It was a chance to meet the neighbours at an event organized by the O’Leary library at the town complex on Nov. 28. 

This is the second time the O’Leary Public Library has organized their Meet Your Neighbour Community Night.

“The Filipino generously brought all the food for that, and it was amazing, and they did a presentation on the Philippines,” said Branch Technician Corinne Peters. 

Between 40-50 people attended last year’s event.

“It was a really nice mix of people,” she said. “Everybody had a really good time.”

This year, due to some of the local fish plants still operating,  there was more local individuals than newcomers attending the event.

But everyone attending the evening was encouraged to bring a dish to share for a potluck. 

“I thought it’s not fair to get the people from away to make food, everybody should be bringing food,” said Ms Peters. 

One person who attended the 2018 event was Eileen Conway-Martin.

“It was one of my best nights of my life,” she told the crowd at the top of the evening. “Having people from different places, across Canada, from different countries, is the best thing that ever happened to O’Leary and West Prince.”

That’s why the O’Leary Chair of Friends of the Library Committee was eager to help organize the 2019 event with assistance from Scott Smith, the West Prince Community Navigator and O’Leary councillor Judy MacIsaac.

Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Ms Conway-Martin grew up in an area with a diverse group of cultures and grew up embracing those different cultures.

She was happy to help organize this year’s event to do her part to make people feel welcomed.

“I was very excited to have so many different cultures move into O’Leary,” she said. “Just to see the blending so many different people.... To see how wonderful they welcomed people from the Philippines, into their neighbourhoods, into their workplaces - to me there’s nothing better than that kind of generousness.”

In the end, it’s all about community, said Ms Conway-Martin.

“We just want to be there for one another,” she said.

It was an evening of food, music and friendly conversations among neighbours. A world map on a wall allowed those attending to place a sticky note indicating where they were from originally. There was notes from the Philippines, Vietnam, Germany and a few others. 

“Everybody often think newcomers are from another country, but there’s a lot of people who have moved into the area from other parts of Canada,” said Ms Peters. “People would look at this event and say ‘Oh, is it just for people from away’ and I would say, ‘No, it’s meet your neighbour, so it’s for everybody’.”

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