One year later…..

It’s one year since our neighbourhood pen pal project ended. At the pen pal picnic in June 2015, people had the opportunity to write a letter to themselves and we promised to send them back one year later.

They went in the post today so watch your mailbox! It’s a curious experience to receive a letter to yourself….. with your own handwriting!

Are you still exchanging letters with your pen pal?

Letters in the mailbox

In the mail!

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The Spirit of the Pen Pal Project


It’s hard to imagine that just one year ago this project was just getting off the ground! This sweet video by Sarah Granskou captures the story of the Pen Pal Project and serves as a great memory of new neighbour-to-neighbour connections made.

Are you still writing to your pen pal? Have you stayed in touch?


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A good pen pal match

Two pen pals meet for the first time

Pen pals Catherine (L) and Juanita (R), meet for this first time in July after exchanging letters during the Pen Pal Project.

The Pen Pal Project caught up with two pen pals who didn’t make it to the picnic on June 20th, but made time to meet in July.

What was it like to meet your pen pal for the first time?

Catherine writes:

Just prior to meeting my pen pal Juanita, I was a little nervous. I was eager to put a face to the Juanita I had begun to get to know through her letters and I also wondered what kind of impression I would make in person.

Because I was unable to make it to the Pen Pal Project barbecue, we made plans to meet for lunch at Café Pyrus. We walked together to the café and enjoyed a leisurely lunch meal together. Any fears I may have had about meeting quickly subsided after a few minutes of conversation. We were fortunate to be a great pen pal match! We both have a lot in common and were able to chat about art and AGO exhibits, our mutual interest in community development and our similar educational backgrounds.

I enjoyed the experience of writing to one another, and receiving letters in the mail, but meeting in person and gaining a new connection in the community has been even better! I now recognize another familiar face in the neighbourhood. In addition, it has been so great to learn about community projects and events through Juanita’s knowledge and promotion of the neighbourhood. I previously had no idea that so many cool, creative, community oriented projects are going on in my own backyard. I am excited to continue to grow my network of neighbours and friends and become more engaged in our wonderful community.

Juanita writes:

I haven’t gotten to know someone new through letters in probably 30 years! In the last decade, I usually meet people through online connections or directly, in person. Letters is certainly a different way of getting to know someone. I like to think of it as “slow friendship”…. Like slow food, slow travel, and slow weekends. It takes a little longer to form an impression of a person, but I find I remember details about my pen pal that I might not had we met for 10 minutes at a party.

I was very excited for our first-time meeting – I made sure to leave enough time and not arrive late!

Catherine & I met on the corner of Louisa Street & Waterloo Street in the Midtown Mount Hope neighbourhood where we both live. It felt like being a kid again, walking down the street to meet up with a friend and head over to a café downtown.

Our first lunch together covered a wide range of topics but we both discovered a common passion for neighbourhood development projects and the plotting and planning began also immediately with exchanging ideas.

Since we’ve met, we see each other walking in the neighbourhood and at the yoga studio we both frequent. Which leaves me wondering… with our common interests and common hangouts, how often have we been crossing paths in the community before now, and we just never met until now!

A little bit like the opening scenes from when Harry met Sally!

Do you have a pen pal “first meeting” story? Share it with us!

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Midweek in Midtown – Final Wednesday Potluck of the Summer WITH SPECIAL GUESTS!!

If you loved the picnic potluck we had at our June 21st event, here’s a grand potluck to end the summer season. Join us on Wednesday September 2nd @ 5:45pm at the Uniroyal Goodrich Park (by the railway tracks & spurline trail, Guelph Street).
See you there!

Guelph Street Garden

You’ve been saying it all summer… we really should get to the neighbourhood potluck! And here it is, the last one of the summer – how did that happen!?!

Don’t miss out…..

Wednesday September 2nd
5:45 pm @ Uniroyal Goodrich Park
(eating at 6pm)
With special guests from the other side of Midtown!
6 – 8 families will join us from Mid-town Edenbridge on the other side of King Street and their excited make the trek across the construction of King Street to partake in our famous potluck. It’s the Mid-town MeetUp!

To Bring:

  • food to share with a large group (main and/or dessert)
  • IMPORTANT please label your dish with ingredients for any food sensitivities, particularly potential allergens like nuts, dairy, gluten, etc.
  • ALSO – please avoid peanuts as there is a guest with peanut allergy.
  • your own plates, cups, cutlery, seating/blanket & drinks
  • soccer ball, badminton, sand toys…

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A most beautiful pen pal exchange

The perfect combination of art & letter writing….

Dear Data is a weekly pen pal exchange between two women across continents… through postcards, data and … art!

You’ve really got to see it to believe it.

See the whole series of exchanges here –



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It’s a perfect day for a picnic!

This gallery contains 50 photos.

Saturday June 2oth was the BIG day! After 4 months of 30 pen pal pairs writing letters across the neighbourhood, the day arrived for them to meet! The sky was blue, the table cloths were bright and the food was … Continue reading

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Pen Pal Picnic on Saturday June 20th – only 3 days away!


Photo Credit: Walter Lim

Just a quick reminder to send your R.S.V.P. for the Pen Pal Picnic this Saturday!

Saturday June 20
12noon – 2pm
George Lippert Park
(corner of Weber & Louisa Street)

WHO? For all the Pen Pal participants and their families + residents of the Mount Hope Breithaupt Park neighbourhoods.


  • Salad and/or desert. Grilled sandwiches are provided but this is still an old fashioned picnic and what you bring will help to provide a delicious meal to share with everyone. **Please label your food with ingredients for people that have food sensitivities or allergies. Also, keep in mind there is no refrigeration – please avoid foods that can spoil, and things with mayo, eggs, etc.
  • Your picnic blanket, or lawn chairs
  • Reusable plates, utensils, cups, etc for our potluck meal. This is a green event! Water provided.

RSVP to Matt Riehl – or 519.741.0190 ext. 300 with the number of people attending. We want to make sure we have enough food for all!

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