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  • Writer's pictureMike Brown

The Long March: Growing Community During a Pandemic

Editor's note: some of the pictures in this article were taken before the 2020 coronavirus lockdown.

Since March 2020, BCC (like the rest of the world) has relied on Zoom for our meetings and get-togethers. We've worked hard to create opportunities online for folks to stay in touch.

We've missed meeting in-person, but -- oddly and gratefully -- we're closer together than ever. The last six months of COVID-19 lockdown and physical distancing inspired many of us to do our best to keep our relationships thriving.

Here are a few responses we got when we asked the community:

How have your BCC relationships sustained you during the pandemic?


The pandemic has highlighted how strong a community we have already built BEFORE we have even moved into the building. After we switched all of our gatherings to virtual in March, the Social Circle took the initiative to create fun activities we could do over Zoom and to increase the frequency of social events. A few of my favorites have involved people sharing a photo (e.g. vacation, baby photo) and telling a story about them. It fostered conversations about members' pasts and their interests that enabled me to get to know them on a deeper level that doesn’t normally come up in casual conversation. In addition to the virtual social events, we have enjoyed getting together informally with a few members for a drink or dinner in camping chairs six feet apart, listening to members play music together in Central Park, having doggy playdates, and swapping jigsaw puzzles (we are sharing resources already!). BCC has become our primary community and has enabled us to continue to have social interactions during the pandemic so we don’t feel so isolated. Kate

I have so appreciated the caring and concern extended to me by so many BCC members during the first tense weeks of COVID-19 when my brother, in a local nursing home, tested positive and no visitors were allowed. After sharing this upsetting news in our monthly Plenary meeting during the usual opening round check-in, members called and stayed in touch. We've also become closer as a group through weekly Zoom social activities led by BCC members, like laughter yoga, best birthday memories, and sharing travel adventures. And of course, we test our cooperative mettle by working together in our various circles. My circles -- marketing and landscaping -- rock! Christine

My BCC relationships have been an anchor for me in what I think of as the “year of plagues," both political and natural ones. I’ve been so impressed with how we’ve deepened our commitment to the community and each other during this unstable time. When times got tough, we worked harder to stay connected. So my BCC relationships have given me a wonderful sense of feeling grounded when I could have felt at sea this year.


As a newer member, the BCC Zoom activities have been not just sustaining; they've created a lovely sense of who all my new siblings are, a bit of what they're about, what sort of humor and wit they come up with. When met in-person at Plenary, most of the social time happened before and after actual meeting time -- and usually with one or two at a time. BCC Zoom offered informal -- even when guided -- inter-group exchanges. I've loved our Zoom gatherings! Teri

There has been something profoundly grounding for me about being in BCC during the time of the pandemic. Somehow we have continued to make substantial progress on our community and continued to learn how to work together better. This has been so satisfying in a world where the next best steps are becoming less and less clear. From our work together, lovely friendships have formed and deepened. We have even remained close to members who have had to drop out of the community for different reasons. Bull City Commons continues to show me more about the breadth and depth of what friendships can look like.

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Soul Sisters: Cohousing in comfort in a unique Vanier home | Ottawa Citizen A terrific article on four women who pooled their resources to create th


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