Hamilton has been known for its community engagement, and on June 6, that engagement will be celebrated by the city’s inaugural 100in1Day event sponsored by the urban environmental group, Evergreen.
100in1Day is an international event aimed at civic engagement that unites community groups during one day to participate in small initiatives to spark change. It began in Bogota, Colombia in 2012, when a group of students worked together to bring a handful of events to celebrate their city’s community. They received over 200 event proposals in their first year, and since then 100in1Day has gone international.
Hamiltonians are clearly intrigued by the arrival of 100in1Day, with 80 local “interventions,” or discussions, activities, and initiatives taking place from early in the morning until late into the night. Most excited is Evergreen Hamilton’s projects coordinator, Jay Carter. “I was asked if it was something I’d be interested in taking on, and I couldn’t have wanted it more. It was just so incredible seeing what was being done in cities around the world,” he said.
“This is a way to bring everyone together in a day of unified action.”
Carter described the wide range of activities that will run throughout the day, from art installations and chalk walks, dance parties and yoga in city parks, to a puppy kissing booth. “The Hamilton Community Land Trust is creating a whole bunch of stickers called ‘I wish this was’ with a blank [underneath] and they’re inviting people to post their own on vacant lots or derelict buildings to get people thinking about what things could be,” Carter said. No matter how small, “the goal of 100in1Day is to inspire lasting change through one-day, temporary acts or installations,” he explained.
Launching the project has come with its fair share of difficulties. While there were 100in1Day events in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver last year, this will be the first time the project is being undertaken in Hamilton, and in comparison to other cities, the project did not get the green light until much later. Carter explained, “it takes a while to show people that it’s for anyone and everyone in as much capacity as they would like, anywhere in the city…once people get that, it’s like a whole new light switch goes off. They start thinking about all these things they can do.”
In preparation for 100in1Day, Evergreen has run community workshops to help Hamiltonians generate ideas for their own interventions based on changes they would like to see in their city or neighbourhood. “The feedback we get from the workshops has just been so inspiring. One woman said she felt like a 17-year-old again, with more energy and inspiration than she’s felt in many years,” Carter said proudly.
“It’s been so empowering to see this many people get so excited and feel so empowered themselves.”