That’s how many of us felt after the ‘Taste of Canalside‘ event celebrating film, food and community stories (and the start of Spring!).

The Everyday on Canalside project, together with the Canalside Residents’ Association (CRA), held the party on March 28 at the Whitmore Community Centre as a way to celebrate the people and stories that had been part of the project over the year. Over 50 people braved the cold to join us for food, games and storytelling.

There was food shared—people brought homemade cookies, cakes and hummus!—and a barbq (special thanks to Amrit Bhachu from the Waterhouse Restaurant for cooking for us). The CRA had us in stitches with their pub quiz featuring global knowledge as well as identifying baby pictures of some of the residents. Ping pong, facepainting, storytelling and cake kept the kids busy.

We exhibited portraits from the Humans of Canalside Storybooth and invited participants to pin stories on the community map that was started with the Golden Age Club. And we also screened clips from films that have been made on or about Canalside— a film on the Haggerston Food Co-op from 1973, Building Blocks (facilitated by Shane Solanki with the Youth of Haggerston), and Meantime (by Mike Leigh) that was filmed in and around Bryant Court.

And then the highlight of the evening—the Canalside Film Trail featuring stories by and about residents. About 20 people joined us on the tour where we walked to 4 different spots on Canalside screening portraits, GIFs and short films produced with residents that participated in Humans of Canalside.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming and screening a photo series by Michael Donald, a photographer that spent four years (2000-2004) documenting Whitmore Estate’s Longbow House before and after it was torn down in a project called “All Things Must Pass.” It was so nice to be able to connect the current stories with images of before regeneration.

Perhaps the best thing about the tour were the residents that led us sharing their stories along the way. Robin Hawkes, former Regeneration Manager, explained some of context around the Canalside regeneration as well as the debate about the Wilmore Gardens pathway; Michael Donald spoke about photographing Longbow House; Chris Levack ; Terry Downey made us laugh with his local pub history; Lauren Collins highlighted the importance of the regeneration engagement process that involved residents in deciding on details like trees and windows; and, Michael White ended with an anecdote about his neighbours that demonstrated why he loved living here. Though not on the original schedule, Sennur Sadi and Jerry Piper also jumped in with their own stories and helped make the tour even more interactive.

Ending the evening, we felt like we had reached a milestone and celebrated the close of an important phase of the project. We were really happy to be able to share this event with residents and the Canalside Residents’ Association that have become such valuable partners of the project.

Thanks to Evy Samuelsson (Pucksdotter Productions) who kindly offered to join us and is producing a radio podcast of the tour which we will share shortly along with some video clips. And also thanks to our volunteers—Sophie Mak-Schram, Marielle Uhalde and Eloise Maland.

This event was generally supported through the Community First Neighbourhood Matched Fund programme administered by the Community Development Foundation for the Office for Civil Society.

Pictures above and below © Marcia Chandra.