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Cheers to Apt613! Screenshot.

Community Builders: Celebrating Apt613, our region’s premier arts and culture site

By United Way East Ontario on July 15, 2021

Photo: United Way East Ontario.

While COVID-19 has changed the ways we gather, celebrate, and honour one another, it has not changed the way our neighbours step up to support each other in times of crisis.

From making essential grocery trips for immunocompromised neighbours, to making wellness phone call checks for seniors, to helping newcomer families access the support services they need, volunteers have come together when we need them the most.

One year ago, we collaborated with our friends at Apt613 and sent out a call for nominations to celebrate local volunteers who stepped up in this time of need. Since then, we’ve gone on to award over 25 remarkable volunteers who have uplifted their community during COVID-19, showing constant selflessness and care during these unprecedented times.


Read below for a slightly unusual post on Community Builder Apartment613, and check out our other Community Builder posts.


The Apt613 team reacts to finding out the good news on June 13, 2021. Zoom screenshot.

One year after our initial partnership, and as the pandemic continues to press on, we’re proud to recognize Apartment613 with a Community Builder Award! The United Way team surprised Apt613 at their virtual annual birthday celebration, which was attended by volunteer contributors, board members, supporters, and friends. The award was presented by Sarah Onyango, a tireless promoter and champion of African and Caribbean culture and a well-known fixture in Ottawa’s community television and radio scene.

In 2018, Apt613 partnered with United Way to become the exclusive media partner for sharing the stories of the Community Builder Award recipients. As a volunteer-run local media outlet, Apt613 aims to feature as much diversity and interest in Ottawa as possible, but its team is limited by the capacity and resources of their volunteers. By providing a platform to United Way, the local outlet opened up the opportunity for United Way to showcase our work, highlight volunteers, and shine a light on areas of impact in the city that may not have been receiving enough recognition.

Since its inception, Apt613 has relied on its growing positive reputation in the community to rally volunteers and spotlight the best of Ottawa and the region. The hyperlocal blog has shone a light on music shows, the best weekend happenings, and community builders, while offering a platform for innovative organizations to spread their message. Apt613 connects people to their neighbourhoods and cultivates a place where people can learn and talk about exciting people, places, and goings-on.

Since its inception, Apt613 has relied on its growing positive reputation in the community to rally volunteers and spotlight the best of Ottawa and the region. 

As a free platform for the community it serves, Apt613 curates local events and facilitates discussions about Ottawa’s past, present, and future. The site also hosts a job board for arts and culture positions in Ottawa.

And the work Apt613 does has not gone unnoticed. The arts and culture blog won “Best Community News Website” at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards in 2012 and every year from 2016 through 2020.

Additionally, they continue to provide their platform to encourage shopping local safely, to promote engagement in virtual events for local charities and arts organizations, and to highlight individuals and groups who give back to those most in need.

The mission and value of Apt613 has never been more poignant nor necessary than during this past year. Neighbours helping neighbours. Friends supporting friends. Community coming together to ensure people are less isolated, more connected, and can learn about opportunities and social interactions open to them. These acts—and Apt613’s efforts to render them visible—ultimately strengthen the fabric of our city.

Check out the video in the player below from our 6/13 Day party when Apt613 got the news that we were recipients of a Community Builder Award.


Do you know a community builder who has gone above and beyond to support their communities through COVID-19? Our Community Builder Awards program accepts nominations year-round!