Contributed photos. (Above) Residents at the Valleywood 2022 Block Party
For me the word community evokes thoughts of a group of people with common interests and goals, acting as a unit, for the betterment of the group. It is a definition that seems to truly apply to the Caledon community of Valleywood.
Nestled in the distant southwest corner of Caledon, minutes from the Brampton border, residents of Valleywood occasionally feel a little disconnected from the rest of Caledon but, as a community, the internal connections are strong.
Speaking last week with volunteer extraordinaire Sonia Gonzalez D’Alimonte, who moved there in 2011, it became clear that Valleywood is blessed with residents who are going the extra mile to build community. And they also believe in giving back.
Sonia, who does before and after school daycare, is deeply committed and involved, especially in event organizing and pushing out social media. You will probably remember the JSC story on Sonia’s daughter and young entrepreneur Mikaela featured earlier this winter.
The next big event on Sonia’s list is the first-time Hop Into Spring Market on April 1st. It was a series of pop-up driveway events for local crafters and vendors initiated by resident Rosey Kaur in 2022 that was the catalyst for the idea. Sonia had been involved by creating the route map.
This year’s Hop Into Spring Vendors’ Market will be held in the community room at the Margaret Dunn branch of the Caledon Public Library on April 1st from 10AM to 4PM. Donations will be earmarked for Caledon Community Services’ Kidz in Caledon campaign. As well there will be a bottle drive at the event to raise funds for Cassie’s Place.
Two of Sonia’s neighbours – Abhiraj Kumar and Prashant Upreti of Re/Max’s Team AP Real Estate – helped her plan last year’s Block Party. The family-friendly event was held in the parking lot of Lina Marino Park which is a central point in Valleywood. The day featured a local vendors market, an ice cream truck, food vendors, entertainment, a kids’ zone with inflatables and games, and even a dunk tank. It was “a ton of fun” for local residents and raised an impressive $1,050 for Caledon Meals on Wheels. It is an event that the enthusiastic Sonia and her pair of friends are spearheading again for this year in August.
Sonia says that residents Alex Cygal and Krystin Hanna worked hard during the pandemic to organize a Santa Claus Parade in 2020 and 2021. As well, Duncan Seton, with help from Alex and Krystin, arranged a Tree Lighting ceremony in front of firehall #307 for the past three years where the season is launched with hot chocolate and food drive donations.
In addition in October 2022 Alex, who is a long-time resident and also a Re/Max realtor, put together an awesome Hallowe’en Party.
Duncan, known for his sense of humour, has taken over responsibility for the community’s entrance marque. He’s always busy posting funny messaging to give everyone a smile, like “Nice one winter, well-played” after the last big storm, or “RSP Season is here – Rush Spring Please”.
“At the end of the day what I want is to bring community together and support small business” says Sonia. I would say that she and her Valleywood neighbours are well on track.
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