As a wildlife photographer I really don’t have many skills. I haven’t got a lot of patience, I haven’t got a lot of photography experience, and I like to be moving around. But on a recent trip to a vacant farm yard somewhere in Saskatchewan I finally figured out wildlife photography. You have to have wildlife subjects that want to have their pictures taken. In fact in the case of the attached picture of the moose they run right up to you, pose and give you a perfect photo, well at least by my amateur wildlife photography standards.
Then less than an hour later while walking across the same vacant yard you notice a mule deer about 25 yards away watching you walk towards her. Again as an amateur wildlife photographer with your camera now safely stowed in the truck 25 yards behind you, you do the only sensible thing to do, which is to turn around and walk back to the truck to get your camera to take some more photographs. This of course works because you have a subject that wants their picture taken. The attached mule deer photo is one of several that were taken with a co-operative wildlife subject.
I think with such great photos I will be able to join my cohousing communities elite photography group, well my fingers are crossed anyways.
There is something unique about being a community moving into a community. It seems many of the neighbours in and around Canterbury Park are aware of and interested in Prairie Spruce Commons Cohousing. Somehow, I feel larger than myself, or even my family, as I anticipate moving into Prairie Spruce Commons and the Canterbury Park neighbourhood. It is as though I bring the whole Prairie Spruce community with me, and this is like an open door when I am meeting the neighbours.
I have been slowly getting to know our future neighbours and neighbourhood. As a photographer, I am regularly consulting with Laurie at Bird Film. It is fun to stop in at Bib and Tucker and see what new styles Gaynor has on display, and Elyse at Stapleford Health and Rehab did her magic on my shoulder.
Our unit is at the south end of the Prairie Spruce building and the residents at Cedar Wood Manor on Broad Street will be our closest neighbours. Walter, Emmerson, and Vic (not their actual names) have a close-up view of the construction from their lawn chairs at the back of the building. They are out there most days and can give a report on the progress. It is nice to sit with them on a sunny day, see the building taking shape, and hear their perspectives on the construction and the neighbourhood. Recently I was standing looking at the east foundation (adjacent to College Park II) and met Alvin (not his actual name) who also lives at Cedar Wood. It was inspiring to hear his pride in his son who has recently graduated in medicine and is doing his residency in Prince George.
And then there is the natural world neighbours. The copse is a small group of trees at the intersection of College Street and Halifax Street, and was part of the original Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle. I am grateful that the copse is being beautifully restored by Vince and Joe Fiorante.
In this time of being part of a community moving into a community there always seems to be some new opportunity to get to know one another, and ourselves, in fresh ways
Sunday July 23rd was a lazy, hot, Saskatchewan Summer day. The brilliant blue sky had hardly a hint of cloud to impede the bright yellow sun bathing the cities and countryside alike in its warm glow.
This was the day twenty-two members of the Prairie Spruce Commons cohousing community took a brief hiatus from the mildly oppressive heat in Regina and headed out to the inviting micro-climate of Katepwa Lake, and Dave and Lill’s lake cottage. Everyone was in a celebratory mood and the time was right for a festive summer social.
Folks started to arrive via carpools around 2:00 p.m. They unpacked their potluck food and refreshments, ice coolers and chairs, and of course “Conan the Beagle”, and arranged themselves in friendly visiting fashion under the shade of nearby Ash and Maple trees.
Once everyone had arrived we took a brief time out for Lill’s “tour”. It started with the inside of the cottage where Dave could be heard saying “please move all the way in folks, away from the door, so everyone can get in”, just like in a “real” organized tour. Then it was on to the lake shore, the boat dock, and an assortment of water craft laid out for the visitors to use, and of course more trees.
After that everyone chose their favourite leisure activity, whether lying in the hammock, sitting and visiting, walking the dog, lying on a blanket, or using the paddle boat, and wiled away the afternoon. The snack table and beverage station were near at hand and kept well stocked but it wasn’t long before tummies started growling.
So, we fired up the barbeques (Murray had brought an extra one to provide added grill space) and it wasn’t long before everyone’s preferred form of protein was grilled to perfection. The splendid array of colorful gourmet potluck salads and desserts covered an entire picnic table. Then in typical cohousing fashion everyone settled in for the common meal and more socializing. Coincidently July 23rd was Dave and Lill’s wedding anniversary and the community honoured them with a song and a special cake for dessert. There was even time for a cake cutting “photo op”.
By 8:00 p.m. supper lethargy was wearing off and some folks started thinking about the return trip to Regina. As efficiently as they arrived they swept up their belongings, packed them into vehicles, collected their passengers and headed for home. A few people stayed to watch the beautiful sunset across the lake. It was the perfect finale to a wonderful time spent with cohousing family and friends.
I married into a Danish family. My in-laws and husband were all born in Denmark. Despite living in Canada for 40 years, they still maintain many Danish traditions. Most of my favorites involve food. I have been introduced to smørrebrød – open faced sandwiches that must be eaten with a knife and fork. I have come to love herring and the occasional shot of aquavit. There is always risalamande (rice pudding with almonds) at Christmas.
It is usually topped with cherry pie filling, but last year it was topped with homemade cherry preserves. It was amazing. Tart cherry goodness mixed with creamy rice sweetness, this was something that I had to learn how to make.
Making cherry preserves is not that easy. It takes a lot of work to pick and pit the cherries. So I asked the other members of Prairie Spruce to give us a hand. Not only did we get Prairie Spruce members out, we even got some friends of cohousing out to pick. There were seven of us picking cherries.
Ann told us about picking cherries at boarding school in England. She said they were let into the fenced in an orchard and not allowed out until all the cherries were picked.
Henning was a bit slower than Ann as his pail didn’t have a handle. I don’t think he had quite as much experience picking berries either.
It didn’t take long for the cherry trees to be stripped bare. Then we moved onto the other berries that needed to be picked. Murray and James picked a gallon or two of saskatoons and Knud picked raspberries.
The afternoon ended with tea and ice cream with fresh raspberries for all. Murray took home the saskatoons, hopefully, to make one of his famous fruit crisps. Eva had two huge bowls of cherries, ready to be pitted. I helped pit, but she was so much faster with her hairpin.
Sharing is one of the core values of Prairie Spruce Commons.
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).
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
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
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
Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology
Several preschools and day care centres
St. Andrew Elementary school (French Immersion), University of Regina
Our story begins in the spring of 2011 when 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
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
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