Saturday, January 14, 2012

The White House [on the Corner]

back in 2008, my partner shawn and i gave up our downtown apartment to take off backpacking across Canada. we gave away and sold all of our furniture, put our essentials into storage and left the city behind.

when we returned, the money we had saved up for first and last month's rent was spent in a kitty emergency,.. mister shaggy had fallen ill while we were gone and needed surgery to keep him alive. so instead of paying for a place to live we saved him.. and was offered a shell of a house to stay in from one of our good friends. it barely had walls, or floors.. there was no heat or running water and it was the dead of winter. but it was pretty well free until we got it fixed up... and thus the white house [on the corner] began.

for the first little bit, it was almost like winter camping. we had lights and a radio, had to go down the street to use the washroom, to visit friends and family members for a shower, and kept big 10litre jugs of water for washing and drink. we had a futon set up in what would eventually be the living room, and helped the owner to refinish it bit by bit.

as soon the first three rooms upstairs were habitable [and we had running water and heat], we designated a room for my brother to stay in.. and as the basement grew a couple more rooms, they were filled too. the owner had no intentions in starting a rooming house, but it ended up working out for the better. the house was slated to be finished and re-sold, and instead it became it's own entity, a housebound community was born.

over the years a couple of the rooms have seen multiple tenants roll through, the couches have seen many surfers, and the house has accumulated it's own group of friends. it's central location is perfect as a drop in, and the yard and spacious common area became popular hangouts for the nerds and hippies alike. we accumulated such a large group of 'regulars' that game nights, rockband parties and potlucks became a regular thing.

the house and the community is evolving still. as we enter our fourth year as a collective, we have achieved much as a community. we have a network of resources amongst each other that we can rely on, and a rounded selection of skills to share. the backyard went from having a tiny vegetable patch, to having a large community permaculture garden, which is maturing into it's second year with plans to expand. the backyard itself sees it's share of passers through, as there is plenty of space for visitors to set a tent and stay a while.

i plan to use this page to write about how the community came to be, an ideal framework for functioning as a community, and to document the changes and growth within the collective and the garden. also, to touch on other group homes and spaces from the past.

thanks for reading, stay tuned!


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