, aromatics and a medley of earthy spices. At lunch, they have affordable thali combos with your choice of protein, paired with basmati, naan and salad. Complete your meal with a cool mango lassi, a yogurty shake that’ll subdue the tingling on your tongue.

If you want more of a kick in your noodle soup, try bo kho — rice noodles served in an aromatic, lemongrass broth topped with tender stewed beef and carrots. Or if you’re craving something fresh and bright, you can’t go wrong with any of the vermicelli bowls served with nuoc cham — an essential Vietnamese sauce made of fish sauce and lime. Enjoy with a traditional iced coffee served with condensed milk or one of their many refreshing fruit-shakes and you’ll be transported right to Saigon.


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Pupuseria Latinos

“From Cedar Street to Victoria, Weber to Charles, experience the rich spices of Africa, the fragrant aromas of Asia, as well as the deep flavours and bright acidity of South America.” Pupuseria Latinos

Korean BBQ Restaurant

Northern Thai

| 25 Eby Street S.

| 265 King Street E.

| 95 Queen Street S.

Delicious and affordable, Pupuseria Latinos serves up an assortment of delectable and inherently gluten-free pupusas — a Salvadoran flatbread made from corn flour, stuffed with ingredients like pork, legumes and melted cheese. Don’t miss the squeeze bottle of salsa Roja, a simple tomato sauce that provides a burst of acidity.

Go beyond quintessential kimchi and bibimbap at Korean BBQ Restaurant with their pocket-friendly combinations. Warm-up to a mug of roasted barley tea as you decide on what to order.

For some seriously tasty Thai eats, head over to Northern Thai just south of The Walper on Queen Street. Arrive early as seats fill up during the lunch rush. For a twist on the usual pad thai, try the drunken noodles — a popular late-night dish in Thailand stir-fried with basil and chili.

A Spice Tour o f D ownt own

For a killer brunch option, order the Ranchero Latino — two fried eggs served on corn tortillas with avocado pico de gallo, tomato salsa, refried beans, sour cream and a fried plantain. Complete the meal with a traditional horchata — a sweet, cinnamony milk beverage that will round out your tastebuds.

My top picks include japchae, a stirfried sweet potato noodles with beef and vegetables, gamjatang, meaty pork bones simmered in a fiery broth, galbi, thin beef short ribs marinated in sweet soy and grilled to perfection and mandu, steamed pork dumplings with a sesame soy dipping sauce. All dishes come with steamed rice and banchan — a smattering of side dishes to whet your appetite.

For the curry enthusiasts, the dry curry is everything but. Choose between beef, chicken, shrimp or fish, coated in a thick, velvety red curry with lime leaves and coconut cream. Not to mention the superbly charred crab fried rice with egg, vegetables and plenty of wok hay — the flavour from the breath of the wok. Choose between a fried or fresh spring roll to accompany your meal.


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O n t h e M enu

Through the various mom and pop businesses that have sprung up in the neighbourhood, you can go on a continental spice tour within walking distance of city hall. These #dtkeats business owners came to Kitchener in search of new opportunities and now contribute tremendously in uniting and strengthening our community. From Cedar Street to Victoria, Weber to Charles, experience the rich spices of Africa, the fragrant aromas of Asia, as well as the deep flavours and bright acidity of South America.

Spots for Similar Flavours Ellison’s Bistro

| 14 Charles Street W. Rainbow Caribbean Cuisine Korean BBQ Restaurant

| 29 King Street E., Suite 5 The Caribbean Kitchen

| 300 King Street E. (Kitchener Market) Banh Mi Givral

| 210 King Street E. Pho Dau Bo

| 301 King Street E. Pho DNK

| 151 King Street W. Wooden Boat Food Company

| 20 Hurst Avenue, Unit 1 Flor de Izote

| 300 King Street E. (Kitchener Market)

| 273 King Street W., 2nd Floor Variedad Latina Restaurant

| 197 King Street E. Northern Thai

A Spice Tour o f D ownt own

The Guanaquita Restaurant


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Author

Contributor

Photographer

Mistie Brown

Alex Krawczyk

Paige Bush

SHOP LIKE A CHEF

O n t h e M enu

Before he was a Conestoga College culinary graduate, Alex Krawczyk spent his childhood hanging around his parents’ business, Nougat Bakery. After they retired in 2014, Alex set out on a culinary exploration across Asia while his sister, Ewelina, opened Pure Juice Bar and Kitchen in Downtown Kitchener located at 305 King Street W.

A

lex returned to run that kitchen for over two years before making the leap from juice bar to soul food in the kitchen at The Grand Trunk Saloon. Currently, Alex is putting his Asian-inspired culinary skills to work creating unexpected sharing boards, skewered snacks and homemade sausage at The Grand Surf Lounge. I joined this Downtown chef on a trip to the Kitchener Market on a crisp Saturday morning in late September. He shared some of his favourite products and producers, the surprising seasonal vegetable he can’t get enough of and why a locally made summer sausage is his favourite thing to gift. Do you remember your first experience at the Kitchener Market? I grew up visiting the Market because of my parents' bakery. When I worked at a restaurant in Uptown Waterloo, I would go to the Kitchener Market in search of the best ingredients to feature. But after moving Downtown, it officially became my go-to supermarket. Where’s the first place you visit on a Saturday morning? Before I even step into the Market, I always start at Golden Hearth Bakery for a loaf of pain au levain and cottage sourdough. As someone who grew up in a bakery, I have very strong opinions on bread and they make some of the best in the city. Their croissants are super tender, but have this shattering crust. Which seasonal products really excite you?

Shop L ike A Che f

Chef Alex Krawczyk

Everyone laughs at me for it, but when new potato season comes around I can’t get enough of them. They are so delicate and creamy. It’s an ingredient that is so simple but so different than the regular potatoes you find during the rest of the year. I am Polish, after all.


Can you describe your Market shopping route and some of the products you always look for? First things first, I always start with a Bling Bling bar from Anna Tolazzi Artisan Chocolates. It’s like a Twix bar but way better. Eating a piece of chocolate within minutes of being at the Market has become a ritual. My second stop is always La Casbah for their amazing Moroccan wraps. The wraps are so good and freeze well. I always stock up my freezer for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.

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O n t h e M enu

Next up is Meatarian Inc. for jerky. Their pâté quality and selection is amazing. Their salami is also super tasty. Unfactory Farm is my next stop for the flax-fed organic eggs. Sometimes the farmer has eggs from his own chickens and they are out of this world. They also have amazing local produce, but it’s their summer sausage that steals the show. It’s slightly smoky, not overly salty but very strongly soured. You could seriously gift it for housewarming parties, baby showers or weddings. It will always be well received. Just past them is a Kipfer's Heritage Farms, a new stall I love for chicken, beef and pork. Across the way is another small local farm that has amazing super tender lettuce greens — but all of their produce is great. Then I head out and wander the aisles in the outdoor produce area. Mostly, I just get whatever is local and in season but lemons, limes and berries are the things I’ll always pick up.

After a big market shop, what’s your favourite thing to make for friends? I often cook the Polish comfort food my mom cooked for me when I was growing up. I’ll make some cucumber and dill salad with sour cream, sauerkraut soup and traditional pierogis. It’s a way of letting them get to know me and my history in a more intimate way. We can’t end a Q&A without getting your top pick at The Grand Surf Lounge?

Find more vendor and product information at kitchenermarket.ca

Shop L ike A Che f

Right now it has to be the pork luau. It’s a big shareable platter with roasted pork belly, house-made night market sausage, a bunch of exotic fruit and a couple rotating sides that I often come up with on the fly with root chips and lettuce wraps. It’s snackable, filling and never boring. It’s a dish that brings a table together over the shared experience of something unexpected.


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O n t h e M enu

FINDING ADVENTURE IN THE EVERYDAY

Author & Photographer

Chris Tiessen

Fi ndi ng Adv e nt ur e i n t he Ev e ryday

I

know these city blocks like the back of my hand, I murmur to myself as I turn down another alleyway — furtively searching for an undercover entrance to an underground world. After all, I grew up in this town. I was raised here, went to school here and found drama and delight on these very Downtown streets. And yet, on this chilly November evening in Kitchener’s core, I’m struggling to locate what I’ve come searching for. Sugar Run — a yesteryear speakeasy for today’s professional set. Eventually I spot it: the hidden entrance that, even in our day, offers the excitement of discovery. The giveaway is a plain (albeit elegantly-designed) logo positioned above a nondescript metal door in one of the core’s back alleys. A gaggle of smartly-dressed 30-somethings standing around the entryway further cements my suspicion that this must be the place. I rap on the sturdy door. Wait a few seconds. It opens a crack and I awkwardly mumble a password I tracked down on social media. And I escape inside. In a manner of speaking, I get away, disappear, shake off all that lies outside that robust portal. After all, the aura such a secretive hideout projects is meant to give patrons the semblance of disconnection from the outside world.


"We crave it — excitement, wonderment. An escape from the norm. What we are trying to do here is to add some delight, some element of surprise, to the mundane of everyday life." “As grown-ups, how often do we really get to enjoy a sprinkle of adventure in our day?” asks Sugar Run coowner Justin Vail once I’ve settled in at the long bar.

“And yet,” he continues, seemingly responding to his own rhetorical question, “we crave it — excitement, wonderment. An escape from the norm. What we are trying to do here is to add some delight, some element of surprise, to the mundane of everyday life. So far … lots of folks seem to get the speakeasy concept. And maybe some don’t. And that’s totally fine by us.” I nod and then survey the space. It certainly has the feel of a Prohibition-era watering hole: the woodwork, leather-appointed booths, the old school lamps and fans, low ceiling and exposed pillars that bear the weight of this basement underworld. “We built the place from scratch,” notes Justin’s business partner (and Sugar Run co-owner) Kypp Saunders above the energized hubbub of conversation, laughter and – on this night — live brass band. “It was nothing but a bare basement when we first got our hands on it,” Kypp says.

Bacardi White, clarified pink citrus, edible sparkles, Island Fruit Drops and seltzer. And more. “Our focus is rum,” Justin tells me. “My mom is Guyanese, so I grew up around the stuff. It’s delicious — and also helps differentiate us from the Region’s other cocktail joints.” Before long, a sampling of dishes arrives from Sugar Run’s kitchen. A couple — like the jerk tofu skewers and Cuban sandwich — are ostensibly inspired by the South American vibe of Sugar Run’s drinks menu. And others — including a seafood charcuterie board with fresh oysters — pay homage to the joint’s Big Band era speakeasy roots.

O n t h e M enu

The place is dark, moody and perfect.

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As I settle in to enjoy these exotic offerings, I cannot help but note the courage and ambition it must have taken to build this place. These terrific dishes, of course, and the impressive cocktail menu. The regular live entertainment (Sugar Run schedules rotating nights featuring swing and jazz bands, burlesque, comedy, funk and break music and more) and the wonderfully designed space. And, of course, the speakeasy concept itself. A spot that deliberately remains concealed for its patrons’ pleasure — located somewhere amongst the shadows and offering, as Justin notes, “a sprinkle of adventure.”

Justin fixes me a drink while we sit and chat. It’s bound to be a treat — Sugar Run’s ‘The Kraken.’ Built in a martini glass with Islay Peat Mist, Kraken Spiced Rum, Amaro Nonino, Benedictine, Vanilla Rye Bitters and St. Jacobs’ EcoCafe Nitro Cold Brew, its dark chocolatey hue, frothy head and rolling cascades of foam from the nitro are nothing less than captivating.

I lift the drink to my mouth and take a sip — decadently smooth. I can’t help wondering what other concoctions of subtle beauty might be offered in the drink menu. It’s a marvelous read. There’s a classic ‘Sugar Run N Coke’ with Luxardo Cherry, dark rum, Amaro, house cola, and zest. The ‘Captain OG,’ with Sailor Jerry Spiced, smoked pineapple jam, Sea Water and Angostura. ‘The Rum Collins Affair’ featuring honey tincture, Havana Club 3, citrus, honey, egg whites, coconut cacao nib foam and seltzer. ‘Cute and Crushable,’ made up with Luxardo,

Fi ndi ng Adv e nt ur e i n t he Ev e ryday

“A Dan Collins creation,” Justin notes of the cocktail, alluding to one of Sugar Run’s lead bartenders. In fact, Dan has crafted Sugar Run’s entire cocktail menu.


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O n t h e M enu

B et t e r W hen Sha re d


Author & Photographer

Florence Grunfelder

Izna Donburi House

O n t h e M enu

BETTER WHEN SHARED

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In Downtown Kitchener, you’ll find plenty of restaurants that offer great sharing menus.

T

hanks to the modern trend of ordering a handful of sharing dishes instead of individual meals, diners now have more options to choose from than ever before. With more options, you feel more adventurous to try something you normally wouldn’t eat. If you don’t like a particular dish, you know there’ll be one that you will. But this trend is more than just about experiencing a variety of delicious food and flavours, it’s also about creating a sense of community. We know food brings people together; it’s even more so with sharing dishes. When you sit down and share a dish with someone else, it’s an opportunity to put your phone away and explore food and conversations with new and old friends alike. It’s an opportunity to connect with others while indulging in amazing food and drinks. Here are some tasty shareable options for your next Saturday night out.

Izna Donburi House

| 137 King Street E. Take a seat at the central communal table, where you and your friends can enjoy hearty Japanese comfort food alongside other diners, under dimly lit red lanterns. The wood panel walls, wooden tables and benches give the restaurant a warm, rustic vibe. From the open concept kitchen, you can spot the owner and chef, Chris Lee, in action. Chris was trained as a Japanese chef in Korea. He prides himself in making everything hand-made and cares deeply about his patrons. He even created a dish — the Omurice, chicken fried rice topped with omelet — for the Kitchener community.

As he said that, I glance at a group of students sitting at a few tables down. Multiple dishes are laid out along the table, food is being passed around. I hear laughter — sharing dishes and caught up in their conversation.

B et t e r W hen Sha re d

“I like to watch my customers’ faces when they try my food. I want them to be happy,” Chris says.


East African Café

| 50 Ontario Street S. 13

to dinner time, in efforts to accommodate more of his patrons.

O n t h e M enu

Afework Girmayie, the owner of East African Café makes you feel at home the moment you walk inside. The interior is very simple, with African paintings hanging from the mustard coloured walls and you can hear the sound of a television playing in the back. You feel like you’re in someone’s home rather than a restaurant.

The dishes are mainly vegetarian/vegan with some meat options available. The portions are incredibly generous so be sure to come here on an empty stomach.

“Central to our dishes is injera, a yeast-risen flatbread on which various minced vegetables and savoury stews are served. Patrons use the injera, rather than utensils, to pick up morsels of food, usually from a large platter shared with family or friends,” Afework said.

When you step into this tiny Tiki bar, you feel transported to a tropical destination. Exotic cocktails are served with the ubiquitous, colourful umbrella, dancing Hula-girl lamps give light to a dim atmosphere, and surfboards are used as tables.

Afework explains that sharing food is part of East African culture. Every day, family, friends and even neighbours sit down at a round table to eat together.

When I was speaking with owner, Darryl Haus, he dropped the word ‘fun’ repeatedly throughout the conversation. And that’s what the atmosphere at The Grand Surf Lounge is like — kitschy and fun.

And Afework is bringing this sense of communal eating right here in Downtown Kitchener. “When you eat with your fingers, you connect to your food,” he says. Also, when you have a chance to taste every dish on the platter, you connect with others, through the shared experience of eating the food itself. And through his food, Afework is connecting with the DTK vegan community. So much so that he’ll be moving the Tuesday Vegan Buffet, normally offered at lunchtime

B et t e r W hen Sha re d

East African Café

The Grand Surf Lounge

| 87 Ontario Street S.

Think California surfer food meets Southeast Asia with lots of fresh flavours and a good kick of spice. The menu is very small and changes frequently. That’s what’s unique about this charming little place, as they work towards pairing the food and drinks together. “I think the entire idea of our restaurant is about creating community. We play the music loud and the lights dim to make it a good party. So guests can come and share some food and drinks, discover the restaurant together and have a good time,” Chef Alex Krawczyk says.


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The Grand Surf Lounge “All the food I make is specifically made to be eaten with your hands, or occasionally chopsticks. I also make sure it's all very shareable and people respond by often getting three or four plates for the table, rather than something for themselves.” Food aside, The Grand Surf Lounge also offers 32oz drinks meant to be shared with others.

When you sit down and share a dish with someone else, it’s an opportunity to put your phone away and explore food and conversations with new and old friends alike.

I was surprised to find out that most of their decorations, like the surfboards, were donated or on loan by their customers, further reinforcing connection and sharing between the bar and its patrons. “We're a great place for date night, being small and very intimate. I think we are the perfect fit for anyone looking to escape away to somewhere tropical, drink some boozy cocktails in parrot mugs and eat some intriguingly delicious food,” Alex says.

It’s from this experience of communal camaraderie, where you’re sharing food, drinks and stories, that real connections are made.

B et t e r W hen Sha re d

When people converge around a table and share dishes, a real sense of community is created. Instead of being head-down and focused on your own dish, you’re engaged and interacting with others. You’re busy passing the food around, you’re curious about what the other dishes taste like.


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Author

Photographer

Shalaka Jadhav

Yeabsra Agonfer

A CIRCULAR RHYTHM

O n t h e M enu

W

hen I first move into a new place, part of what completes my orientation into the neighbourhood is visiting the local grocery store. When I first moved from an on-campus residence into the broader Kitchener-Waterloo community, I leaned on Saturday morning visits to the Kitchener Market and local grocers to provide a reprieve from the student bubble in Waterloo, a routine that continued until the end of my studies. One such grocer, Full Circle Foods, has always been en route. If I needed to grab a snack before heading to the Market, or heading onto an intercity bus, I’d pop by, rummage through the bulk bins for an assortment of snacks and rush back to Charles Street Terminal. In 2017, former owner Patricia Szlagowski put Full Circle Foods up for sale. I worried that the humble natural foods store would be flipped into an inaccessible, hyper-curated space in Downtown. Where cranes tower over the once mid-sized blocks, older businesses getting torn down in a hurry. However, in January 2020, Sam Nabi and Julia Gogoleva will celebrate their two-year anniversary as the new owners of Full Circle Foods.

A Ci rcul a r Rhy t hm


shoppers and community members. While upcoming residential developments tell a narrative of the influx of tech workers, Kitchener’s resilient Downtown continues to host a diversity of people and they want Full Circle Foods to reflect that, as a store for the people.

As residents in the neighbourhood, Sam and Julia found themselves in the Saturday morning rhythm of visiting the Kitchener Farmers’ Market and swinging by Full Circle Foods for their bulk needs, which always included peanut butter. It was a place to run into friends and hosted a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Julia notes the feeling of entering some stores, noticing they have the perfect products, but not feeling the same warmth she associates with Full Circle Foods. It’s important to the new owners to offer priceconscious products for people across all lifestyles. While considering the many grocery stores in Downtown Kitchener — many ethnically diverse — Sam and Julia trust that they will never be the specialty store. Yet, they note the importance of supporting each other as a network, as to defend against the big-box stores that often encompass the grocery store landscape.

When Sam and Julia noticed a hand-written "For Sale" sign at Full Circle Foods, they joked about what it would be like to purchase the store. Soon, their hypothetical discussions began — what would it look like to buy Full Circle Foods? With the help of 22 community lenders, they were able to buy the store on Jan. 24, 2018. As owners, they experience the rhythm of the store beyond the Saturday visits and meet the range of

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O n t h e M enu

Like many Kitchener-Waterloo transplants, Sam moved to Waterloo to attend school and now considers Downtown Kitchener home. Born in Russia, Julia moved to Kitchener via Toronto, left for school, and she’s now back calling Downtown Kitchener home.

Surrounding restaurants and businesses source some supplies from them in bulk and when customers ask if something is in stock that Full Circle Foods may not carry, Sam and Julia are happy to recommend other stores that may cater to those needs. “Hasty Market has like, five kinds of pomegranate molasses, we could never do that,” Julia says. “It’s important to us that we know where we stand in the community”. Relationships with local businesses are key to working towards becoming an affordable, low-waste grocery store. While it may be logistically difficult, direct relationships are helping Full Circle Foods expand their capacity to offer zero-waste products. “We’ve recently started carrying laundry soap in bulk,'' Sam says, noting that their supplier takes back the 20-litre containers to reuse. Both owners agree that they don’t care too much about the aesthetics of zero-waste, as long as it works. While barriers like time, general cooking knowledge and resources do exist, there is a perception that it has to be beautiful and expensive. “But it doesn't have to be that way,” Julia says. However, for decades, customers have been shopping with mason jars at Full Circle Foods.

3 Charles Street W.

Full Circle Foods

Sarah, who has worked at Full Circle Foods for over 20 years, was drawn to the health food branding of Full Circle Foods, but particularly, the large bulk section. “I’d bought everything but toilet paper there!” she says.

A Ci rcul a r Rhy t hm

“We’re bouncing back from a cycle of mass consumption,'' says Sam.


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“Trust our intuition, and align it with our excitement,” Julia says. “We want to meet people where they’re at, and provide solutions that add value. Food should be fun. Check out a store you’re curious about.”

O n t h e M enu

Sarah remembers the bulk section being such a draw for the community that there would be an annual bake sale, where community members would buy baking supplies and sell them back at the bake sale hosted by the store; popular recipes for those willing to share were published in the Full Circle Foods newsletter, an archive of which is housed at the store. For those who still see Full Circle Foods as “a health food store,'' Sam and Julia are working to reframe the space as a grocery and bulk store. “The label of health food store means you have a limited buffet [of suppliers] to choose from,” Sam says. “We want to move away from that boutique feeling and don’t want to get caught up in labels.” Sam and Julia chuckle as they share their enthusiasm for attending this year’s Canadian Grocery Retail Conference. Having grown up in the suburbs, Sam remembers the weekly grocery runs at national grocery chains. In a Downtown that is often touted to have no one-stop supermarket, Full Circle Foods serves as an urban grocer amongst an existing and growing network of grocers. What’s next for Sam and Julia? “Trust our intuition, and align it with our excitement,” Julia says, “We want to meet people where they’re at, and provide solutions that add value. Food should be fun. Check out a store you’re curious about.”

A Ci rcul a r Rhy t hm

If that store happens to be Full Circle Foods, look for the hand-painted signs. My favourite is one painted by Julia, framed by some of the plants offered in their bulk section, like black turtle beans and quinoa, thanking the many community lenders who made their dreams a reality.


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O n t h e M enu A Ci rcul a r Rhy t hm

Julia Gogoleva and Sam Nabi, Owners of Full Circle Foods


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Author

Photographer

Vanda Frak

Ryan Antooa

Li fes t y l e

MAKING STRIDES TOWARDS A MORE SUSTAINABLE FUTURE It takes more than remembering to bring a tote bag to the market or reducing single-use plastic waste by using metal straws to make a significant impact on our environment — albeit those are meaningful first steps. It takes community leaders implementing options for change and it takes individuals in the community to champion those changes.

M a k i n g St ri de s To wa r ds a M o re Sust a in able Fut ur e

Goudies Lane

Tori Ward, Artist, @whosblankie


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Li fes t y l e

Legacy Greens

S

ustainability has become an emerging focus in the last few years, as communities have become aware of the shifting conditions of the environment and wildlife, worldwide. It’s a timely, urgent and important focus and the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area (BIA) is doing its part in making sustainability a core responsibility in their community.

A successful quarter of the pilot program could create significant impact on our community and the environment. 83.83 metric tonnes of organic waste would be diverted from participating Downtown businesses, 19 tonnes of tC02e equivalent would be diverted from the Region's landfills allowing 36.59 homes to be powered for a month from clean energy generated through an anaerobic process and lastly, 565,861 light bulbs would be generated by the anaerobic digestion process.

“We believe that climate change, which [was] the biggest topic in our [past] election, will result in changes from our governments regarding organic waste disposal.” The pilot program has a capacity of 20 participants. La Cucina, McCabe’s, Pure Juice Bar and Kitchen, Bobby O’Brien’s, Matter of Taste, Legacy Greens, Mark's Caribbean Kitchen, Living Fresh, Full Circle Foods, The Grand Trunk Saloon, The Grand Surf Lounge, Café Pyrus and Square are the restaurants and businesses already participating. There are seven more spots available for participants who would also like to get involved and commit to diverting organic food waste from the landfills. “[Once the pilot program ends next July] the Downtown Kitchener BIA is working with Sustainable Waterloo Region and the City of Kitchener to apply for funding from our provincial and federal governments that will allow them to continue the program for another year, proving a repeatable process for other BIA’s that could establish grant funding for other cities in the future,” Linda says.

Ma k i ng S tr ide s To wa r ds a M o re Sust a in able Fut ur e

In their efforts to do so, they have launched an Organic Waste Diversion pilot program in July 2019 that is aimed to encourage restaurants and businesses in the Downtown core to dispose of their organic waste separately. This waste is then collected and sent to a biogas plant in Elmira, where it is processed and converted into electricity that will then serve the community. The BIA is co-ordinating the year-long pilot project and providing $45,000 in funding for its first phase.

“The Downtown Kitchener BIA desired to be leaders in a program that we believe will be repeatable for other Downtowns, not just in this Region, and that responsibility to our community to divert organic waste from the landfill was in line with our priority to be a caring community,” explains Linda Jutzi, executive director of the BIA.


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Although the Downtown Kitchener BIA is moving forward with its pilot program, many of the businesses and restaurants Downtown have been shifting their practices to conform to a more sustainable way of operating for some time now.

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Full Circle Foods has been a community staple since 1981. Sam Nabi and Julia Gogoleva have owned the store at 3 Charles Street W. since the beginning of 2018 and have created a space for individuals living and working Downtown to buy plant-based, organic and zero-waste products in a more conscious way. “One of our main focuses is to help customers create new behaviours and habits when making purchases,” Sam says. To reduce plastic waste, they offer glass-bottled milk from Eby Manor and encourage customers to leave a $2 deposit for the bottle. Another way they encourage conscious consumption and a circular economy is by offering eggs in cartons and reminding the customer to return the carton so the farmer can reuse it. If customers bring their own containers, they receive a 5% discount on the bulk section items. These are some of the simple, yet efficient, ways in which Full Circle Foods is playing their part in educating their customers about mindful consumption and reducing waste along the way.

M a k i n g St ri de s To wa r ds a M o re Sust a in able Fut ur e

“It’s really interesting to think back and realize that Julia’s mom in the 1980’s had to go to the store with her own jar and buy sour cream, for example, in bulk. Products were rarely packaged back then. In the last 20 - 30 years we’ve seen an increase in single-use consumerism, powered by a demand for convenience. Now, we’re realizing what our choices have done to the environment and we’re working on fixing our consumer habits,” Sam says. A short walk from Full Circle Foods will take you to Le Prix Fashion and Consulting, a sustainable clothing boutique located at 20 Queen Street N. Robyn Hobbs, owner and founder of Le Prix Fashion, has been passionate about sustainability and the environment since her university days and has made the commitment to integrate this ethos into her business model. The first way she’s doing this is by encouraging those who are shopping in her store to be mindful about their purchases and buy only clothing items that are closet staples and that they are excited about. This, in the long term, will reduce the amount of clothing and textiles that end up in landfills.

Now, we’re realizing what our choices have done to the environment and we’re working on fixing our consumer habits.” In her store, she uses Eco Courier for deliveries, tries to go paperless or print on recycled paper if she has to, packs up the clothes in 100% recycled and 40% postconsumer bags (unbranded, so the customer can reuse it). She cleans the garments herself in a high-efficiency washer and air dries the clothing. For the more delicate items, she has them dry-cleaned at Reese Dry Cleaners in Waterloo, because of their GreenEarth dry cleaning system and opts out of the hangers and plastic cover. All of the furniture in her store is pre-owned and even the lightbulbs are LED. Recently, she started offering zero waste products such as reusable straws and cleaners, stain remover bars, makeup remover pads and more to help educate her customers about the environmental impacts of plastic and waste. You can visit her in-store from Tuesday - Saturday, or you can shop online at leprixclothing.com Another sustainability champion in Downtown Kitchener is Jordan Dolson, owner of Legacy Greens, a go-to local store for in-season produce and groceries, located at 18 Ontario Street N. Legacy Greens is known for their delicious and healthy grab-and-go lunch selection, but did you know that those items were prepared in their kitchen upstairs using produce that was past its prime? Instead of throwing produce in the garbage, they have made it their focus to divert it into nutritious meals to fuel the individuals working Downtown. In their store, you’re also able to buy some produce unwrapped and are encouraged to bring your own tote bag for your purchases. Seasonally, they offer subscription produce boxes to encourage individuals to cook at home using seasonal produce and herbs. This, of course, reduces packaging waste, supports local farmers and champions a more mindful lifestyle. These are just a sample of the businesses Downtown Kitchener that are making strides in reducing waste and adopting more conscious behaviours that make a positive impact on consumers’ habits, our community and the environment.


So, What Can You Do? 22

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First and foremost, shop the businesses in your own backyard. Support your local coffee shops, restaurants, book stores, farmers, flower shops, etc. Remember to bring your reusable mug (some coffee shops offer you a discount for bringing your own mug!). Bring your tote bag when you visit the Kitchener Market. Become an essentialist and purchase only what you need. Try to reduce your own waste. We all have the power to impact the world and the environment with our choices. Downtown Kitchener is making strides in creating a more sustainable community and future, so let’s champion their efforts and support our neighbours.

Ma k i ng S tr ide s To wa r ds a M o re Sust a in able Fut ur e

Images from top to bottom: Le Prix Fashion and Consulting, Full Circle Foods


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Li fes t y l e

Thrift On Kent Author

Photographer

Jamila Kyari

Nick Carder

A Spo tli ght o n S ust ai n abl e St y le

A SPOTLIGHT ON SUSTAINABLE FASHION Conscious consumers around the globe are developing their personal style with a preference for sustainability. They are opting to clothe themselves conscientiously, keeping the socio-economic and environmental impacts of their clothing choices in mind.


S

hoppers are becoming mindful of how they express themselves, paying particular attention to the ways in which the clothes they buy interact with the world. Sustainable style is a global phenomenon that is also becoming a local trend.

“We are seeing a blend of customers in Kitchener right now. Over the past two years, we have seen many new faces. They are either coming to our clothing store for the price point, a preference for used items or they want a treasure they cannot find elsewhere.” Ultimately, the seismic shift in opting for sustainable style means that shoppers finally understand the psychology behind their own purchasing behaviour. Where fast fashion encourages us to buy more and throw out more, making sustainable style choices ensures that you can prolong the life-cycle of a product and feel good about your outfit today knowing it will not have any adverse effects on the environment tomorrow. “Folks are thinking a little bit more before buying and finding more creative ways to maximize their wardrobe as opposed to the wasteful consumerism,” Jen says.

Robyn Hobbs is both fashion stylist and owner of Le Prix Fashion & Consulting — a boutique that just opened in the heart of Downtown Kitchener. Le Prix carries various sustainable brands and whose clients range from young professionals to mature women. “Having good style is being effortlessly comfortable in your outfit and Le Prix is a brand that definitely encompasses self-love, self-acceptance and taking care of yourself. We are about helping women to find a prize for the right price,” Robyn says. Kitchener’s bustling city style is influenced by the local tech sector, often placing casual and comfortable over dressy and sophisticated — but there is a mix that implies the style choices are always in a flux. Equipped with a love for fashion styling and sustainability, Robyn started Le Prix out of her apartment bedroom over seven years ago.

The Green Door

A S pot li ght on Su st a i nabl e St yl e

White Tiger Vintage

Le Prix Fashion & Consulting

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“Our shoppers come from all walks of life. Many are looking for an alternative to the mall,” remarks Jen Smerdon, project coordinator at The Green Door, which is owned and operated by The Working Centre.

Contrary to what fast fashion would have you believe, having great style goes beyond buying the inexpensive, mass-produced clothing that is introduced into the market quickly. Staying stylish is also more than keeping up with the latest trends. Finding your personal style involves choosing quality over quantity, and is often a process of self-discovery and awareness.


B E C O M E A S U S TA I N A B L E S H O P P E R

25 Recycle all your unwanted clothes

Li fes t y l e

Is your closet in need of a good purge? Help the local landfills by recycling unwanted clothes rather than dumping them in the garbage. You can clean the clothes and donate them to your local thrift store or attend a clothing swap and exchange them for some new gear. Doing this will eventually save the environment from lots of harm over time. Get intentional about what you buy Buy with a plan to get more value and wear out of your clothes. Resist the urge of a compulsive shopping spree by tracking your clothing consumption. This goes a long way to ensure that you don’t end up with a lot of clothing items taking up space in the closet but never really worn. Alternatively, you can always restyle and repurpose what you already own. Buy fair trade and eco-friendly goods Go for goods made with eco-friendly materials. Price points might be higher but the satisfaction of spending your hard earned dollars on brands who are doing good work and giving back to the communities they are working with is greater. An ethical brand usually pays workers fair wages and is concerned about the impacts of their production processes on the environment.

Folks are thinking a little bit more before buying and finding more creative ways to maximize their wardrobe as opposed to the wasteful consumerism. She recollects that there is a common trend in the style choices of her customers. “People are looking for cute but comfortable clothing,” she says. “Heels are getting shorter, sneakers have become trendy, and most people are looking for dressy outfits only if they are going to a party.” Although second-hand or thrift shopping is becoming a new norm, one barrier is that it can take a lot of time to sift through racks of clothing in order to find something you love. No doubt, getting into the thrill of the hunt requires effort but sustainable style can be less daunting than it seems. In an era where most people are time-starved, it makes sense to shop on a schedule. Hobbs uses her expertise to offer personal styling sessions, making the shopping experience easy, stress-free and quick. By pulling pieces and making suggestions, she ensures that a customer can come into the shop and find exactly what they want in good time. The good news is, transitioning into a sustainable wardrobe is easier today than ever. Beat the fast fashion craze, reduce your carbon footprint and pivot towards conscious consumerism in a few steps that will keep you staying stylish. Looking for where to shop? Look no further!

The Green Door, Le Prix Fashion & Consulting, White Tiger Vintage, Thrift on Kent, St. Andrew’s Thrift Shop

Seek vintage and second-hand options A Spo tli ght on Su st ai n abl e St yl e

One person's trash is another person’s treasure. Shopping at vintage and secondhand stores makes it possible to discover hidden gems from another generation that might be hard to find elsewhere. Thrifting has a ton of perks from discovering classic heirlooms to modern apparel. You might have to look a little harder to find exactly what you like but it is totally worth it.

The Green Door


Author

Illustrator

Tina Sharpe

Maggie Laurin

Low

Pothos

EPIPREMNUM AUREUM

Light & Water Guide 1 Week

1.

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Plants for CONDO LIVING

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Trailing plant that is a good air purifier 2 Weeks

Low-Indirect

3 Weeks Bright-Indirect

3. 2. Snake Plant

SANSEVIERIA TRIFASCIATA

Monstera Plant MONSTERA DELICIOSA

Good for travellers

Perfect for dark corners in, great starter plant for beginners

4. Rubber Plant FICUS ELASTICA

Avoid placing plant in direct sunlight, leaves will scorch

6. 5. CRASSULA OVATA

Water when the top of soil is dry to touch

PILEA PEPEROMIOIDES

A low maintenance, pet friendly plant

Z Z Plant

ZAMIOCULCAS ZAMIIFOLIA

Slow growing and easy to care for

7 P la nt s for C on do L ov in g

Iade Plant

Chinese Money Plant


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Introduction by

Contributor

Photographer

Curtis Grimba

Anna Beard

Jessi McConnell

Li fes t y l e

THE NEW PICKET FENCE PERCEPTION

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t’s undeniable that Downtown Kitchener has a pulse to it and that resonates through the houses and condos, alike. Every individual has their meaning as to what the city means to them. A condo lifestyle is something that is becoming more desirable every day. Spaces that are blank slates, with

smaller unique layouts in the thick of it all. It allows for the city to express its unique vibe through the walls, whether it’s seen or not. Anna Beard has made a home in The Kaufman Lofts and rooted her life as a Downtownie. Sitting down with her, she gave an insight into why a condo is her picket fence.

T he Ne w Pi cke t Fe nce P er cept i on

"I wanted to live in Kitchener because it's a little gritty. It feels very alive and not too polished. That's a bit like my home — full of plants, and not overly tidy."


Why choose a condo life? I chose to live in a condo in Downtown largely because that's what I found when I was looking. My wish list for a residence is pretty specific and my spot at Kaufman checks 90% of those boxes. It's close to the places I love, it's on the light rail route and good coffee is never more than a 10-minute walk away.

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How has the city shaped your home? I wanted to live in Kitchener because it's a little gritty. It feels very alive and not too polished. That's a bit like my home — full of plants and not overly tidy. I live inside my home just as much as outside, so knowing that I'll still feel that pulse and connection to the city regardless of where I am is great. What is the most compelling thing to you about a condo lifestyle? The most compelling thing about a condo lifestyle is how it makes you rethink things. For example, I always figured I'd grow up and get a car because that's the experience I grew up with. I don't have one yet and I don't have any intentions of getting one. I'm lucky to live and work along the ION route, so my big commute each day is covered. My thoughts on grocery shopping have certainly changed in the four years I've been downtown. When I first moved to DTK, I was nervous about where I'd get my groceries, but between Full Circle Foods, Legacy Greens, the Kitchener Market and the odd Dollarama trip, I'm covered. What does a regular weekend look like? A regular weekend night for me could range from picking up pizza from Pepi's and sitting at home with pup playing Nintendo, to going out with a group of friends to TWH to have a drink, or catching an event at THEMUSEUM, or dropping by a drag show at The Grand Trunk Saloon.

Anna Beard, Contributor

Is there a sense of community with your neighbours?

Do you often socialize with other condo dwellers? This isn't common in my building, but I've heard stories of fantastic get-togethers, movie nights, and bbq dinners from the Arrow Lofts. I think you'll see over the next few years that the traditional approach to neighbourhood community building is going to be quite different than what it was 20 - 40 years ago.

Oliver, @oliver.pup

T he Ne w Pi cke t Fe n ce Pe rce pt io n

Right now? No, but we're working on it. I've found that people who live in condos are usually busy people, which means a lot of us are off schedule. Having a dog certainly helps. Oliver and I know most of our neighbours by the names of their pups. Learning the names of their humans are at the top of our to-do list.


Author

Photographer

Jenna Aquino

Dylan Kalloo

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HOW & WHERE TO MAKE FRIENDS IN DTK

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here is a hum that rings through the streets of Downtown Kitchener. A collective vibration of artisans, market vendors, pubs, events, coworking spaces and neighbourhood haunts driven by the loving community builders that call the city’s core home. So, if you’re new to the area, or just looking to shake things up — where can you meet new friends to enjoy the DTK charm alongside? Don’t overthink it, you won’t have to look far. More than just restaurants, bars & café’s

Festivals on festivals on festivals If you haven’t picked up on it yet, you’ll soon come to realize that this city is always looking forward to its next big event. From the brass tones of summertime’s Kitchener Blues Festival that beat down King Street, to the scents and sounds of Victoria Park during the KW Multicultural Festival, Kitchener’s festival scene is one of the best ways to get out there and meet new people. Other popular events include Kitchener’s new LOKAL Festival, Communitech’s True North Conference, and of course, KW’s legendary Oktoberfest celebrations.

You might be surprised at how many of Kitchener’s restaurants, bars and café’s go out of their way to host events, shows and theme-nights on the regular.

We simply can’t take for granted living among the groups of passionate people working hard year-round to see the Downtown core light up with life again and again.

Take King Street’s beloved Rhapsody Barrel Bar, for example. Did you know that their website is regularly updated with a jam-packed monthly calendar? Make some noise at an Open Mic Hoot Night series or get lost in a live-music-loving crowd when one of their usual bands makes an appearance. If music isn’t your scene, swing by on a Tuesday to scope out their Blackball Comedy Show series — it’s always easy to make friends when you’re laughing.

Find your rhythm in Good Company

Ho w an d W he re t o M ake Fri e nds

For those quieter, cozy nights, stop by the Adventurer’s Guild Café to play one of what seems like an endless selection of board games. Another joint to keep tabs on is The Rich Uncle Tavern, featuring live and local music week after week. They’ve also been known to host monthly meet-ups for people working in the tech industry, featuring cheap drinks and great conversation all around — The list goes on! Organized activities are a great way to see new faces, meet new friends and get to know the regulars who come out weekly.

Looking to make friends in a more intimate, artistic environment? Change up your traditional concert experience by checking out a show put on by local organization Good Company Productions. Their team is all about hosting pop-up concerts around town, turning every-day spaces into make-shift music venues. Complete with talented live musicians, audience seating made out of pillows and blankets. There are beverages and often local makers, ensuring these events are engineered to put you in good company. This past year, they’ve hosted concerts in DTK spaces like Full Circle Foods, Legacy Greens, and the Kitchener Market. They even host a series of open-jam sessions at Workhaus Market, renting instruments from the Kitchener Public Library and welcoming anyone and everyone to join in. Always experimenting with new ways to bring people together over good music, you’ll want to stay tuned for their next event!


Events in Carl Zehr Square

In the mood for some fresh air? Itching for a bustling yet low-key hang-out, that costs little to no money? Get cozied up under twinkling lights overhead the everdreamy Goudies Lane. In the warmer seasons, this uncharacteristically pleasant little alley way is the perfect space to meet new people without the pressure of, well … anything else. In Goudies Lane, the pleasure is in the simplicity and it’s such a delightful scene that its theme is catching on.

Centered by a gorgeous fountain throughout the summer, and transformed into an inviting public skating rink all winter long, Carl Zehr Square remains a trusted favourite all year round. Positioned in front of Kitchener City Hall, it is also a popular location for seasonal events like the Live at Lunch series and Canada Day celebrations. Outside of these larger events, Carl Zehr Square is also a popular meet-up spot for community groups like Love + Light yoga hosted by goodvibes juice co. and Hustl + Flow, makers markets and more!

With a pilot pop-up having taken place this past September, Gaukel Street is set to become a pedestrian hang-out over the next year, or so. What could be better than another fun and free space to roam? Plus, as community events cycle through the year, you know these hot-spots will fill with new treasures and excitement, time after time.

If you take away one thing from this run-down of DTK happenings, let it be that this community is uniquely interested in bringing people together. From arts and culture, to entertainment, tech and business, social engagement and more, there are people here waiting to welcome you with open arms – and that feeling just isn’t present everywhere.

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E xpl o r e t h e C o r e

Pedestrian pop-ups

So be a tourist in your own city, because the more you put yourself out there, the more you will begin to feel those connections. Not only are you bound to make new friends as you go, you’ll end up adding your own magic into the mix along the way, perhaps without even noticing.

Ho w an d W he re t o M ake Fri e nds

Image: Good Co. concert at The Rich Uncle Tavern featuring Amit Mehta (left) and musician Luke Swinson (right)


Author & Photographer

Breen Splitt 31

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SMILE, IT'S SATURDAY

M

any of us, Downtown Kitchener professionals and regular city people alike, find ourselves feeling the pace of life quicken and fly by. This fast pace can leave us feeling out of balance, off-kilter and in need of time to restore ourselves. Luckily, there are many activities available in the Downtown core to help us center ourselves and embrace slow living, even just for a perfect Saturday. In a city that is so uniquely fast-paced and continuously growing, slowing down can be easier done than expected. Many amenities that we are lucky enough to have are often catered to this fast-paced life, whether it be through fast food, fast conversations, fast transit or fast workplaces. Slow living can motivate us to be more mindful as we move throughout our day and help us to better connect with our present moment. This list is meant to act as an inspiration to take some time for yourself — linger over your food, your friends and family, colours and smells of the city, the change in seasons and the life you’ve built for yourself. Golden Hearth Bakery

| 137 King Street E. For Golden Hearth Bakery, stories are told through flavours, ingredients and methods. No one can deny the nostalgic comfort that comes from the smell of freshly baked bread. It reminds us of spending time with friends and family, of smearing salty butter or homemade jam on crusty bread before suppertime in hopes of nulling our creeping hunger. Sm il e , I t's Sat ur day

“Everything we do is sourdough; that is the definition of slow. The bread we have on a Thursday was started on Tuesday. It’s all about a slow fermentation. Sourdough is even easier to digest,“ says Tavis. Tavis has owned Golden Hearth Bakery for 9 years now and has been actively involved in the Downtown community.

Golden Hearth Bakery Breadmaking is a process you can’t rush; it takes time, patience and technique. Whether it be a voluptuous croissant, a raisin walnut sourdough loaf or an instaworthy cruffin, each item at Golden Hearth took a lot of unseen time to create. As you pause to relish each bite, you can almost taste the early mornings and endless hours needed to produce such a delicious mouthful. “Regarding our community … well, this is where we live!” Tavis says. “We are really the ones who do this.” Breadmaking reminds us that some things need time to rest and grow and that the result of our patience can be masterful. Kitchener Market

| 300 King Street E. The Kitchener Market offers consumers the chance to connect with the land around us and with the humans who farm it. It is all about respecting food and reminding us to pay attention to where our food is coming from, and who is growing it.


Slow living allows us to do exactly that; slow down, enjoy and connect with our own lives.

E xpl o r e t h e C o r e

There is something special about holding a record, CD, or tape. Our attachment to physical things begins early in life and follows us throughout. We learn to value the things we own, to be proud of them and to let them help us define ourselves. Good music acts as the soundtracks of our lives and creates as many memories as it invokes.

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“People like us are constantly fighting against the ‘stripmall-ization' of our world,” suggests Chris.

Kitchener Market “We think it’s important for consumers and farmers to be able to connect; the market allows that opportunity,” says Jesse of Milky Way Farm. Jesse and his wife Meghan are the owners and farmers of Milky Way Farm and their stand is at the market every Saturday. “For us as farmers, the market allows us to talk to our customers directly and I think that’s important because it helps to bridge the divide we have in our food system.” The Kitchener Market, now in its 150th year, provides the Downtown core and surrounding area alike with the opportunity to access local produce, food and goods. Running 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Saturday’s year round, you can find anything from fresh locally-sourced produce and meats, to globally-inspired food vendors, to handmade soaps and produce bags.

Encore has been selling compact disks and vinyl since 1981 and happens to be one of the oldest independently owned record stores in the country. Instant streaming platforms and the emergence of free downloads have made our connection to music less personal, but stores like Encore continue to fight to keep the music culture in this community alive. When we slow down, we choose to see our community through new eyes. We choose to hear their stories, savour each moment as it passes and connect over our own shared humanness. It invites us to get back into storefronts, to spend our money intentionally, to ask important questions and to support our local scene. A slower pace gives us the gift of participation and of genuine experience. It rejects impersonalism and through our actions, demands the authenticity we so desperately crave. We are lucky to engage in a Downtown that allows us to connect with it and to synonymously connect with ourselves.

“People are, in a lot of ways, really disconnected from where their food comes from, and the market helps to bridge that disconnect,” Jesse says. Encore Records

| 301 King Street E. Unit 206

“It gives people a chance to be someplace and have a different experience than everywhere else,” says Chris of Encore Records. “People enjoy touching art and having access to some culture.”

Encore Records

Sm il e , I t's Sat ur day

Nothing beats sliding your 1991 edition of Ten by Pearl Jam into your car CD reader, or putting an old Otis Redding record on to spin. Encore Records wants to get back to this simplicity and help inspire people within this community to nourish their own audio identity.


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Dog Days i n DT K

Goudies Lane


DOG DAYS IN DTK

Author & Photographer

Kayla Zawiski

F

or all of us humans, we know that Downtown Kitchener has some pretty awesome stuff going on. But I’ve always been curious about what a day would look like in my favourite Downtown with a furry companion — so I borrowed my friend’s pup, Bender, and went on my way!

— the tuna wontons are excellent — and enjoyed a slow lunch with my new sidekick. It was a pretty amazing day soaking up the sunshine, getting my steps in and exploring the city in a whole new light. Although I may not be in a position for a pup right now, if you’re looking for a sitter, hit me up!

E xpl o r e t h e C o r e

“It was a beautiful, crisp summer morning and we sat in the lane watching Downtownies make their morning commutes.”

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We started bright and early for a full day of adventuring. After a nice stroll through the streets of DTK, we decided to pop into Show & Tell Coffee to grab a capp to take with us to Goudies Lane. It was a beautiful, crisp summer morning and we sat in the lane watching Downtownies make their morning commutes. What’s a day in DTK without enjoying an amazing patio breakfast at The Yeti Cafe? With my first coffee in hand, we walked a couple of blocks from Goudies to the Yeti and waited patiently on their patio for the doors to open sharply at 9 a.m. With my fuzzy friend right outside the glass door, I ordered another coffee (Amen to unlimited drip) as well as their daily omelette special with the half-and-half side. For those of you who are new to the Yeti, they offer huge plates with an option of greens or deliciously spiced homefries — but getting both is always the way to go. After demolishing the zucchini and goat cheese filled omelette, and letting the doggo finish the stick he’d been working on, we took the long way around the Market to find ourselves back at Workhaus Market, the newest co-working space in DTK. Workhaus is always filled with some really cool peeps (like Robin + Elaine of #kwfamous) and is also dog friendly! So we took advantage of the a/c and beautiful big windows to settle in for a few hours of work. Bender was getting a bit restless so we packed up and headed for the full DTK experience, walking from Market District to the Innovation District.

Looking for more dog-friendly spots Downtown?

Living Fresh, Balzacs in Communitech, B@THEMUSEUM, Union Burger on King Street, 271 West, Kitchener Market, Gilt, Nova Era Bakery, Cafe Pyrus, Smile Tiger, Starbucks, Settlement Co. and Adventures Guild. Note: Most, if not all these places require you to go inside to order so you will need to leave your dog outside

Dog Days i n DT K

We then found ourselves enjoying some sunshine on the Abe Erb patio. They are always so quick and attentive, and within minutes, I had a pint of my go-to beer, Transatlantic. Bender had a full bowl of water and a whole bunch of admirers. I ordered a few items from their new lunch menu

Abe Erb Kitchener


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Victoria Park Author

Photographers

Senta Ross

Jane Leis & Jan Muller

A FAMILY GUIDE TO DOWNTOWN KITCHENER Downtown Kitchener has a variety of locations for families with young children to experience. Within its radius, there are many opportunities to learn, play, listen, watch, be creative and active, or just spend time as a family. Let’s go on a tour of some downtown family favourites. A Fam ily G ui de t o D ownt own Ki t che ne r

I hear that the Kitchener Public Library is a wonderful place for families and children.

My children really love art. What’s available for them in Downtown Kitchener?

The Central Library at 85 Queen Street N. is certainly much more than a place to borrow books. It has a 200seat theatre featuring popular movies, a cafe and a whole variety of programs — all free of charge. Stories, songs, music, drama, science clubs, reading buddies, after school drop-ins, technology-focused activities and more are created with children in mind. Make KPL your destination to learn, read, wonder and enjoy. Everyone is welcome!

Why not introduce them to the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (KWAG)? Located inside the Centre In The Square at 101 Queen Street N., the Gallery offers free admission to its exhibits. There are also a variety of interactive children’s programs such as Family Sundays, stroller tours, children’s evening classes and art camps during P.D. days, March Break and throughout the summer. Some fees may apply. You will discover KWAG to be a most creative setting for everyone!

| kpl.org

| kwag.ca


What does the Kitchener Market have to offer?

The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony hosts some inspiring programs for young people in several locations. The Family Series, with select dates from now until April, is perfect for adults and children 4-12 years of age and features the entire orchestra. Appealing to families with children 5 years and under is the interactive Kinderconcerts Series with a storyteller and KWS musicians. Pre-concert activities and the opportunity to meet the musicians with their instruments will prove very exciting for the aspiring musical artist or eager listener.

| kwsymphony.ca

Located at 300 King Street E., the Kitchener Market is a great place to share with children and a feast for the senses! Saturday vendors offer fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baking and crafts. The upstairs Food Hall vendors, open from Tuesday - Saturday, provide healthy and familyfriendly refreshments while on alternate Tuesday mornings Kids’ Hop offers a free interactive program with local musicians which will really get pre-school children moving. ARTSHINE fills Thursday mornings with free hands-on creative art experiences for young children and their adult companion. Kids in the Kitchen provides a variety of culinary experiences, all under a trained chef.

Are there any museums in Downtown Kitchener?

| kitchenermarket.ca

There are two! Schneider Haus National Historic Site, situated at 466 Queen Street S., is Kitchener’s oldest dwelling and was once the home to the first nonIndigenous settlers in this area — the Schneider family. Built in 1816, it is now a living history museum where staff demonstrate traditional tasks circa 1856, both inside and outside the farm house according to the seasons. Handson activities, special events and programs for families will take you back in time. Learn about the Schneider family traditions and compare them with how we live today. THEMUSEUM, located at 10 King Street W., offers a range of daily experiences to spark children’s imaginations and creativity through programs such as Creation Station, Science + You, Story Time and Tot Spot. There are also STEAM programs, day camps and the Underground Studio MakerSpace for a spectrum of age groups, all designed to encourage problem solving and experiential learning. Family events present special guests and local performers, and there are always temporary exhibits on view.

| schneiderhaus.ca & themuseum.ca

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E xpl o r e t h e C o r e

How about music?

Does the City of Kitchener sponsor family events? It certainly does and almost year round! Kitchener City Hall at 200 King Street W. is a welcoming destination for families, hosting Hockey Town in February, winter iceskating in Carl Zehr Square and Canada Day celebrations with games, vendors, food trucks and fireworks. What could be better or bigger than mid-August’s Kidspark in lovely Victoria Park with multiple activities, train rides and live entertainment? The holiday season is marked by Christmas Fantasy on Roos Island in Victoria Park. And then there’s the Christkindl Market and welcoming the New Year with family skating and music. These are just a few of the City of Kitchener’s gifts to you and yours!

| kitchenerevents.ca Are there other events offered that families might enjoy? The Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area (BIA) supports various initiatives, events and programming through the Community Builder Grant Program.

| downtownkitchener..ca Any suggestions for a family who enjoys movies and going to the theatre?

Schneider Haus

| apollocinema.ca

A Fam ily G ui de t o D ownt own Ki t che ne r

One destination offering a variety of child-friendly programming is the Apollo Cinema, conveniently located at 141 Ontario Street N. Nostalgia is the theme with Retro Recall/Retro Kids, an opportunity to revisit lesser-known classics of the ‘80s and ‘90s and share them with your children. The Interactive series transforms favourite movies into new, exciting experiences. Don’t forget your spoon and bowl for All-You-Can-Eat Cereal & Cartoons featuring Saturday morning cartoons from the past, with cereal provided. Of course, there are also current movies featured suitable for families.


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The Registry Theatre on 122 Frederick Street and the Centre In The Square at 101 Queen Street N. both offer high quality concerts and theatre productions featuring local, Canadian and international artists. Their websites contain information to help you select shows and events your family will appreciate.

| registrytheatre.com & centreinthesquare.com What if my child just wants to be outdoors and play? E xpl o r e t h e C o r e

Victoria Park, in the heart of Kitchener, could be a perfect destination. A splash pad, creative playground, walking trails, a picnic shelter, benches under trees, a pond, winter rinks, gorgeous flowers and public art are all waiting to be enjoyed. The Iron Horse Trail is close by, so you could take a spin on your bicycles. Many special events are held here throughout the year, including the K-W Multicultural Festival, Ribfest, Kultrún World Music Festival, Kitchener Blues Festival, and more. Another popular area with lots of trees and play structures is the Civic Centre Park on Queen Street between the Centre In The Square and KPL. Let the fun begin! What’s the best way to get to Downtown Kitchener? If walking is a bit too far, why not take Grand River Transit? A family day pass ($8.50) on Saturday, Sunday or statutory holiday allows unlimited travel for 2 adults and up to 3 under-18 young people or 1 adult and 4 children on any GRT bus or the ION.

| grt.ca Parking options can be found at kitchener.ca/en/getting-around/parking-options.aspx. Is there anything else I should know about Downtown Kitchener? Just that it’s full of amazing people and places waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. You will find quality cafés and restaurants, interesting shops, colourful murals, lovely green spaces and plenty of positive energy. Build some great memories with your family when you visit. Know that Downtown Kitchener looks forward to welcoming you! THEMUSEUM

“Build some great memories with your family when you visit. Know that Downtown Kitchener looks forward to welcoming you!”


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E xpl o r e t h e C o r e A Fam ily G ui de t o D ownt own Ki t che ne r

Images from left to right: Victoria Park, Apollo Cinema, Schneider Haus, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener Market


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Ar t s & C u l t u r e Kitchener Market, Eby Street

Market Walk Mural

Con n e ct i n g wit h C ol ou r

Nicole Beno


Author

Photographer

Melissa Embury

Nick Stanley 40

Ar t s & C u l t u r e

CONNECTING WITH COLOUR Photos and parts of this article originally appeared in the Community Edition, Waterloo Region's independent monthly newspaper on July 3, 2019.

L

ocal artist and designer Nicole Beno, the winner of the Eby Street road-way mural competition, created Market Walk based on her interpretation of her weekly visit to the Kitchener Market. The mural, installed in June, was designed to last for many years to come and is part of the Shape DTK development initiative that the BIA commissioned as a strategic plan. The goal of the piece was to reflect the experience of the Kitchener Market and to connect the community in new and exciting ways. “We strive to tell a story about Downtown and create connections to the larger community. Nicole’s Market Walk is a cultural beacon created to connect with the thousands of people across the Region visiting the Kitchener Market every Saturday,” says Linda Jutzi, executive director for the Downtown Kitchener BIA. The project was a result of the Shape DTK initiative, which focuses on creating fun, vibrant streets where people can gather and experience their community. They aim to “engage the community through art to foster heartfelt urban experiences,” particularly in the east end of downtown. “I wanted to create it so that every time you see it, you pick out something new,” Nicole says. Nicole enjoys visiting the Kitchener Market weekly and she applied to the project because she would like to see more artwork in Downtown Kitchener. The entire process was a year in the making, from application to this summer when the road-way mural was finally laid down. Con n e ct i n g wit h C ol ou r

“It didn’t even occur to me that it would be going on the road, so it took a while to figure out what the best visual style could be, especially since it had to be simple. I couldn’t do really intricate designs because of the limitation and that was different because a lot of my work was actually very intricate and very textural. I also had to choose from a specific colour palette, too, that could be painted on the road,” Nicole explains.


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“I would love to collaborate more with artists that work in different fields and materials, and experiment with ideas, and approaches to creating artwork in the community."

Ar t s & C u l t u r e

Nicole describes the entire process of working with the BIA from inception to release as a very rewarding experience. “This project was so much fun. It was a dream collaboration, where we played around with different ideas on how we could activate Eby St. in different ways to bring the community together. One of the best parts was seeing it all come together at the launch party [in June], and seeing the screen-print tote bags and ice cream flavours inspired by the mural,” she says. At the release of the Market Walk, Nicole was “very curious how people will interact with it,” and since then, Nicole has noticed that the mural has been a popular Instagram backdrop for the public this summer. She is excited to see how people will continue to interact with the piece. Nicole’s mixed-media mural art could also be seen prominently on the walls of what was once Open Sesame, the art bookstore and gallery outside of Kitchener City Hall that closed it’s storefront a couple of months ago. With a degree in Fine Arts and an MA in Design, Nicole currently divides her time between working as a graphic designer and artist. Her practice explores different ways of making through the use of various found materials. “I’m most interested in the area where art and design meet and blend together,” Nicole says. “I borrow ideas, techniques and elements from both disciplines to create visuals and worlds which manifest into various forms such as illustrations, patterns, installations, graphic design and exhibitions. I try to see my work as more of a spectrum between art and design. It’s important that it’s fluid and that I don’t define myself as one or the other.” Nicole has known she wanted to be an artist since she was young.

Con n e ct i n g wit h C ol ou r

“I definitely was told that maybe I should find something more practical. But it was also the only thing that was really good at. My parents were really supportive. I think mostly because I just kept sticking to it. I think it was one of those things where I just kept doing it more and more and I didn’t really want to do anything else,” Nicole says. These days, Nicole is an accomplished local artist and designer whose work has been featured in Nuit Blanche,

CAFKA, The Drake Hotel, TD Bank, OCAD University and the City of Kitchener. “I try to reserve one or two days a week to work on experimental projects. My creative process for these types of projects is more loose and open-ended,” she says. She describes it’s the area of her practice where she tries new directions with materials and plays with form, texture, colour and typography. These projects don’t always need to have a goal in mind, she says. Sometimes Nicole leaves it up to the internal logic of the materials to decide what the project means. Nicole feels it’s really important to her to be able to create a sense of organized chaos with her work. She described her approach to mixed media and graphic design as collaging traditional graphic design elements and shapes with different textures. “I’m interested in the way that I can transform found materials and objects onto the computer to give it new meaning and context. I may start with a leaf, but then maybe when I finish it on the computer I find a really interesting quality about it — I zoom in or I look closer,” she says. Nicole said she would love to see more conceptual work and critical artwork in the community that explores the use of different media. Since finishing up Market Walk, Nicole has been busy working on a project over the fall in Toronto called “A Streetcar Named Toronto,” in partnership with CityFund and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The concept behind the project was to celebrate the CLRV Toronto Streetcars that will be officially off the tracks by the end of this year. Nicole, along with other artists, took over the exterior and interior space of a streetcar with artwork and designs. “I worked on the interior ceiling portion, and I played with a concept around visualizing the tracks or the path of a streetcar, through a dreamscape. It was a bit abstract. This was a new space for me to work in, and it was interesting to consider factors such as how people will experience the space inside a streetcar while sitting down, or standing up,” she says. In the wake of her newfound commercial success, Nicole hopes to be working more as an independent artist and designer. “I would love to collaborate more with artists that work in different fields and materials, and experiment with ideas, and approaches to creating artwork in the community,” she says.


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Ar t s & C u l t u r e

Con n e ct i n g wit h C ol ou r


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Author

Photographers

Susan Coolen

Jane Leis & Jan Muller

Ar t s & C u l t u r e

LEISURE-ABLE LIFESTYLE IN A COMPACT CORE

A

mong those quickly headed to their Downtown Kitchener jobs, or rushing out for a quick bite to eat on their lunch breaks, is a bracket of leisurely-paced people living in the Downtown core. While a leisurely lifestyle seems to juxtapose the hustle and bustle we associate with life in Downtown Kitchener, there is a group of retired folks who have relocated to one of the many Downtown condos. Among the fast-walkers, honking horns and ringing cell phones, this group of people is enjoying DTK at all times of the day, with a flow more varied and relaxed. DTK is very walkable — be it for a lovely morning coffee to start the day, a visit to a preferred service, a stroll through Victoria Park, or a jaunt to the authentic offerings of Queen Street N. You can easily plan for a daytime trip to the library and nearby art gallery, or a nighttime event at Centre in the Square. The ION train conveniently loops around the core; it’s tremendous for a getaway across town and a great way for the same leisure-paced people outside the core to do day trips in the Downtown without the pressures of Downtown parking. What is exciting is that the Downtown core is fully engaged in a process of growth and transformation. Civic areas are being re-planned for the near future, one can’t help but take note of the many new buildings going up, storefronts being renovated and new businesses and services starting to emerge. A DTK transformation strategy was implemented a few years ago and the horticultural efforts for this have been growingly gorgeous! There are many little unexpected green spaces to be discovered on a walkabout; behind City Hall, wrapped around the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy and ringed around the Waterloo Region Courthouse, to name a few.

L e isur e- able L i fe st yl e i n a C ompa ct Co re

There are terrific distance views of the city from the upper floors of the Waterloo Region Courthouse. Kitchener City Hall is also a cultural hotspot offering up ongoing art exhibits, historical displays, lectures and presentations by community groups. And of course, there is a Downtown Community Centre, theatre spaces and venues for both classical and local music. A true joy of Downtown living is the compact and walkable scale. The efforts to beautify and enhance the area are evident, seasonal patios are abundant, events and festivals are constant, and the sense of a positive, growing urban environment is blossoming. Speak to those who have retired and shifted their lives to Downtown and you’ll find that these components are some of the reasons why they chose the Downtown core. The retiring generation are active seekers with the time to take it all in — a truly leisure-able life in DTK.


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Ar t s & C u l t u r e

Images from top to bottom: Indoors Out by Stephanie Scott (344 King Street W.) and The Art District Gallery (185 King Street E.)

L e isur e- able L i fe st yl e i n a C ompa ct Co re

What is exciting is that the Downtown core is fully engaged in a process of growth and transformation. Civic areas are being re-planned for the near future, one can’t help but take note of the many new buildings going up, storefronts being renovated and new businesses and services starting to emerge.


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C o m m u ni t y Fost e ri ng Frie n dli ne ss

FOSTERING FRIENDLINESS

Author

Photographers

Andrew Rutland

Jessi McConnell

Downtown Kitchener has never lacked a spirit of community and collaboration, but for those who live and work here, there’s a new forum to connect and engage with: The Downtown Kitchener Neighbourhood Association (DTKNA).


“It’s a venue through which neighbours can get to know each other and work together on common projects to improve their own neighbourhood,” says Sarah Brown, the Downtown resident who first got the ball rolling on the DTKNA. According to Matt Rodrigues, another early DTKNA organizer who was also charmed by Kitchener after arriving for school, the influx of new residents like himself living in dense multiresidential towers can be a barrier to a sense of community.

Sarah found inspiration for the DTKNA from the well-established associations in neighbourhoods adjacent to Downtown, as well as her own experience of community growing up in a small town, where there was friendliness and familiar faces in abundance.

“One of the frontiers I know we’re trying to work on is engaging folks who live in condos, which is challenging,” he says.

“The neighbourhood association is still kind of figuring out what it would like to do, but it seems like the types of things people are interested in being involved in is that bigger sense of belonging …” Sarah says.

“As more people come to live Downtown, I think it’s more and more important to have these bodies and organizations to bring people together.”

You would be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn’t agree that Downtown has been witness to a rapid change in population and the urban landscape in the past decade or so. With at least half a dozen cranes in the sky at the moment, Brown believes that the timing is right for a Downtown neighbourhood association. “Although some people have lived Downtown for a long time, recently there’s been an influx of a lot more people moving Downtown and the nature of housing Downtown, of course we know, is changing,” she says. Sam Jamal, a DTKNA member and lifetime Kitchener resident who has recently moved into the Downtown core after growing up in the suburban outskirts of town, agrees.

“I know the names of more dogs in my building than people. I’ll ask what a dog’s name is, but you don’t often go up to someone and introduce yourself and actually say ‘hey nice to meet you,’ so I think [the DTKNA] can foster that sense of a warm neighbourly environment”.

But he still agrees with Sarah and Sam that now is the time to connect.

Fostering friendliness and neighbourhood community is just one of the acts the DTKNA is hoping to help facilitate. Sarah also believes the association can be an important way to organize a community voice around sometimes controversial or “grittier" issues like new development projects or those in our community who may need support. She also thinks that for Downtown residents in particular, it is crucial to have a voice focused on advocating for amenities in Downtown. “We live in an urban core so it’s really important to have good public amenities because we don’t have backyards. So the park becomes your backyard,” says Sarah. Although the exact role DTKNA will play in the existing tapestry of governments and organizations in Kitchener is yet to be seen, Sarah is confident that at a basic level the DTKNA will serve as a place to connect already engaged and interested residents to discuss the issues important to them, big or small. At the very least, Sarah says it can be another way for neighbours to get to know each other. “If all the neighbourhood association achieved was that more people Downtown would make eye contact and smile at each other and say hello, that in and of itself would be a success.”

Fost e ri ng Frie n dli ne ss

“There weren’t a lot of people living right Downtown 10 or 15 years ago in that main core, and now with the condos, there’s so many people in such a small area that it’s really important to engage people now,” she says.

C o m m u ni t y

I

n a tale familiar to many of us in Kitchener, Sarah Brown moved to the area first for school. After falling in love with Kitchener’s unique combination of eclecticism and grittiness, she’s made this vibrant and growing city her home for eight years.

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Author

Photographers

Stephanie Mancini

Jane Leis & Jan Muller

A JOB WELL DONE

C o m m u ni t y

Since 1982, Stephanie Mancini has been a Co-Founder of the Working Centre alongside her husband Joe Mancini.

E

very week day, you can see Shawn and Zach working in Downtown Kitchener. They keep the sidewalks clean, making the Downtown look fresh and welcoming. They help people to navigate the Downtown and bring their unique charm as they work. “On a good day, you can see people coming out, supporting each other’s businesses,” Shawn says. “The City is progressing nice; it’s becoming big.” Shawn and Zach have watched the growth of Downtown Kitchener during the years they have worked as part of the Clean Team. The Job Café is a project of The Working Centre, looking to build engagement and work opportunities. Some 30 people receive a paycheck every two weeks for work that includes street sweeping, garbage collection, compost collection, Discovery Team, furniture delivery and pickup for Worth a Second Look, snow shoveling, cleaning and construction work. The Downtown Kitchener BIA has become a solid partner in this work — they recognized early that when people are respected for their work, they form an integral part of a mixed community in Downtown Kitchener, a place where we all belong. Projects include the Clean Team, the Discovery Team, Organic Waste Team and the Clean Team 2 (garbage collection). The look and feel of the Downtown has improved because of the work of the Job Café crews. Shawn and Zach have experienced homelessness and tenting and are now housed and employed on the Street Sweeping team – all in the past five to six years. They have seen the “techies” join the community and have seen the Downtown expand and grow as condominium units have been built.

A Job We ll Do ne

They take pride in their work. The City of Kitchener's motorized street sweeper goes up the centre of the sidewalk but the litter tends to gather in corners and crevices. Proud of their practiced wrist-flick, Shawn and Zach each prefer a different broom that helps to tease the cigarette butts and litter out of the corners and crevices on the edge of the road.

“On a good day, you can see people coming out, supporting each other’s businesses,” Shawn says. “The city is progressing nice; it’s becoming big.”


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C o m m u ni t y

Downtown Clean Team, Shawn and Zach

“It’s a good gig, nice people to work with. We are proud of what this job is.” Probably most significantly, they feel part of the Downtown. They know the police officers, the business people. “At least three or four times a day people have their GPS out, and we just go to them and ask – where are you going?” Zach says. Their green fluorescent jackets cover a nice “golf shirt” with the Downtown Kitchener logo, identifying them as part of the Downtown Team. City workers wave as they drive by, or bring water on hot summer days while they are supporting their Horticulture Team.

“We have issues sometimes, but it’s over in five minutes or so.” “We’ve almost got carte-blanche with whatever we have to do,” “When we first started we were picking weeds from the light poles. When we first started it was like you parked your car in an ashtray. We kind of made the job. After a year we were the only two doing this job. They kept calling us back.”

“It’s a team effort; it works better like that.”

“We live in the same place, we work together, and we still get along at the end of the day.”

Part way through the interview, you can no longer identify who says what, they are completing each other’s sentences.

“It’s a good gig, nice people to work with. We are proud of what this job is.”

A Job We ll Do ne

“They ask us what we need, and a couple of days later they show up with it.”

“It’s hard to find a person you can work with. We don’t even have to look at each other; we don’t even have to think. To have that, that’s important,”


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C o m m u ni t y

Workhaus Market

Shared workspaces are now in huge demand — from the solopreneur to the scaling startup to the remote satellite team. No cookie cutter approach here — meet four of the newest coworking spaces in Downtown Kitchener redefining the office experience. Ne w Face s o f W ork S pace s

The B Box


50 Author

Sam Trieu Photographer

Lawrence O. Fajardo

"People don’t want to go to work anymore and sit in a cubicle or at a desk that’s quiet and feel like they’re on their own and isolated." Workhaus Market

The B Box

| 290 King Street E.

| 283 Duke Street W., Suite 204

With a co-working space, Adam Mawer, KitchenerWaterloo director for Workhaus Market, says the indirect benefits are the collision of ideas and networks.

A reclaimed brick wall has been painted gem-coloured by local artist Carolyn Dawn Good, with a rapier resting against it, flanked by leather reading chairs. Overhead, are black ceilings snaked with brass pipes. In the boardroom, a conference table shares space with box fans and typewriters, antiques from The B Box’s past as a manufacturing factory for Kitchenerfounded companies like Electrohome and its namesake, Boehmer Box.

“You meet people in marketing, in project management. With these formal and informal relationships, you benefit professionally and personally.” Found in East Downtown next to the Kitchener Market, the 10,000 square foot location was the Canadian company’s first foray out of the Toronto market earlier this year. Tenants of the light and bright glass and brick space are steps from an intense core of international food vendors, from Vietnamese banh mi, to El Salvadoran pupusas, to Greek pastries. The neighbourhood is a mix of residential, social services, and commercial, with a promise of an additional thousand people once a condo project is complete on Dupont St. Workhaus Market also hosts after-hours community events to encourage tenants and residents to mingle. “The space is a bit outside the typical tech bubble in Downtown Kitchener,” says Adam. “We’re trying to bring more events and people to this area. We want to be a catalyst because it’s changing for the better.”

“For us that come together beyond work, do better work,” Adam says.

workhaus.ca/market/

The eclectic furniture and decoration hint at the defiance of The B Box. “A lot of the co-working spaces in the area are geared more towards tech,” says tenant Michael Lobsinger, art director at design agency D1Zi. “Our goal is to hit the artists, the non-profits. It’s for the black sheep of the entrepreneurial world. The people that are doing something different than everyone else.“ The makeup of the tenants — an environmental media organization, a university’s Center for Sustainability — reflect this vision for “a space in the Region that was different, that inspires.” As does the literal black sheep on the wall which greets visitors at the entryway.

thebbox.ca

Ne w Face s o f W ork S pace s

The latest events have included Choo Choo Chug, an LRT-themed social, Common Knowledge, a community conversation dedicated to politics and non-partisan knowledge about the voting process and back by popular demand, Beer and Music Jam Sessions.

C o m m u ni t y

NEW FACES OF WORK SPACES


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C o m m u ni t y

Workplace One

44 Gaukel

| 51 Breithaupt Street, Suite 100

| 44 Gaukel Street

A block away from The B Box, at the Breithaupt Block, Andrea Kim, director of community events for Workplace One gestures at the custom-blended teas available for guests in a sleek kitchen. The wall features posters advertising french theatrical productions, wood and brick finishes and overhead sputnik lights.

Unexpected collaborations happen when a theatre company shares space with a 3-D printing, laser and robotics company startup. Douglas Braden, CTO at InkSmith, gestures animatedly as he describes an upcoming production with Green Light Arts.

“It’s the difference in staying at a Hilton or a 10-room hotel that’s in the heart of a neighbourhood and takes on the character of the neighbourhood and has its own identity,” she says. “In terms of providing a beautiful hospitality experience, we’re more emblematic of a boutique product.” Housed in a former factory space and nestled next to Google, the three-year-old Workplace One is located over two levels and home to professional services like urban planners, mortgage brokers and tax specialists, as well as outpost offices for large multinationals and rapidly growing startups and scaleups. “A lot of what we’re doing is helping people give themselves a bit of a professional edge when they’re just starting out,” says Andrea. “It’s an advantage to meet in an office with a reception that’s anticipating their guest, who can offer them great coffee in the lounge while they wait.” Workplace One also offers a modular, turnkey ability to remove glass panels to join up smaller offices into larger spaces, growing alongside a team. One company moved across the same corridor three times as they expanded over several months. Others prefer to leverage the co-working membership option to access the host of amenities onsite, including mailboxes, meeting rooms and lounges, and concierge services.

“We’re looking at the idea of tech for good. We’re doing a reimagining of Three Sisters, the Chekhov play with a robot as an antagonist and layering on ideas about the near future and the singularity,” he said. This high-tech and art marriage echoes the partnership between the City of Kitchener EcDev office, ArtsBuild Ontario, and the Accelerator Centre which kickstarted the 2016 purchase of the former post office and college space. “The City needed a strategic space for investing in artistic and cultural production. The Accelerator Centre wanted a Downtown footprint and messy space for its hardware startups. And ArtsBuild Ontario was interested in connecting its art community with studio and workspace that wasn’t focussed on commercial profit,” Emily Robson, manager of arts and creative industries at the City of Kitchener says. Today, the two-floor building is home to a mashup of disciplines and enterprise. A registered art therapist, an AI startup building intelligent robots, several community theatres hold offices decorated with laser engraved unit numbers. Construction is slated to expand 44 Gaukel’s usable first floor footprint with an event space, meeting space and additional office units.

44gaukelarts.com

“We’re in a time where the way people work is really changing,” Andrea notes. Ne w Face s of W ork Spa ce s

“People don’t want to go to work anymore and sit in a cubicle or at a desk that’s quiet and feel like they’re on their own and isolated. They want to come to work and feel like they’re in an exciting environment where they’re surrounded by other people who are doing the same thing. And when it’s 2:00 in the afternoon, where they can get a coffee and sunlight and the human factor. We’re not designed to be at a desk for nine hours a day. ”

workplaceone.com/locations/kitchener

44 Gaukel


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C o m m u ni t y

44 Gaukel WHERE ELSE IS THERE? Communitech

| 151 Charles Street W. Known as the grand-daddy of tech coworking space in the Waterloo Region, Communitech is housed in the historic Lang Tannery building.

communitech.ca Treehaus Collective

| 79 Joseph Street Located at the edge of Victoria Park in a trim red brick building, Treehaus caters to small businesses and nonprofits.

treehaus.ca Fresh Ground: The Working Centre A plant-based cafe, film and digital media studio, bike repair and community space. The second floor houses single units for Working Centre clients who have experienced homelessness.

theworkingcentre.org Workplace One

Ne w Face s of W ork Spa ce s

| 256 King Street E.


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C o m m u ni t y

“New refugees in Kitchener-Waterloo come to Sanctuary because they feel safe here and know it’s a place they can trust.”

LITTLE CANADA IN DOWNTOWN

S

hortly after the doors open at 9:00 a.m. at Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre (SRHC) located Downtown Kitchener, a handful of patients settle in to the available chairs. The centre receptionist, Canab, calls out a cheerful, “Hello, good morning! Nice to see you!” Laughter and conversation float from a hallway at the back of the building.

Li t t le C an a da in Do wnt o wn

An interpreter arrives to assist a patient for a counselling session with a social worker.

Author

Juanita Metzger Photographers

Jane Leis & Jan Muller

nurse practitioners, physician’s assistant, counsellors or settlement workers in the office. Three staff and volunteers at the front counter welcome each person — often by first name — as they verify identification and documents for appointments. When a young man shows up without a scheduled visit, they magically find space to squeeze him in later the same day.

Two children with shy smiles slide from their parents’ knees to draw on the chalkboard by the window.

“It’s like a ‘Little Canada’ every day here,” remarks Eda Dede, Sanctuary’s administrative coordinator. “New refugees in Kitchener-Waterloo come to Sanctuary because they feel safe here and know it’s a place they can trust.”

By 10:30 a.m., the bright waiting area has standing room only. Families with children, several young couples and a few older adults wait to see one of the physicians,

Their reputation as a holistic, patient-centred health provider for refugees has grown exponentially since Dr. Michael Stephenson, more commonly known to


“We’re focused on overall health and well-being, not just health care,” explains Sarah Flanagan, a physician assistant who has been at Sanctuary since 2016.

Now, six years later, with over 3,000 patients, it has outgrown three locations. They have plans for additional renovations at their clinic on King Street East, next to the Kitchener Market, where they’ve been located since last year.

Because refugees have come from countries where they experienced violence, persecution, conflict and/or extreme living conditions, medical needs and disease are only one part of the care required on a healing journey.

All patients are seen, regardless of coverage or status. “It’s one central place to help refugees access what they need, it’s about opening doors,” Dr. Mike says. “We never turn people away by saying ‘this is not something we deal with here,’ because we help people navigate all the barriers to participating fully in our community.” Dr. Mike is about to say more, but his next patient arrives and he doesn’t want to keep them waiting. Four other staff immediately pick up where he left off. “We can help with most things, in any language,” Eda adds. Collectively, staff and volunteers speak 28 different languages, so that is one barrier and stressor removed for patients at the clinic. Zeinab Mana, who speaks 12 languages, works as a medical interpreter at Sanctuary and sees the calming effect for patients when they can communicate in their first language.

Being Downtown Kitchener has made it easier to form multidisciplinary partnerships with community services to support the more holistic health needs of refugee settlement.

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C o m m u ni t y

his patients as Dr. Mike, started Sanctuary in a church basement one evening a week in 2013. The first night, one patient, of the six scheduled, showed up.

As a ‘one-stop’ place, patients and their families can access mental health support and trauma counselling with a Canadian Mental Health Association social worker, address settlement or documentation issues with staff from the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre and navigate social assistance with an Ontario Works liaison caseworker. Flanagan recently collaborated with the Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre (KDCHC) to facilitate a nutrition education series for women. “Refugees often experience food instability if they are living in camps or constantly on the move. They might arrive in Canada with nutritional insufficiencies,” she said. Having access to the community kitchen at KDCHC made the sessions more practical and introduced the group to another resource in the Downtown community. During the summer, patients leaving the clinic on Wednesday afternoons were introduced to the Kitchener Market through the Mid-week Market. They met market vendors and had access to fresh produce. “People felt included in the activity of city life,” Flanagan recalls. “That’s what Sanctuary does: we are a bridge connecting patients to the wider community and the community to Sanctuary, and the refugee community.”

“They are eager to come to work every day and they leave feeling that they made a difference in the lives of our refugees,” Linda says. 310 King Street E.

Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre

For a vibrant, diverse and hopeful ‘Little Canada’ in Downtown Kitchener, we couldn’t ask for anything more.

Li t t le C an a da in Do wnt o wn

Sanctuary staff and volunteers do all of this with the utmost compassion, commitment and support for the work, refugee patients and each other. Linda Pettus, a volunteer receptionist of five and-a-half years, realized these qualities belong to a truly dedicated group of people: ‘The Sanctuarians.’


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C o m m u ni t y

Abel’s On Queen

B a rbe rshop Re n ai ssa nce

18 Queen Street S.


BARBERSHOP RENAISSANCE

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Author

Photographers

Sam Toman

Adam Sulkers

L

uckily, Downtown Kitchener is experiencing a renaissance of independent barber shops — brick and mortar places where you meet strangers, discuss events and make connections that are critical to a vibrant and exciting community. Mitch Bright opened his barber shop, Abel’s On Queen, just for that reason.

C o m m u ni t y

At least for now, it’s still pretty hard to get your hair cut online. It’s one of a vanishing number of things we still need to do in person. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, everyone is welcome,” he says. That same inclusivity can also be found a few blocks east at Proper Two Barbershop KW. Nestled in a corner near the Apollo Cinema, the cozy space is the appointment-only sibling of Proper’s conventional location in Frederick Mall.

“I had a vision of something a little higher end, a little more luxe,” says Mitch of his meticulously designed space in the Walper Hotel. “I wanted to create a really cool experience for Downtown. They put so much effort into the hotel to make it look beautiful and I wanted the same for my shop.” Abel’s is both a throwback to another time and signal to an emerging Downtown Kitchener core where people come for experiences as well as services. As a one-time touring “metalhead,” Mitch started cutting hair when he and his bandmates couldn’t find good barbers on the road. He says he paid his dues working at “chop shops.” He wasn’t learning anything. “It was just get’em in, get’em done, and get’em out the door. That’s not what I’m about,” he says.

While the decor and attitude at Abel’s is new for Downtown Kitchener, the sights, sounds and smells are all timeless. Mitch’s clients represent every gender, age, and background in the Region.

B a rbe rshop Re n ai ssa nce

When a client introduced him to Craig Beattie of Perimeter Developments, Mitch found a partner whose level of service and attention to detail in restoring the historical Walper Hotel matched his vision for a barber shop — to create a space that was about more than just a haircut.


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Amber Soucy who works at Proper Two is bright, welcoming and skilled enough to carry on a wisdom-filled conversation about the connection between healthy communities and confident clients — while expertly trimming a beard at the same time. “A good cut comes down to listening to the client,” says the life-long resident of Kitchener. More and more of Amber’s clients ask for a haircut that reflects their personality.

C o m m u ni t y

“It’s not like my father’s generation, where you’d sit there silently holding your breath then just throw a hat on afterwards,” she says. “I try to shake my customers’ hands and ask them questions, and get them talking about themselves.” A great haircut in a trusted environment can transform their mood, confidence and attitude, she explains. And while she has clients of all ages and identities, she’s keenly aware that for her many trans clients, a great haircut is more than just grooming maintenance. “After I cut their hair, I try and give guidance on how they can keep that style every day at home,” she says. “Many trans men are growing facial hair for the first time, and it can be challenging. It’s different than for a guy who has had a beard since he was 13.” Amber’s sense of care and duty reflect a Downtown Kitchener that’s steadily, though sometimes unevenly, becoming more inclusive. “It’s different kinds of people moving into condos, and they are looking for different experiences. It’s really changing,” she says. A few blocks south on King Street, towards the Kitchener Market, is Black & White Barbers. Owner Sina Kamali set up shop after moving to Kitchener as a refugee from Iran. “Right after highschool, I had to leave Iran,” he says. “As a non-muslim, it was like I didn’t exist. I was not allowed to open a business or go to school. There was nothing for me there.” Luckily Sina chose the emerging multicultural atmosphere of Downtown Kitchener for his business. “Everybody is welcome here,” Sina says of Black & White. “I am of the Baha'i faith, and because of my culture, I am a people person. We are kind, we listen and we never put a face on just because of business.”

B a rbe rshop Re n ai ssa nce

Sina also offers free wifi, beverages, live sports and plenty of conversation.

“I try to shake my customers’ hands and ask them questions, and get them talking about themselves.”


“We’ve been here since 2005, and honestly, guys know they can come here and talk about the game. No matter where you are from, this brings people together,” he says.

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Sina’s waiting room is packed with roughly a dozen men representing cultures from around the globe. They all have one thing in common. C o m m u ni t y

“We do a lot of detailed fading. We do a lot of detailed straight razor work,” he explains. “The guys who come in her, they want to walk out of here with that tight fresh fade.” While Sina’s 14 years in business is impressive, on the opposite end of Downtown, a Kitchener institution is getting settled into a new home. “We were in the same location for 126 years,” says Sandra Emberson, a barber at The Walper Barbers at the corner of Joseph and Water streets. Emberson and the three other barbers most recently occupied the spot where Mitch Bright and his crew now operate. When they moved out of the hotel, they decided to keep the name alive. Sandra cut hair at the original Walper Hotel location since 1994. “I was the first woman to cut hair at that location,” she says, casually. The one-time pioneers are carrying on the legacy of the barbershop that existed in the Walper since it’s construction in 1893. When it comes to Downtown Kitchener, The Walper Barbers have seen it all. Their new location, in renovated multiplex, is the perfect example of how the area is renewing. “We still have multigenerational clients,” Sandra says, “and now that we’re closer to the residential area, we are getting more families coming in.” The biggest positive change she’s seen are the scores of tech employees who now work — and more importantly — live Downtown. “The people here now want coffee shops and bakeries and barbershops.”

“We have clients who pop in just to chat as well as getting a haircut,” Sandra says. “Everyone who comes in should be treated like a friend.” Images from left to right: Proper Two Barbershop KW, Black & White Barbershop, The Walper Barbers

B a rbe rshop Re n ai ssa nce

Beyond services, the people choosing to spend their time living, working and shopping in Downtown Kitchener also want community.


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C o nt r i but o r s

THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE PAGES

Project Manager

Project Creator

Community Coordinator

Seana Bailey

Curtis Grimba

Breanna Crossman

Lori Muller

@DTKitchener

@cgrimba + @DTKitchener

@bredowntown + @DTKitchener

@DTKitchener

Graphic Designer

WANT TO GET INVOLVED IN THE NEXT ISSUE?

Email: Curtis Grimba, cgrimba@kitchenerdowntown.com

Six years ago, Own It was a dream to connect people and the Downtown Community through sharing stories that are authentic. Just as our new Light Rail Transit connects people to experience food, festivals, working and living, our intention is that Own It will ignite a new connection for you to the heart of your City.

T he P eopl e B ehi nd the Pa ge s

It is humbling and inspiring to witness the collaboration that flows through this community. Capturing it on these pages is amazing. With countless hours and painstaking attention to detail, the Own It team has created something for the people. I am reminded on every edition how creative, driven and positive the team and contributors are. Coming together again proved that we are authentic, caring and collaborative. Congratulations on the 4th edition!

Linda Jutzi, Executive Director Downtown Kitchener BIA


60

Photographer

Author

Yeabsra Agonfer

Ryan Antooa

Jenna Aquino

@angryelbows

@yeabsra.agonfer

@ryanantooa

@jennaaquinoo

Author

Editorial Director

Author

Paige Bush

Nick Carder

Susan Coolen

@DTKitchener

@pgbush

@nickcarder

www.susancoolen.com

Author & Photographer

Contributer

Photographer

Author

Melissa Embury

Lawrence O. Fajardo

Vanda Frak

Florence Grunfelder

@melissaembury

@lofphotography

@vandawrites

@bonjourtasty

Author

T he P eopl e B ehi nd the Pa ge s

Photographer

Mistie Brown

C o nt r i but o r s

Photographer

Beth Bowles


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C o nt r i but o r s

Author

Photographer

Author

Illustrator

Shalaka Jadhav

Jess Kalman

Jamila Kyari

Maggie Laurin

@jesskalophotography

@jamilakyari

@Madeby_Maggie

Author

Author

Stephanie Mancini

Juanita Metzger

Photographer

Author

Jane Leis

Jannell Lo

@janelauraleis

@mybfisgf

T he P eopl e B ehi nd the Pa ge s

Photographer

Photographer

Jessi McConnell

Jan Muller

@jessthesnapper

@jan.twin951

Author

Author

Senta Ross

Andrew Rutland @andrew.rutland


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Author & Photographer

Photographer

Author & Photographer

Nick Stanley

Breen Splitt

Adam Sulkers

Chris Tiessen

@nickkstanley

@breensplitt

@willowtreeweddingsltdd

@chris_tiessen + @toqueltd

Author

Author

Author & Photographer

Sam Toman

Sam Trieu

Kayla Zawiski

@midtownkw

@strieudal

@thelocalinvestor

C o nt r i but o r s

Photographer

On behalf of the City of Kitchener's DTK Team, I want to thank the Downtown Kitchener BIA and all of our Community contributors that have brought this beautiful issue of Own It to life. The stories, photography and design captures the vibrant places and familiar faces of our City’s urban core.

Hilary Abel, Downtown Community Development Manager City of Kitchener

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR CONTRIBUTORS!

@DTKitchener | #DTKLove

T he P eopl e B ehi nd the Pa ge s

Many thanks to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, who in part funded this project through the Main Street Revitalization Initiative. The goal of this fund is to support small businesses across Ontario’s main streets and what better way to do so than to celebrate the community builders and entrepreneurs of Downtown Kitchener.


TOWN ENER