News / London

London health centre turning clock back 20 years for new look at Old East Village

Picture it: A community changing, adapting as it builds on strengths and overcomes weaknesses.

No, seriously, grab a camera and "picture it."

It’s the ask from staff at the London InterCommunity Health Centre as they roll the clock back two decades for a fresh perspective on Old East Village.

The health centre is preparing for the launch of Picturing a Healthy Community 2014, and organizers are asking everyone to snap shots of the things that best personify the east London neighbourhood.

Photos shared via the centre’s website will be paired with those taken 20 years ago during the first Picturing a Healthy Community.

All told, it’s an initiative built around the idea of looking at what was happening back in the day — specifically 1994 — celebrating successes since then and looking to the future growth.

Shelly Happy, a community development worker at the health centre and project coordinator, explains it best. The effort is a way to examine “the themes of growth," "the themes of change," and "the themes of stability” then, build "a new foundation” for moving forward.

“When the original group got together 20 years ago … without having been given themes or instructions … themes emerged out of the photography,” Happy said. “This was foundational for a lot of the work that began in the neighbourhood to support community members, celebrate strengths and, at the same time, recognize the gaps.”

New photos are being collected now, and there’s a retrospective launch of the old photo exhibit planned for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Western Fair Farmers Market.

If you go, you can expect to take a stroll down memory lane. The retrospective, which will be on display after the launch at Carson Branch Library, includes many scenes from everyday life in the village, be it dogs lounging on familiar lawns or Dundas Street storefronts.

Some people who took those photos have been asked to capture the same image as it looks today and write a bit about the experience.

Hopefully, Happy said, that will help “trigger more growth and more interest in … looking at how far we’ve come many more years” down the line.

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