It is almost surreal to think that I'm writing this letter to you now. After years of hard work and cooperation, and so many incremental improvements (many of which were talked about in this Contact newsletter), the Plenty Canada CampUs is almost ready to be unveiled.
Really, I could act even more surprised that we pulled this off, but that would imply that our success was due to luck. In actuality, it was due to nothing more than the combined determination and cooperation of many exceptional people -- including people like you, our donors and supporters! It might be a cliche, but hard work really does pay off.
For those of you not already in the know about how this project came to be, at this point it might be valuable to give you a bit of a “crash course” on the CampUs -- its origins, its development, and our plans for its future.
Given that we had a second building on our property which was rarely used, and a host of workshops and other community outreach activities that could do with an expansion, we thought it would be a great idea to transform that building into a space dedicated to holding these workshops, increasing Plenty Canada’s capacity to act as a hub for Indigenous and environmentalist activities in the region. Of course, this plan would have never gotten off the ground without the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario -- a thousand thanks to them for believing in the potential of this project.
We thought that a gradual approach would work best, so we set out to work on adding incremental, environmentally sustainable improvements to Plenty Canada’s HQ: environmentally sustainable windows and siding, new sustainable heating / water systems, newly furnished rooms for classes and lodgings, and much more. I hope you'll stick around to read some of the following articles, which will go into more detail about the specifics. As of right now, the CampUs is ready for use, but will continue to evolve, adding even more features such as a kitchen area for Indigenous cultural food projects.
As a whole, the building is an expression, a culmination, of both Plenty Canada's core values and the principle of “Two-Eyed Seeing” — using Indigenous knowledge and Western science to solve societal issues. Using scientifically honed building materials and additions, we've created a space that will ideally service as a meeting ground for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples from all walks of life, a space where they can educate themselves on the work required for true reconciliation and environmental sustainability, and to use this education to better the world around them.
Thank you again for cheering us on throughout this entire process. Please enjoy the following issue of our newsletter—a “victory lap” of sorts—and look forward to future updates on the space as it grows to even greater heights. In particular, we will be holding an Open House event in the fall, so please stay tuned to your email and Plenty Canada’s website!
Chi Miigwech. Niá:wen. Merci. Thank you.
Larry McDermott, Executive Director, Plenty Canada