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Small actions, big change during #100in1day

By Michelle Di Cintio on June 1, 2017



This year will be the first time since its inception in 2012 that Ottawa will take part in the #100in1day event. Beginning with a group of students in Bogotá, Colombia, the event is meant to encourage as many people as possible to take one small action on a specific day, to make their city a better place.

Christine Earnshaw, from Synapcity, is head of the project in Ottawa. Her goal is to coordinate 100 different events that will take place on June third throughout the city. “It’s a civic engagement festival that involves activating citizens’ ideas and dreams for the city, sort of one initiative at a time, one neighbourhood at a time,” Earnshaw explained.

To facilitate this goal Earnshaw and her team have been meeting with groups all across the city, so their own projects can become part of the #100in1day event. They have also organized a series of workshops, to encourage people to explore their neighbourhood and identify how it can be improved – in terms of use, or space, or just how people interact with each other in those areas.

Earnshaw says that from her experience, while it can seem very abstract at first, ideas start flowing quickly once people begin paying attention. “It is… just looking for those ideas, what can citizens do to take actions, to improve the street quality and the quality of being; interactions between people or it could be adding beauty, or it could be providing more exchange of information and ideas.”

The projects tackle a wide range of activities: from a greening project meant to attract pollinators, to a one-day basketball class, to renaming University of Ottawa’s buildings in honor of their notable women graduates, to group activities like Pitch Imperfect’s sing along. Any and all ideas are welcome.

Meeting with these event creators has been the best part for Earnshaw so far. “There’s so much diversity in ideas and it’s exciting to meet with all these city builders, with these co-creators of the city who have skills to give, time to give and energy to dedicate to making the city better.”

The registration for the event is continuing right up until June third, but the earlier one registers, the better. The Ottawa team is devoted to helping organize, network and promote these events as they are conceptualized. Volunteers are also welcome, as many people will be needed to act as go-between for the events and to help document the day through photos, videos, and data collection, all of which will be brought together to show a story of the day.

There is no one right way to make the city better. It is the collection of enthusiasm, ideas, and drive that will make the event work.

“There’s a common feeling about Ottawa that is […] when you hear about it, you think it’s sleepy, it’s a government town, but the longer you’re here[…] the more you learn to appreciate what is going on here. Ottawa is just, there’s emerging things happening all the time and there is this culture here where more people are taking it upon themselves to do these interesting projects and so we’re just trying to tap into that and really getting people to participate in this[…] so that we are continually making things a more positive, more connected, cleaner, healthier and all of those things that will lead to an increased quality of life here and inspiring environments; that’s what we’d like to see.”

Check out the #100in1day site to register your own event, volunteer, or just plan out your Saturday in order to try as many activities as possible. You can also follow along on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.