Members of the Pacific Gardens community are a diverse and eclectic bunch, with a wide variety of interests. Here are some of them:
Dan Parker and Myriam Verzat
Our four-year-old son loves Pacific Gardens! He gets to enjoy playing outside in the huge backyard with a trampoline, sandbox and shared toys. We often go for adventures in the forest next to our property. Indoors he loves to use the playroom, the art room, the music room and the atrium with his friends. He has a dozen other children as neighbours, some of whom are like siblings and cousins for him.
He’s quite fussy when it comes to babysitters, but we have several seasoned grandparents who step in to take care of him when we want to go out or take a break from parenting. His favourite weekly activity is definitely the potluck, where he gets to try all sorts of food – and desserts (if he eats his veggies). Since we firmly believe that it takes a village to raise a child, we’re so grateful to live in this cohousing community. Parenting seems so much easier with so much support and so many activities… we can’t imagine doing it on our own anymore!
Doug and Alea
Doug, Alea, and Ajax (five years old) joined the Pacific Gardens community in January of 2019. This family likes to have good laughs over good food with good people and rarely miss a Thursday potluck. Thrilled to be back in Nanaimo (Alea and Ajax were born here), all three of them are less than thrilled to be a full-time working family after a few lucky years in Victoria with Alea and Ajax playing at home full-time.
We are passionate about our involvement in life at Pacific Gardens and are so grateful to be lucky enough to have the opportunity to cultivate meaningful connections with our neighbours because of the way the spaces in the building have been designed and the commitment of its residents to community. We are warmed and heartened by the commonplace connections of daily interactions with neighbours outside of our small family unit of three. How lucky we are to be here!
We are thrilled to be part of this community. We have enjoyed making connections with everyone, and being part of an active and supportive neighbourhood. Our family is interested in all kinds of things, particularly things we don’t know much about.
We like travelling and have taken many road trips, and have hosted 12 international students in order to bring the world home. Three of our children are in French immersion, and one is homeschooling high school. Our family values are openness, discussion, and involvement. We moved here to build community and connection, and have a wider number of voices in our lives. Coming to Pacific Gardens was an abrupt adjustment in simplification, going from a 2700 square-foot house to a 1500-square foot townhouse!
One of the joys of living at Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community is the children. They infuse our lives with an extra level of energy, curiosity, creativity and, frankly, love. It’s touching to answer my door and find a three-year-old standing there with a portrait of me that he has just drawn.
Cohousing is a model that combines the best of the modern and traditional worlds. A cohousing community can be in the middle of a city, enjoying first world conveniences. Yet that is softened by opportunities for social interaction – community meals, house concerts, reading stories to young children. I also find it meaningful to have a chance to communicate more intimately. For example, a Dream Group recently was started at Pacific Gardens. The sharing that has taken place in that group has felt profound to me. And let’s not forget tool libraries. A source of liberation for me has been ditching my iron and ironing board. It’s nice to know that, on the rare occasion that I do need an iron, there is a community one that I can use.
Jean-Marie Russell and James Chamberlain
We’ve transitioned easily to life in Nanaimo after working for decades in Vancouver. As recent retirees, we enjoy the laid back atmosphere of this town and the generosity of our new neighbours. Random acts of kindness often happen here… homemade cookies outside our door; sharing of recipes or that missing ingredient when making a meal for neighbours. Our main reason for moving to cohousing was to live in a multigenerational community and be connected to the joyfulness of children’s lives. We couldn’t be more pleased with our choice! As newcomers to the island, we are spending our newfound leisure time: gardening, biking, snowboarding, scuba diving, exploring the island and learning Spanish. Jean-Marie grew up in a small town in Northern Québec and James was raised on a farm. Living here on 4 acres feels like “returning to our small town roots” while still enjoying all the amenities of a modern city that is just a quick hop away from the mainland.
Ron and Frances
When Ron and I decided to move from Ottawa to the West Coast to be closer to family, we knew we would be downsizing to a community where we could live in place as we got older.
We love Pacific Gardens for many reasons. It is multigenerational, so we get to enjoy and connect with young families and children. It is a beautiful building on a wonderful property where people have a commitment to promoting the natural world.
Ron never runs out of ideas for projects and things to do. We love the idea of helping to build a community that shares our values. The private spaces give us all the room we need, and the public spaces offer daily one-on-one interactions and great fun activities for all of us to join in.
We love our neighbours and feel so lucky to be here!