Now, this is a real neighbourhood!

It all started with the February blahs.

And now it’s going to involve over 1000 neighbours and an evening of fun, food, snow, ice, and a great feeling.

The Kingswood street party, to be held Saturday evening (yes, right now if you’re reading the issue that just got dropped off at your house) will completely fill the skating rink at Kuzmich Park (corner of Big Bay Pt & Grand Forest). Cars will be parkiing at three neighbourhood schools; a city bus will pick up neighbours and get them to the rink.

And at the rink, pizza, hot chocolate, music and ice skating will be the order of the evening.

This is a real community event and involves folks living in the Kingswood subdivision, as well as ‘old’ Painswick (Spruce, Pine etc). Val Warner, entrepreneur extraordinaire, is mobilizing door prizes and is enthusiastic about the generosity of her neighbours for the third annual Kingswood Community Valentines Skating Party.

In year one, she and her friend Meaghan Gauthier made up invitations, driving them door to door. One thing led to another and before they knew it, they’d organized a very successful neighbourhood skating party. People brought food for the Food Bank. Merchants donated prizes. Two hundred people ate pizza and hot dogs and drank hot chocolate and families enjoyed being families while neighbours enjoyed being old fashioned neighbours.

Fast forward to year two–2004– when 800 people turned out and received over $10,000 worth of door prizes, drank and ate wonderful food and enjoyed being neighbours. They also brought eight barrels of food for the Food Bank.

The 2005 event –tonight– will outdo the other two as the Kingswood neighbourhood extends its good energy to the entire Painswick area. Merchants doing business with Kingswood include the 201 Hurst plaza, Allandale Hardware, the stores at the new HYuronia Rd and mapleview Plaza as well as Yonge St. and Huronia Rd.

And the merchants are generous.

Stevensons Rentall has donated tables for merchandise donations up for a silent auction. Items will be laid out on tables with bidding forms attached. Gift certificates will be in a flip binder. Pizza is by Little Caesar’s and hot chocolate (1200 cups of it) is from Imperial Coffee Service. Once one person gives, others happily follow suit.

Val and Meaghan have rented a city bus for the evening so people can park along the route. The bus will also pick up people from the district’¹s three schools–Algonquin Ridge, Pope John Paul II and Warnica.

There are 45 merchant donors whose generosity is creating door prizes AND silent auction items.

Val is enthusiastic about the generosity of the neighbourhood merchants. The Tot Spot has donated an energy-based kid’s car; Elite Sports Performance gave a number of personal training programs, Wickie’s Pub and The Hun have given meals. All Round Health & Fitness has given an exercise package. And there is an electric coffee maker from Allandale Hardware. There are Valentines spa packages, a pool closing, hair cuts, massages and lots of opportunity to go home with something special.

The Food Bank is sending its truck and a staff person to receive the goodies, especially welcome at this time of year when giving tends to fall away. But, not in this huge neighbourhood of goodness, that’s for sure!

Val says it takes 25 volunteers to pull this off and she shared the secret goal they’re striving for tonight… 1200 neighbours, 1200 pounds of food and $1200 raised. Plus a good feeling, family fun, and the true celebration of winter.

Accolades go to the ice masters who ensure that the Kuzmich ice surface is perfect for tonight. Denis Bouchard and John Armstrong are the volunteers who make sure that tonight’s ice activity is top notch. They’ve been tending the rink all winter.

Val thanks the city snow plow which clears a central area around the rink so people can gather. The parks crew also sets up garbage cans and picnic tables.

Now, that’s a neighbourhood! If you wish you could go there, but can’t… you can go in spirit. Just log on to and go there through cyberspace!

Thanks, Val. Thanks, Meaghan. Thanks, Denis & John.