Category Archives: The Community

Who Are We?

Who Are We? A Dedicated Bunch

Prairie Spruce Commons is composed of a group of people dedicated to creating homes with a unique sense of community. As a multigenerational group, our current membership of 26 consists of students, retirees, and professionals (along with 3 cats, 3 dogs, and 1 goldfish).

Diverse Interests

As you will discover by reading our member profiles below, we come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. As with any group, we have members who have travelled extensively, are involved in the community, and participate in volunteer activities.

Perhaps most importantly, our group looks forward to benefitting from each others’ knowledge and experiences. Our collective interests vary greatly from sewing to wine making, hunting to carpentry, computers to cooking, music to sailing, and golfing to pet ownership.

We also value the ability to live independently within our own homes while fostering and contributing to the community we are building.

My interests are environmental issues, being outside & going for walks. I especially enjoy being out in the country in the fall, cross country skiing in the winter and maintaining some level of fitness through working out. Conan’s interests are food, food, walks and being with people!! Conan and I are both looking forward to moving into Prairie Spruce Commons. – Murray and Conan (the beagle)

Meet The Community – Member Profiles 

Lois

I recently retired from an Administrative position and am enjoying the transition into retirement.  I have a mischievous beagle that I co-parent with my brother, who will be living at Prairie Spruce in another unit.  Conan will be nearly 13 years old when we move into Prairie Spruce.  Some beagles can bark a lot, or even howl.  This is not the case for Conan.  Conan did not learn how to howl and sometimes barks when someone knocks on the door.  If I know someone is coming and put him into his kennel before they knock on the door, he does not bark.  He is a good dog that gets lots of attention! He is quite gentle around small children too.

It is always a good day when I play cards (especially Bridge), and enjoy most physical activities including cross country skiing, snow shoeing, gardening, walking, hiking, sailing, and travel.  Past times include home decorating and furniture refinishing, board games, reading, and cooking. I have had opportunity to do quite a bit of travelling.  Holidays are usually quite active with lots of walking, hiking, or bicycling to see the local area.  After I retire, I look forward to taking a few more trips. 

I have an interest in the environment and leaving a smaller footprint.  I continue working at it, making incremental improvements and changes towards living more sustainably. I enjoy cooking and sharing meals together with family and friends. As other Prairie Spruce members have expressed this as a similar interest, I expect some of the bigger jobs to become much more fun when shared.  I look forward to participating in “work bees” when making cabbage rolls, perogies, and pasta to name a few, as well as sharing healthy, tasty meals with Prairie Spruce friends.

Brenda, Rebekah and Ruth

We call ourselves the Rae Street Girls! We have lived on Rae Street in Regina for over 20 years. Now we are ready to commit to building Prairie Spruce Commons and wonder if we will be known as the Badham Girls?

As young feminists, we would, on principle, never have called ourselves Girls. Brenda and Ruth now in our 60’s and Rebekah at 23, still consider themselves feminists, but as poet Mary Oliver says …. no longer young and still not half-perfect.

Rebekah Hope, who is a farm girl and a city girl, is a Student Researcher at the Astonished! Teaching and Learning Centre at the University of Regina. This is one of the programs of The Big Sky Centre for Learning and Being Astonished! Inc. a community-based organization that Brenda, Ruth and Rebekah have helped to create. We give our lives to the vision of working and playing in inclusive community to create social inclusion of all kinds including with and for young adults with complex physical disAbilities.

Brenda and Ruth are part of a loose tribe of women across North America who sing love songs to life and Earth. We call ourselves Singers of the Sacred Web. We each have Masters degrees in Theology and had first careers as clergy. Brenda, who loves a big challenge, has a more recent Masters degree from Royal Roads in Environmental Education and Communication.

We are also stewards and companions of a remnant of native prairie grasses in the Qu’Appelle valley on a 160-acre patch of land known as Grandmothers Hills.

Family, home, community and living a lighter footprint are all essential to us. Being and becoming cohousers excites us and suits us!

JoAnne

My greatest joys are my two grown daughters, their partners and all my extended family. I believe in contributing to my community and have volunteered in a variety of ways through my children’s activities, church, or hosting city events like the 2013 Grey Cup festival. I enjoy being in nature by walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, golfing, and boating. My love of all things in nature leads me to look for natural ways to stay healthy and happy. My life started in rural Saskatchewan and most of it has been lived in Regina. I am interested in sports and a proud member of Roughrider Nation. Currently I am in a project management career in information technology and a director of a local/western Canada consulting firm.

Suzanne

I have been excited about the prospect of living in cohousing since I first heard of the concept during a CBC interview with Sheila Coles back in 2012. I’ve always been conscious of my ecological footprint and I was instantly attracted to the project because of its intention to include sustainable features. The concept of intentional community was new to me but after a few months of gathering for meetings, potlucks and workshops I came to appreciate this aspect of cohousing and see it as an added bonus to my desire to live more sustainably.

Over the years I have worked at various jobs and currently work as a recreation therapist in a long term care setting. My favourite job was being a stay at home mum. I am the proud mother of four adult children. Laura and her husband John live in rural Ontario; Heather and her fiancé Daniel live in Val Marie, Saskatchewan; Kim lives in Toronto; and my son Matthew and his wife Catherine live in Regina.

As a girl of eleven, I immigrated to Regina from England and initially found the openness of the prairie landscape disconcerting but over time I have grown to love this “land of living skies.” I enjoy travelling and seeing new places but always look forward to returning to this prairie city. I am excited at the prospect of moving into this amazingly designed building called Prairie Spruce Commons, Regina’s first cohousing project! Moving in with me will be my ten-year-old, black, mixed breed dog, Abbey and my one-year-old black farm cat, Gzowski.

For fun, I enjoy walking my dog, cycling, gardening and camping… just about anything that connects me with nature and the outdoors. When the busyness associated with getting cohousing off the ground is complete I hope to take up some creative endeavours and return to more actively supporting social justice initiatives.

Warren

I heard about cohousing from my sister-in-law Suzanne two years ago and asked if I could come to a meeting with her. I really didn’t have a clue what it entailed until I attended my first meeting in May of 2012 and found out that everyone there wanted to build a sharing, caring, sustainable community in the city. I was in.

I was born in Regina and have lived here ever since. I am a carpenter by trade and have also taken a few years of university classes (no degree). I have been a member of the Carpenters Union since 1976 and have been on the executive board in some capacity for the last 30 years. I am currently working as an instructor for the Prairie Arctic Trades Training Centre in Regina and also instruct classes for the Union.

I enjoy walking, hiking, camping, cycling, canoeing (it’s been a while but living so close Wascana), card games (bridge), board games and watching movies. I plan on working for a while yet but after I want to do some travelling and I will use my skills to help build the community at Prairie Spruce Commons. I am looking forward to using our shop to build projects with and for the community.

I can’t believe it has been three years since my first meeting with PSC but plans and ideas have finally resulted in a location and an environmentally sustainable designed building that I want to move into today!

Murray

My sister introduced to me to cohousing after she had joined the group that was working to bring cohousing to Regina. She brought me into the group because, as she said, “I knew it was you.” Cohousing is about creating community. It also is a more sustainable way to live.

I moved off the farm and into Regina in 2000. Some of my interests include cross country skiing, exercise in general and staying fit, hunting, walking, hiking and enjoying nature, cooking and trying new recipes, co-parenting a beagle, and socializing with friends and family. Currently, I am not sure if I am retired or just between jobs.

I have learned lots and look forward to learning more about cohousing.

Dave, Lill and Family

Dave and Lill, married over thirty years, are long-time members of the Prairie Spruce cohousing community. They have four adult children: Roger, Joel, Owen and Elise, all in their twenties. All family members regularly and frequently engage in various volunteer activities and happily share their time and talents in their neighbourhood, school, and faith-based communities.

As a couple, Lill and Dave enjoy travelling and spending leisure time at the lake. They also enjoy all types of music and love to dance. Lill has a large extended family so socializing in large groups just comes naturally. She is genuinely interested in people and has a knack for remembering people’s names and faces. Lill works in a local community-based organization as the office administrator and bookkeeper. Dave has a knack for storytelling and has a bit of a creative side. He recently retired from a thirty-five-year career in information technology and continues to indulge his passion for life-long learning.

Dave and Lill’s son Roger also has a gift for remembering people’s names and faces. He likes working with his hands and enjoys group settings for both work and play. He is enrolled at the University of Regina in the “Campus For All” program. Roger also works part-time in the woodworking shop at the Abilities Council and at “Seedmaster”, a farm implement manufacturer. Roger is looking forward to living in Prairie Spruce Commons and enjoying the music and media room.

Joel is enrolled at the University of Regina in the Music Education program. He plays trombone in the Regina Symphony Orchestra as well as the “Pile Of Bones” brass band. He also sings in several choirs. Elise is enrolled at the University of Regina in the Nursing program. She studied dance at the “Saskatchewan Express” Musical Theatre Studio and is an occasional dance instructor. She also sings in several choirs. Depending on where their careers eventually take them both Joel and Elise plan to move into Prairie Spruce Commons. Their brother Owen is completing his Electronic Systems Engineering degree at the University of Regina. He enjoys playing percussion with the Saskatchewan Roughrider drum line. Owen expects his career will take him out of province but he knows he will be welcome to stay in one of the Prairie Spruce guest rooms on return visits to Regina.

Faye

I was raised on a farm in the Saskatoon area, then moved with my family to Saskatoon. I attended the University of Saskatchewan. I have worked for non-profit organizations almost my whole career, with visually impaired people, people with HIV and those at risk, families of young children with special needs and vulnerable young parents with young children.

I currently work at a Youth Centre where my training as a life skills coach gives me opportunities to engage and support young parents. I love working with parent groups and being able to provide a safe space for them to learn parenting skills and to grow in self-esteem and confidence.

I am the proud mother of a daughter, Suzanne and two amazing grandchildren, Savannah who is eleven and Daelen who is five.

In my spare time, I love being connected to nature and am an avid bird watcher. I enjoy dancing, singing, writing. reading, healthy eating, meditation and learning in general.

I am excited about moving to Prairie Spruce with my partner, Jean, who hails from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Jean and I enjoy walking being in nature, doing drumfit and other fitness activities, trying out new recipes, watching movies doing jigsaw puzzles playing board games and hanging out with grandkids. We are enthusiastic about attending Regina Folk Festival, concerts, musicals, and other events around the city as well as going dancing.

Cohousing aligns so well with my values and I am excited at the prospect of moving into Prairie Spruce Commons. I have always wanted to live in community and to live as sustainably and as lightly on the earth as possible. As well, I appreciate the process of collaborative decision-making and am looking forward to the sharing of work and resources.

Jean

I have lived all my life in Ingonish Centre, Cape Breton Nova Scotia. I come from a family of eleven, nine girls and two boys. I am the proud mother of three boys. Michael is in the army and lives with his wife, Kyla and my oldest grandson, Riley, age six. Colin lives with his wife, Kayla and my youngest grandson, Austin who is over a year old. My youngest son, Allan, passed away at five years old twenty-two years ago.

I’m a jack of all trades. I have worked at a resort in various capacities such as cooking, doing laundry, cleaning rooms, bell hopping and gardening. I also ran a hardware store as well as building houses, painting and house repairs and maintenance.

I love to cook and try out new recipes. I really appreciate being in the outdoors, walking, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, swimming and taking in the birds and animals. I enjoy board games, card games and bingo. I have been a member of the Ingonish Volunteer Fire Department fundraisers. We have put on meals, concerts, dances for kids and other seasonal events.

I am interested in cohousing because of the involvement of my partner, Faye. I also like the idea of us all sharing the workload and pitching in together in whatever work we need to do. I especially look forward to working in the garden at Prairie Spruce Commons.

Henning, Joanne & Erik

We are a family that traces roots back to Yorkton and to Denmark. An adventurous family, we have engaged in activities such as flying sailplanes, scuba diving, and sailing Americas great loop. We are interested in woodworking, photography, board games, and, for Erik, video games. Henning is a computer consultant and Joanne is a teacher.

We look forward to moving into Prairie Spruce and seeing how the community grows and unfolds as the years pass. We look forward to many celebrations and to shared happiness and sorrow. Henning is excited by the power of community and looks forward to setting up community internet and phone systems and organizing home concerts. We also look forward to maintaining a closer relationship with Knud and Eva, Henning’s parents who are also becoming a part of Prairie Spruce.

Eva & Knud

Eva and Knud were both born and raised in Denmark. Eva, the oldest of four children, grew up in the city (Odense and Copenhagen). Eva has a nursing degree from Denmark, and in 1984 she took a refresher course as a registered nurse in Saskatchewan. She worked in nursing homes in Regina until 1994. Eva enjoys being with elderly people.

Knud, the second oldest of five children, left for Canada in 1957, and spent four years in Alberta, He returned to Denmark, where he received a bachelors degree in Agriculture and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen.

We came to Canada in 1974 with our two boys, Henning and Thomas. Knud has worked with Agriculture Canada, Research Stations in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Regina, Knud retired from Agriculture Canada in 1999. We lived in Regina from 1978 to 1985, when we bought a farm half way between Balgonie and Edenwold. We are still living here and farming a quarter section.

We are actively involved in the Lutheran Church and community events in Balgonie and Edenwold. During the summer we are busy keeping up a big garden, which is Eva’s pride and where she spends most of her time weeding and cutting grass. Knud, aside from helping in the garden, enjoys farming. He has had as much as seven crops on a quarter section in one season, and has walked nearly every square meter on this quarter.

Marc

With the exception of the year that Marc turned eight, he has lived in Regina all his life. That year – an education leave for his father – Marc and his family lived in Halifax.

Marc, who is the older of two children, lives with his parents, Ann and André. His sister, Michelle, also lives in Regina. Marc attended several schools as a child: the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre School, Davin Elementary School, Sir Charles Tupper Elementary School in Halifax, Holy Rosary Community School, and Miller Comprehensive High School. In spite of a lifelong battle with mathematics, Marc successfully obtained his high school diploma.

Marc is a frequent audit student at the University of Regina, and has also taken part in the Campus for All program. Some of his favourite classes have been an Introduction to Film, Narrative in Film, Introductory Music, and Jazz Appreciation; however, he has also dabbled in Psychology, Philosophy, Political Science, and more.

Volunteering has always been part of Marc’s life. After finishing high school, he volunteered in the production studios and mobiles at Access Communications for several years. He was also a volunteer porter at Wascana Rehab. Throughout this, he has been a regular course marshall for the Queen City Marathon, the Regina Police Service Half Marathon, and the Jingle Bell Run. In the summer, he is a parking and traffic volunteer for the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony under the Skies.

Marc has a passionate interest in film. In addition to seeing almost every film released, he has taken classes in Set Safety, Set Protocol, and Flagging. He was an extra on The Englishman’s Boy, Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, and The Edge of War.

Marc loves to travel and has visited every province of Canada (but not the Territories – yet). He also participates in a Next Chapter Book Club, and yoga classes, and really appreciates the sauna and hot tub through his membership at the YMCA.

Vision & Values

Mission & Vision

Prairie Spruce Commons is a cohousing community committed to building an apartment-style condominium intentionally designed to use resources wisely and to encourage cooperation as well as friendly interaction among residents and neighbours, individuals and families. This inclusive, safe and authentic community is one that respects, shares & cares.

How Cohousing Works

Cohousing communities are typically designed, managed and maintained by its residents using consensus-based decision-making.

Cohousing communities are places where people work together to enrich their lives and improve their environment. Bringing people close together can make it easier to share resources and be a place where individual’s skills are shared and valued. The cohousing model recognizes that privacy in your own home can help support community life.

Participation Is Key

Membership in Prairie Spruce Commons is by household and each household is expected to be involved in the ongoing life of the community. Each household is asked to attend general meetings and contribute to committee work. Other involvement can take on many forms, allowing for individual talents and preferences to shine.

Consensus Decision-Making

Consensus is different from most other kinds of decision-making because it encourages group members to work together and collaboratively develop solutions to common questions. Since the goal is group unity and the common good, rather than winning a majority of votes, every member is important. The community as a result tries to listen to and respond to each person’s needs and opinions.

As a community, we recognize that the consensus process requires commitment and patience, but we believe that the resulting decisions are better, more effective and, in the long term more time efficient. A true consensus decision reflects the concerns and creativity of all the members of the group and the process of uniting these generates the solution that best responds to the needs of that group.

One of the reasons that Cohousing is important to me is because it offers compelling possibilities for living in ways that day-by-day respect Earth and one another. – Ruth Blaser

Our Neighbourhood

Prairie Spruce Commons offers easy access to great food, green spaces, cultural, retail and recreational offerings, educational centres and places of employment. It’s one of the reasons we’re most excited about our new neighbourhood.

Our Neighbourhood Walk Score

Prairie Spruce Commons’ neighborhood has a Walk Score of 75,  Very Walkable, is reflective of the wonderful neighbourhood we are building in. Most errands can be done on foot. As the area sees further development, the Walk Score will only improve, becoming a Walker’s Paradise.

For more information on Walk Scores.

Within Our Neighbourhood

Map of Prairie Spruce Commons Neighborhood
Prairie Spruce Commons Neighborhood

Imagine yourself at the centre of ever-widening concentric circles.

First Circle,  1/2 kilometer

  • Doctors, physiotherapists, dentists and a local pharmacy
  • Restaurants, pubs and coffee shops
  • Mike’s independent Grocery
  • Tartan curling club
  • Canadian Blood Services
  • Canadian Broadcasting Centre
  • Canadian Girl Guides
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind
  • Regina Open Door Society
  • Regina Transit bus stops
  • Two high schools: Miller Comprehensive and Balfour Collegiate
  • University of Regina, College Avenue Campus
  • Wascana Centre, one of the largest urban parks in North America covering a total area of 2,300 acres. Includes Wascana Lake, Wascana Park with a playground, walk/wheeling and ski trails, and Wascana Pool

Second Circle, 1-2 kilometers

  • Arcola Elementary School
  • Conexus Centre for the Arts
  • Cornwall Centre Mall
  • Davin Elementary School
  • Downtown Regina
  • Globe Theatre
  • Kramer IMAX Theatre
  • Regina Central Library
  • Regina City Hall
  • Regina General Hospital
  • Royal Saskatchewan Museum
  • Saskatchewan Science Centre
  • St. Agustine Elementary School

Third circle: 3-5 kilometers

  • Douglas Park Elementary School
  • First Nations University of Canada
  • MacKenzie Art Gallery
  • Regina Airport
  • Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology
  • Several preschools and day care centres
  • St. Andrew Elementary school (French Immersion, University of Regina

What an amazing neighbourhood to live in!

Lifestyle

The cohousing lifestyle strives to create a village of all ages where neighbours know and support each other. The type of village that really does raise children and where people spontaneously socialize and eat together! Because residents design the community themselves to meet their own values and needs, they naturally develop a deeper sense of place & belonging with their homes, as well as a deeper connection to each other well before the physical community is even built. That is the natural benefit of the community design.

Prairie Spruce Summer BBQ
Summer BBQ

How do you know if the cohousing lifestyle is for you?

  • You desire a more meaningful connection with your neighbours
  • You enjoy sharing and working with others
  • You want to live lightly on the earth
  • You want to live abundantly through sharing stuff and skills
  • You want to age in place
  • You want to raise your kids in an vibrant community
  • You want to live among people from all walks of life
  • You celebrate the diversity of people and cultures in your city

The cohousing lifestyle strikes the perfect balance between privacy and community: community can be found at a moment’s notice in the generous common amenities designed with the input from residents; privacy can be achieved within your well-appointed, efficiently designed private home.

Our Story

 

Prairie Spruce Summer BBQ
Summer BBQ

Seeking Creative Housing Options

Our story begins in the spring of 2011, a group of people who recognized the value of community in their own lives and its benefits to the surrounding neighbourhood started looking at creative options for housing in Regina. On the suggestion of a local community organization, they met to discuss the cohousing concept and learned about a cohousing project that was being developed in Saskatoon. Two members of Wolf Willow Cohousing in Saskatoon were invited to speak at a later meeting in Regina. Following this meeting, discussions about cohousing began. Monthly meetings were held, community representatives were consulted, a mission statement was drafted, and information about the project was circulated through the wider community.

On December 12, 2011, Sheila Coles interviewed two members on CBC’s The Morning Edition. Many people who heard the interview attended the regular meeting that took place that evening. Enthusiasm grew, and the word spread.

The January 2012 meeting was pivotal. Twenty-seven people attended, several of whom now form the core of the present group. Plans were made to invite a cohousing consultant to Regina. The group also agreed to implement a social element in the form of potluck suppers before general meetings.

Prairie Spruce: What’s in a Name?

As part of our original visioning exercise, we drew pictures of people, sketched out homes and a spruce tree. Later, the group looked back on these pictures for inspiration for a name. The spruce tree “struck a chord” with the group. Spruce trees stay green and look alive year round. Also “green” can be associated with the sustainable green building aspect. Prairie seemed appropriate to help identify the location of the cohousing development. Commons refers to the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. Thus Prairie Spruce Commons. Our story had a name.

Getting it Built

In May 2012, a weekend “Getting Your Community Built” workshop was held. Regular monthly potlucks and meetings continued through the next year. Committees were formed to build community, deal with legal and financial issues, search for land, and explore design ideas. By the end of the year, our name was registered and the incorporation process was underway.

Project managers Chris ScottHanson (author of The Cohousing Handbook) and Jasen Robillard of Connexus Cohousing Collaborative were contracted in June 2013 and given the task of finding land. We are currently working with Regina architects Pattison MGM and developer Fiorante Homes and Commercial Ltd.

A sense of rapport, spirit and hope continues to grow among project members in 2016 as we share meals and collaborate on final design details.

Cohousing is for me because I have always wanted to live in intentional community living lightly on the earth.      – Faye Huggins

What is Cohousing?

Prairie Spruce members and potential members in a community design meeting with an architect.
Prairie Spruce members and potential members in a community design meeting with an architect.

Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighbourhood. Residents are consciously committed to living as a community. The physical design encourages both social contact and individual space. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes but residents also share the extensive common facilities such as an outside barbeque area, a playground and a common house.

How To Know if Cohousing Is For You

  • You desire a more meaningful connection with your neighbors
  • You enjoy sharing and helping others
  • You want to live lightly on the earth
  • You want to live abundantly through sharing stuff and skills
  • You want to age in place
  • You want to raise your kids in an urban village
  • You want to live amongst people from all walks of life
  • You celebrate the diversity of people and cultures in your city

* adapted from www.vancouvercohousing.com

Get in touch to find out more about Regina’s First Cohousing Community

How to Get Involved

Getting to Know You

We hope cohousing and particularly Prairie Spruce Commons is resonating with you.

At our very first design workshop with Prairie Spruce Commons we knew there was a resonance for us. Something with resonance has a deep tone and/or a powerful lasting effect. At that first design workshop we were putting check marks in many of our boxes: underground parking, garden, accessible space designed for our particular needs, design for natural light in every unit, close to Wascana Park, the University of Regina, and downtown.Then there were the things we hoped for but didn’t imagine possible: green building design, a community of people committed to a lighter footprint.Add to that the bonuses we hadn’t even thought about: multi-generational community, a common kitchen and gathering space that could accommodate our large extend family and community of friends, the possibility of a shared workshop (Brenda loves other people’s power tools), a guest room that could be reserved by any of the members of PSC. We were doing the ‘happy bee dance’ vibrating with the resonance between our lives, our dreams, and PSC.  … Brenda, Ruth, and Rebekah

How to Get Involved

  1. Be curious about cohousing and our community
  2. E-mail us – PrairieSpruceCommons@gmail.com
  3. Be a part of Prairie Spruce Commons, Regina’s first cohousing community.

One aspect about cohousing that really excites me is the sharing of skills and abilities among community members.  … Dave

Find out more by exploring the other pages on the site and contacting us to learn the date of our next orientation, potluck, or site tour.

It Takes a Village

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child and it was this idea that sparked the idea of cohousing, which originated in Denmark. Cohousing creates a place where children can play together and their parents can relax knowing that there are many caring adults looking after the children. Children are viewed as valued members of the community and have the opportunity to learn from people with a wide variety of skills and experiences. Children have their own playroom for toys and fun and during the summer can play outdoors under the watchful gaze of neighbours who care about them.

Cohousing is a community of people who have elected to join together to form a caring, sharing and respectful cluster of homes. In cohousing, neighbours elect to design their homes in order to foster the sense of friendliness and collaboration that allows for a more wholesome common life.

 

Play Structure at Sunward Cohousing
Play Structure at Sunward Cohousing

Prairie Spruce is currently looking for you to join us in forming Regina’s first cohousing community. The community will be built in Canterbury Gardens on Broad Street near College Avenue. We are building a four story condominium with private suites and common facilities including kitchen, dinning hall, kid’s play room, guest rooms and a workshop.

We are looking for people of all ages from children and their parents to seniors. We want single people, couples and families. To put it very simply, if you are interested in community, we want you.

Units in the building are being sold on a first come, first served basis and we are so excited by the tremendous response we have had so far. Don’t wait, check our “Get Involved” page for information about how you could be part of this wonderful community.

This video talks about children in cohousing.


If you qualify for a CMHC 5% down payment, we will honor that. Details are under “The Project” / “The Building”/ “CMHC Help for First Time Home Buyers”

FAQ— Frequently Asked Questions

The letter QThe frequently asked questions are frequent—obviously. They are understandable and expected. Cohousing is not different from many communities and neighborhoods you have lived in. Rather than developing over decades, in cohousing a group forms with the intention of creating a community.

What is Cohousing?

Cohousing is a process by which a group of people work together to create and maintain their own intentionally-designed neighbourhood.

By collaborating with an architect and project facilitators, Prairie Spruce Commons is participating in the planning and design of their own housing development. Along the way, our group has formed bonds that will become the basis for ongoing community growth and development.

How did cohousing get started?

In the late 1960′s a group of Danish families decided to create their own resident-developed neighbourhoods as an alternative to traditional housing models. They wanted a community where they would know their neighbours and that would be safer because people would watch out for each other and strangers would easily be noticed. They wanted to reduce the stress of their daily lives by easing day-to-day burdens such as child care and cooking. They wanted to reduce their impact on the land and create communities that were environmentally sensitive and sustainable. Today, 10% of all new housing constructed in Denmark use this model.

It was introduced to North America in 1988 by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett. While studying at the University of Copenhagen they learned of bofaellesskaber (which translated means a living community). They renamed it cohousing and the phrase is now listed in the Oxford English dictionary. Since that time, over 100 cohousing communities have been completed in North America including many in Canada.

What is the difference between a co-operative, a commune, and cohousing?

In a co-operative, the development is owned by the group and the units are rented. In a commune, all property and personal resources are shared with the community. In cohousing, people own their homes as well as a share of the common space. People in cohousing often choose to share resources to live more affordably, for example, sharing a snow blower or lawn mower.

What kinds of people live in cohousing?

Cohousing is for people who want to participate in their community.

Prairie Spruce Commons is building a community which is diverse in age, background and family type. The emphasis is on quality of life for all community members. There is no social agenda beyond creating a caring neighbourhood where all residents feel accepted and comfortable.

Generally, cohousing members have a desire to have a say in what their neighbourhood will be and a belief that having more connections with their neighbours will enhance their quality of life.

What does cohousing living entail?

Members own their own homes and are free to take part in as many or as few community social gatherings as they choose.

As a homeowner, members are expected to share decision-making, attend meetings, and contribute to the administration, maintenance and upkeep of the buildings and grounds (thereby keeping their monthly fees as low as possible).

Some people describe the cohousing community as an intentional neighbourhood. The goal of cohousing members is simply the desire to have a more defined sense of community with their neighbours, some of whom might be quite different from themselves.
Most people who are attracted to cohousing are actively seeking diversity in their community. They want to live with others who will expand their horizons.

Individual Homes

Will I own my own home?

Yes. Each unit will have a condominium title ownership under which each household owns its own home and a share of common facilities.

Can I bring my pet?

Yes–probably. Prairie Spruce Commons will welcome most pets. Please ask further about the pet policy.

Will I have privacy?

Yes. In cohousing, members participate in a process to create a community that reflects their values. Most people in our culture value privacy so the community will be designed to provide a balance of privacy and community.

The building design will afford all the personal space and individual privacy a person desires.

If I live in cohousing, will I have my own kitchen?

Yes. This is a frequently asked question.

In addition to a kitchen in each unit, every cohousing community does have a common kitchen/dining area. The community will make a decision on how often community meals are available. Participation in the eating of these meals is voluntary, but everyone takes turns in making the meals.

A report of the Toronto-based Creative Communities and Collaborative Housing Society entitled Planning Cohousing (Ottawa: Energy Pathways, 1997) states that “[t]he idea of shared kitchen and dining facilities does not stem from a notion that meals should be communal but a recognition that sometimes communal meals are desirable and benefit everyone.”

What will be expected of me after the development is completed?

There will be monthly maintenance fees that each household will pay.

There will continue to be periodic meetings to make decisions about the operation of the community.

Members will be expected to contribute to the administration, maintenance, and upkeep of the building and grounds (to keep monthly fees as low as possible.)

Common Facilities

What is a common house?

All residences are completely self-contained with full kitchens but also share extensive common facilities that are designed for daily use. The common house includes such things as a large kitchen and dining room for meals and social gatherings, guest rooms, children’s play area, laundry facilities (supplementary to optional in-home laundry) and workshop.

Do members share meals together?

The common facilities, and particularly shared meals, are an important aspect of community life for both social and practical reasons. However, shared activities are always optional. People always have the option of cooking and eating in their own homes. Typically about 60% of the residents participate in shared meals on a regular basis.

In existing communities, shared meals can be available from a few nights a month to as many as seven nights per week.

The meals are generally prepared by 2 – 4 people for however many diners sign up in advance for that particular meal. As noted above, eating community meals is always voluntary. Typically each adult is expected to be involved in meal prep and/or clean-up once every 4 – 5 weeks. Members only pay for the meals they eat.

What about safety and security?

Because cohousing members know all their neighbours, they have an excellent neighbourhood watch system built into their communities. Someone who is not a member of the community is very easily recognized. Members of the community also watch out for the property of an absent resident.

How many homes will there be in the project?

Prairie Spruce Commons will have 21 privately owned units. This is within the optimal range for cohousing communities, which has been pegged at 15 to 36 households.

How are decisions made?

Decision-making is shared by all members. Decisions are made using the consensus model. This puts everyone on an equal footing, avoids power struggles, encourages everyone to participate by communicating openly and provides an opportunity for people to see a variety of points of view.

Financial Matters

What will it cost?

Unit prices are a reflection of total costs incurred in building Prairie Spruce Commons on Badham Boulevard.

Prairie Spruce Commons is purchasing the land and building from Fiorante Homes & Commercial. We have designed the building and the developer has figured out the cost of getting it built. We have summed these two costs and divided the total cost into the number of units. Note, that there is no profit added to the costs before determining unit prices; the prices are set in order to fully cover the building of each unit.

Our current prices are listed here. For more information on cohousing unit pricing & value, please read this blog post.

Are there condo fees and how are they set?

Condo fees are set by the cohousing group with representatives from each condo being on the board making the decisions. The fees will vary according to the size of the unit. A professional with a background in building fee assessment often assists the group through this process.

What if I have to or want to move out of the community and must sell my unit?

When it comes to resales, experience has shown that homes in cohousing hold their value

Find Out More

Where Can I Learn More About Cohousing?

Click on the links below to learn more about cohousing

Canadian Cohousing Network
US Cohousing Association