Over the years, many of the resident members of the Bayview Village Association (“BVA”) have shared stories with the Association leadership about how they bought their first home in spring 2014. They had saved long and hard to move into an “established” neighbourhood with great schools and ample parkland with vast ravines to walk their pets. You would be amazed at how much research buyers and new entrants into our neighbourhood do beforehand — checking out crime watch and open blogs, drove by at different times of the day and, of course, chatted with the neighbours.
Our newer residents state that, most often, the neighbours really sealed the deal for them. “We were moving into a neighbourhood with a highly active and energized neighbourhood association. We signed the last piece of paperwork and immediately jumped into all things neighbourly, and that included joining our neighbourhood association”.
If you think these associations aren’t for you, or you are unsure on how you can contribute to your own neighbourhood, I urge you to think about the following:
When you gather a group of people interested in bettering their neighbourhood, I am pretty confident good things will come your way. While most neighbours are interested in preventing crime, some are interested in clean public parks and open areas or more street lighting. All of these personal agendas make for a diverse to-do list. When it becomes personal, the vested interest grows stronger within the group.
“The neighbourhood BVA is that ‘just right’ level of engagement — large enough to take me outside of my individual concerns but small enough to really get to know people and tackle issues head on,” says a current Bayview Village owner/resident.
When you decide what to focus on and push up your sleeves, things start happening. Let me tell you, this type of work is not for the light-hearted: for our resident members, they expected to have more movement with decisions and changes. However, good neighbourhoods take time to grow. There are no overnight successes, and at times, it seems easy to give up. When these feelings begin to invade your space, resort back to why you wanted to join in the first place. This is your home, this is where you have invested your hard-earned money, blood, sweat and probably tears. It is worth it.
When you join your BVA, you may also have the opportunity to join the volunteers’ group or better yet a place on the executive board. By taking a leadership role, you have the power to discuss issues and create improvements.
A neighbourhood association is also a direct line to your city council members and other elected officials. You have the privilege of meeting other neighbourhood leaders as well. Collaborating on issues or events can be a great bridge for your community. Over time, this will make you well-versed in the processes of regulations and city-wide by laws, which can be incredibly invaluable to your lifestyle and work focus.
3. Keep your Leadership Skills Sharp
The skills you contribute as a member of a neighbourhood association are worthy of adding to your résumé. And, most importantly, they may help you become a better employee and citizen. When working with a passionate group of people, you are not just adding “works well with others” on your LinkedIn. You are saying, “I am passionate about this cause.” You might also hone skills you never learned about in previous jobs or in any of your academic pursuits. When was the last time you manned a booth at an event? Led a neighbourhood cleanup? Asked for donations? There is no shame in showcasing your skills and picking up some new ones — the workday doesn’t always end at 5 p.m.
You don’t get to choose who is in your neighbourhood association — I like that. Gathering a group of people from different backgrounds with a wide range of experience brings so much to the table. There is no social or economic exclusivity, and you’re likely not sitting in a group with your friends or colleagues — though they may become that over time.
A neighbourhood is a place where you will run into people again and again just by being outside, running errands and enjoying a cup of coffee. Now, you may not always get along, but you are more than forced friends, you are neighbours who have the same common goal. Respect that and determine what you can take away from this group of engaged neighbours.
Don’t really want to attend a meeting? There is something for you as well: a good time! Show up to neighbourhood events. Meet new people, eat a few tasty treats and go home. All with minimal planning required.
Attending BVA events are great for meeting neighbours and feeling more connected to the place you live. One of those events is our BVA Annual General Meeting, typically held annually in June, which is critical to the association governance, health & growth of our neighbourhood. Even in our virtually connected world there is no replacement for chatting in-person with your association executive board and committee chair members, having your voice heard, opinions expressed and visible representation of advocacy for the community’s needs and wants. It also promotes a true partnership amongst individuals and families within our community. Other events are showcased for BVA Members on the Events page of this BVA Web Site.
The History of Bayview Village
Bayview Village began as a small rural farming community in the 1800's. One of this area's first settlers was Thomas Clark, a father of seven children and an influential member of the community. The Clark house built circa 1885, and located at 9 Barberry Place, is the only dwelling that remains from Bayview Village's pioneer days.
The present-day Bayview Village neighbourhood was planned in 1954 by a group of developers led by Farlinger Development Ltd. Bayview Village was hailed as "contemporary living in the countryside, at the doorstep of the urban concentration of Metropolitan Toronto."
The town planner for Bayview Village was Dr. E. G. Faludi, who also designed the Rexdale, Thorncrest Village, and Humber Valley neighbourhoods in Toronto. Faludi's trademark curvilinear street pattern that follows the natural contours of the land was designed to highlight the natural beauty of this neighbourhood.
Bayview Village's novel approach to neighbourhood building combined with affordable house prices, which ranged from $16,000 to $40,000, helped make this subdivision an instant success. A resident’s association was formed in 1956 and by the early 1960's Bayview Village was completely developed.
Interesting fact - A number of Bayview Village streets such as Citation, Palomino, Sorrel and Bunty Lane are named after famous racehorses.
A Truly Irreplaceable Neighbourhood
The Bayview Village community revolves around three popular local landmarks - the Bayview Village Shopping Centre, the North York YMCA, and the East Don Valley Parklands - each of which is an integral part of this family-oriented neighbourhood.
The design and layout of Bayview Village is very much influenced by the East Don Valley Parklands. Dr E.G. Faludi, the town planner who designed Bayview Village, recognized the importance of the East Don Valley Parklands when he said, "We will fit the community into the landscape and not the landscape into the community." This lofty ideal was met in Bayview Village.