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 


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.

Way Opens For Construction to Begin

After a long haul of working, waiting, and yes worrying Prairie Spruce Commons is about to start construction. We now know and are ready to tell the world that construction will start in March 2016!



This breakthrough came on Summer Solstice weekend. The longest day of the year and a time of abundant growth and energy and not only in the plant world! There is a Quaker saying … Proceed as the way opens. While we are not a Quaker community we borrow from wisdom where we find it.  Bill Brent in his book Sacred Compass writes.  “To proceed as way opens means to wait for guidance, to avoid hasty judgment or action, to wait for future circumstances to help solve a problem.”

Cohousing is about building community and a building where we will live our lives in a beautifully designed house with private units (which include private kitchens … the most often asked question) and in the common house and garden. Way is opening for Prairie Spruce Commons to start construction… and so we are happy to send this invitation and announcement far and wide …

Purchase your unit in Regina’s first cohousing project, Prairie Spruce Commons.
●    Buy your unit before August 20, 2015.
●    A unit bought is a unit built.
●    Construction starts March 2016.

Join us now!


Conditional Membership Reminder

One of the most commonly heard comments in conversations with our supporters, as well as visitors to the Information Centre goes something like this:

“I love the idea and design of Prairie Spruce Commons, I see it in my future but I am not quite ready to join the community.”

Very often, this type of comment is followed by… “When do you think the construction will begin?”

These two common comments/queries are inseparable. The following statement by community member Joanne Mortensen makes the inevitable connection clear: “Construction will begin as soon as you and four other households commit to a home at Prairie Spruce Commons.”

That’s because we have agreed with our developer, Fiorante Homes and Commercial Limited, that construction will begin when 19 of the 27 beautifully designed, self-contained units in Prairie Spruce Commons are spoken for.

Our current community members (formally Equity Members) have each paid a downpayment equivalent of $35,000, have selected the units of our choice, are enjoying the fruits of community, and are working on promoting Prairie Spruce Commons so that others can join our community too. As current members, we want to do everything we possibly can to welcome our future neighbours into our community and to make your membership decision as easy as possible. We want you to say yes to your future in Prairie Spruce Commons!

To that end, we have come up with a lower financial threshold for joining the community, which also increases your certainty and security in the project moving forward. We call this “Conditional Equity Membership”. You can become a Conditional Equity member by making a downpayment of $5,000. Your full downpayment will not be required until 19 units are spoken for and construction is then scheduled to begin. Conditional Equity membership is a low risk way for you to ensure you have a future in Prairie Spruce Commons and Prairie spruce Commons has a future in Regina.

To learn more about Conditional Equity Membership, don’t hesitate to email us or give us a call at (306) 586-1363. To get a better sense of the elegant architectural design and this creative community, consider joining us at our 6th Design Workshop with Pattison MGM Architects on Saturday June 20th. Get in touch and will send you the details.


The History Behind Prairie Spruce’s Heirloom Bintje Potatoes

In the last blog, I told the story of how I was introduced to Bintje potatoes. In this blog, I will tell the story of how Canada was introduced to Bintje potatoes.

A long time ago, in a small Danish town lived a man named Gunnar Paulson. He had a loving family, but wanted more out of life. He wanted adventure. He wanted land. He wanted a better life for his children. Some other people in the same small town had family members that had moved to Canada. These new Canadians wrote about the wide open spaces, the cheap farmland, and the beautiful summers…. and how much they missed Danish food. Canada sounded exotic. Canada sounded like an adventure. And as far as Gunnar knew, no one had been eaten by a bear, frozen to death, or died of loneliness. After many discussions with his wife, Gunnar decided to pack up his family and move to Wainwright, Alberta.


Just down the street from Gunnar lived a young Knud Mortensen. He was looking for a job. He was looking for adventure. Canada seemed like a great place to find both. With his parent’s blessing, he accompanied the Paulsons to Canada. Also accompanying the Paulsons were three Bintje potatoes. They were hidden in Gunnar’s jacket pocket as the family passed through Canadian customs. The potatoes, as well as the rest of the family and Knud, survived the trip to Wainwright. They grew and multiplied, both the Paulsons and the potatoes. Soon there were enough potatoes to share with Knud’s aunt and uncle who lived in Tilley, Alberta. Tanta (aunt) Marie looked after the potatoes with the same love and devotion as the Paulsons.

Knud, tired of working as a cook and laborer, returned to Denmark where he met and married Eva. Two boys and a doctorate in plant pathology followed soon after. When the opportunity to return to Canada to complete his post graduate work arose, Knud accepted. He assured Eva it would only be for a year and it would be a wonderful opportunity for the boys to learn English.

That was almost forty years ago. When Knud moved out to the farm, he got some Bintje potatoes from Tante Marie and began growing his own potatoes. When he moves into Prairie Spruce, the potatoes are coming along…but probably not in his pocket.

The one sure way of enjoying heirloom Binjte potatoes? Joining the Prairie Spruce Cohousing community, of course!


Prairie Spruce Potatoes in our Garden, and in Bed?

About 20 years ago, when I was a new bride, my mother-in-law Eva saw me peeling store bought potatoes. She promised to bring me in some potatoes from the farm the next time she came to town. Having grown up on a farm with the obligatory giant farm garden, I was none too fond of store bought potatoes and was happy at the prospect of real potatoes.


As promised, Eva showed up a few days later with a 5 gallon pail of potatoes. I was wondering if they would be red potatoes (best for making perogies) or white potatoes (best for baked potatoes). It never crossed my mind, that there were any other kinds of potatoes. Apparently there are; she had brought me a pail of Bintje potatoes.

They look delightful, don’t they. What you don’t know is that the size you are seeing them right now is pretty close to real size. The big ones are about the size of you thumb. I kept a smile plastered on my face as I thought these were the potatoes we left in the garden in the fall because they were toooooooo small. Keep smiling… I am not peeling those things. Keep smiling… maybe I can bake them or something. Keep smiling…what am I going to do with 5 gallons of teeny tiny potatoes.

I soon discovered that the absolute best way to eat Bintje potatoes is at Eva’s house. She boils them with the peels on and Knud peels them while they are still super hot. The potatoes are then put in a bowl, covered with a potato doily (yes, they have one – don’t you?) and put into the bed under the feather quilt until the rest of supper is ready.

I have become a Bintje potato purist as I don’t bother with butter or gravy, I just eat them plain. Sometimes I even skip dessert and just have more potatoes. Well, on the off chance someone in the family reads this, I guess I should correct that. I eat dessert and then eat more potatoes.

If you ask Eva, I’m sure she would make them for you at our next community shared meal. If you ask Knud, he might even tell you the story of how those potatoes got to Canada. These types of stories are of course best told in community, and around a table filled with great food. Let us know if you’d like to be part of our next community meal.


Sunday Jane’s Walk: Planting and Growing Community in the Heart of Regina

This Sunday might be the busiest community outreach day to date for Prairie Spruce community members. You’ll have 4 opportunities to interact with community members this weekend:

  • Dave, Faye and Jean will be doing a presentation at the Regina Unitarian Fellowship @ 10:30am
  • Dave & Lois will be at the 50+ Celebrate Showcase & Tradeshow.
  • Myself (Ruth) and André will be leading a Jane’s Walk

And of course, we’ll have some folks at the Information Centre in case anyone drops in too.

But this blog post is about our Jane’s walk in Canterbury Park…

Prairie Spruce Commons will settle into a place recently re-imagined and re-developed.

The location (land) on which Prairie Spruce Commons will be built has been home to many people and communities before us.  All on Treaty Four Territory.

Now an emerging medley of retails and residential, this neighbourhood of just under 8 acres was once the Property of the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle, and for a while hosted a large community garden project of Grow Regina.

This is a neighbourhood in the heart of the city where it will be possible to rely on bicycles, car-share and pedestrian modes including strollers, walkers and wheelchairs too.

The newly built retail and residential developments are integrated into the history of this place. The Bishop’s Court, St. Chad’s College, Anson House (the official residence of the secretary of the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle), St. Cuthbert’s House, and Harding House are each designed in the Collegiate Gothic style.

The entire site and its five original buildings are Provincial Heritage Property and have received Heritage Awards in the Exterior Renovation category. 

The land on which Prairie Spruce Commons will be built, it seems, has never before had built structures on it but from 1994 to 1998 was part of an extensive Community Gardens project of Grow Regina. 

Prairie Spruce Commons now has a compelling opportunity to plant and grow community in the heart of the city.

Come and join André and me for a Jane’s Walk of our neighbourhood on Sunday, May 3rd from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.  We will meet at the PSC Information Centre (it’s the little building with flags on it).



Black Sheep Welcome

I wonder if everyone feels (like me) that they are the black sheep of their family.  Not the full on, crazy cousin that you don’t give your address to black sheep, but just some way that you don’t fit into your family. (Yes, I do have a crazy cousin but he is harmless and he doesn’t know my married name.)

I am the curling black sheep of my family. My older sister has gone to the Canadian Ladies Senior Championship twice as lead on Team Saskatchewan. My father has a lifetime membership in the Yorkton Curling club. My mom was a hard core curler until her back gave out. Then she became the driver for her team – very important when bonspieling in rural Saskatchewan.

I don’t curl. There I’ve said it – it’s out there for everyone to know. Growing up, I was the kid sitting at the curling rink reading a thick book. We lived on a farm and ‘going to the rink’ was one way to get into town. I played on my sister’s team one year. At the end of the year, she very lovingly told me that the rest of the team didn’t want me to curl with them next year; they wanted to win at least one game.

So when Prairie Spruce announced that we would be participating in a Curling blender at the Tartan Curling rink, I was torn. I wanted to hang out with my cohousing friends, but curling? Seriously, curling? I usually use the phrase ‘I’d rather poke a stick in my eye’ when asked about curling.

I took a chance and had a great time. Have I returned from the dark side? Has the curling gene finally shown up? Nope. I took my camera along and had a blast taking pictures. Since they were fun four end games, no one cared that I was on the ice taking pictures. It was absolutely the best time I’ve ever had curling. Prairie Spruce fielded (iced?) two teams. Prairie Spruce One was Henning, Warren, Murray, and Suzanne. Prairie Spruce Two was Dave, Lil, Roger, and Knud. We were the only group that fielded two teams, had a team photographer, as well as a cheering section of Kim, Suzanne’s daughter, Laurie and Claire.

The moral of the story? In cohousing, even black sheep belong!


Friends Rather Than Strangers

Girasol-Sur-400x284For the past twenty years my friend has enjoyed winter at Girasol Sur, a condominium located in Mismaloya, Mexico. Located near Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, Girasol Sur has the gorgeous turquoise waters of Bahía de Banderas, beautiful white sand beaches, a tropical savannah climate with dry winters, and bougainvillea that made me gasp with delight. I asked her what she thought contributed most to her experience at Girasol Sur. Expecting the obvious references to the beaches and salt air, her response surprised me. She said the dining space and the large front entrance make us friends rather than strangers.

I would love to live with an ocean view, but that will have to be in my travel life. In my home life, I look forward to living with friends rather than strangers. Like Girasol Sur, the dining space and the welcoming front entrance at Prairie Spruce Commons are two design features that will contribute to community.


Condo living seems to be designed for people to live next door to one another as strangers. At Prairie Spruce Commons the community and building design helps us to become friends. We are already creating friendships through our monthly community meals, enjoying games and sports, making decisions together, hanging out at the Information Centre, and taking road trips to see other cohousing communities. If you are looking for condo living where you can be a friend rather than a stranger, we are looking for you.


How We Define Community

If you google Regina developers or home holders, many nice websites come up. Most contain the word “community” such as “building better communities” or “coherent communities.” As a cohouser, I was curious what other websites had to say on the subject of community. I looked at four or five websites and as far as I could tell, their community was all about the physical space – tree lined streets, bike paths, and parks. There are some nice places in Regina.

But I think community is much more than that. I think the community is about people. Have you ever had a crappy job but stayed longer than you should have because the people you worked with were great? How about a good job that you quit because you couldn’t stand the some of the people you worked with? People are the most important factor in community.

At Prairie Spruce Commons, we are building our community right now. Not the physical building, but the relationships that will make living in the same building easy and rewarding. We are spending time together, getting to know one another. We have had BBQs in the park, house concerts, games nights, and many, many potlucks and community meals. (We have amazing cooks at Prairie Spruce.) I am getting to know my future neighbors. I know who likes dogs and who has a cat. I know who can teach me about art and who I can talk to when I’m upset. I know who likes to garden and who is most likely to have chocolate. I know who wants to learn to make perogies and who will prevent me from cutting off my fingers with a chop saw.

As a group, we have been working on policy: pets (yes, two), smoking (nope, not anywhere on the property), parking (yes, one covered spot). As a group, we have designed and refined the plans for Prairie Spruce Commons. As a group, we have worked through many issues and are still a community. Everyone has their say and everyone is listened to. Sometimes it takes the group a while to reach consensus, but the decisions made that way are always better than what we started with.

Oh yeah, about the physical community space. We’ve got a great building, with a great courtyard, in a great neighbourhood. We are even across the road from a 2300 acre park. I think we got the developer definition of “community” covered too. 🙂


A "Tom Sawyer" Turkey Dinner

Tom_Sawyer-238x284Everyone knows the story of Tom Sawyer, a clever young boy who convinces his friends to do his work for him. It is a work of fiction, but the story it seems has inspired many…

About two weeks ago, Murray announced that he was going to cook a turkey for a birthday dinner our community would host while Chris, one of our project managers, was going to be in town. Our Prairie Spruce community rallied behind Murray’s idea and other members quickly offered to make something for the meal. I offered to make extra stuffing. Henning offered to bring perogies. Salads and desserts were volunteered. The Gagnons were going to make some delicious homemade cranberry sauce.

In the lead into the dinner prep, Murray mentioned it would be good to have some help so our host Lois stepped up to help cook the potatoes and Dave volunteered to come early to carve the turkey.3064997632_d930edb767

As with any prairie potluck, there was food in abundance. Jean and Faye brought a spinach salad with strawberries, avocados and poppy seeds. Henning brought perogies whose silky smooth dough and delicious filling drove even those who normally are gluten free or vegetarians to try a couple. Joyce treated us to two types of custard and someone made the best apple crisp I have ever had. Warren offered up cheesecake. Several bottles of wine appeared out of assorted bags and boxes.

Suzanne arrived with a large pan. It was topped with golden brown crumbs and was filled with a smooth, creamy-looking concoction. Hmm, I wondered what it was, some type of delightful potato casserole? Perhaps another dessert? A new vegetarian dish for me to sample? It smelled wonderful. I asked her what it was. Turnip Fluff was her answer. Oh…

I have spent my entire life hating turnips. My mom would boil them to a nasty, pale orange mush and force us to “just try a little.” To this day, some 30 years later, my mom still wants me to “just try a little” of her boiled turnips. As an adult, I can just smile, say “no thanks” and pass them to my dad who really likes them. My dad is English –  you can draw your own conclusions from that.

But life is about trying new things, so I tried “just a little” of Suzanne’s Turnip Fluff. It was delicious. It was fluffy. It was wonderful. I experienced a personal epiphany – turnips are not nasty; they are really quite good. I went back for seconds – a much bigger helping this time. (I wonder what she can do with Brussel sprouts – my second least favorite vegetable?)

When it was time for cleanup in the kitchen, Murray had to retire to the living room to attend the marketing meeting. Fortunately, Ruth came to the rescue. She offered to clean up while the rest of us attended the meeting.

We teased Murray, our “Tom Sawyer of the North”, quite a bit that night about his turkey dinner. But the reality is, we were all Tom Sawyers that night. By splitting up the work, delegating cooking and cleaning, we all benefitted in a way that could only have been possible through group effort. Only one of us had to make the cranberry sauce, only one of us had to bring the turnip fluff and only one of us had to do the dishes. But we ALL had fun. We all got to enjoy the meal and enjoy each others company.

I’m looking forward to Murray’s next party. 🙂