Crestwood's younger sibling, that's what some might like to call Bonnie Doon Community League (BDCL), but we believe the area neighbours knew a smart concept when they saw it -- namely the formation of a community league to better the community.
Bonnie Doon formed its league in 1918, one year after Crestwood, which was the first community league in Edmonton.
BDCL was also one of the nine original leagues who founded the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) in 1921 -- a collective board to be the voice of all leagues at the city table, provide support to leagues and ensure that the grassroots concept of neighbours working together for the betterment of all would continue to flourish.
The area we know as Bonnie Doon was originally owned by Alberta's first premier, A.C. Rutherford and when he subdivided the land in 1906, he gave a nod to his Scottish heritage calling it Bonnie Doon.
Some of that feisty Scottish spirit must have imprinted itself on the folks of Bonnie Doon, because this league wasn't afraid to take on anyone, including the Canadian government, to ensure its community got what it needed -- namely a post office.
Ensuring the community had running water, sewers and better roads weren't the only things the league was succeeding in during its early years. The members also built a skating rink in 1922, followed by a second one in 1925.
Unfortunately, it would take until 1953 before BDCL opened the doors of its own community hall. It wasn't for lack of trying; gale-force winds destroyed the first two attempts at constructing a hall by dedicated community volunteers and only when some local construction companies stepped in to help, did the hall finally get built.
We must remember that at the time, government grants were unheard and league membership dues were very minimal.
Any money raised for the building of projects were through old-fashioned teas, dances, carnivals, variety shows, even pass-the-hat fundraisers and the work was done by volunteers. We can only imagine what a celebration it was to cut the ribbon on a rink or in this case, the Bonnie Doon Community Hall, when it was finally completed.
Today, it's about reconnecting neighbours.
"We're big fans of the Abundant Community Initiative (ACI)," said Mark Gordon, president of BDCL.
"We want to get back to the grassroots of what communities are all about -neighbours helping neighbours and creating the programming that the people in our community want.
"Participating in the ACI really helps us in identifying the wish list and facilitate the connection between neighbours."
Most recently this win-t er, it was connecting neighbourhood kids who wanted to earn a few dollars with seniors looking for help maintaining their sidewalks and yards.
Another need was babysitters. Thanks to a few generous local businesses, Bonnie Doon was able to host a babysitting course, which in turn, connected potential baby sitters with young families in the community.
Bonnie Doon is diverse in its demographic and interests. Along with a number of sport and fitness programs, through the league, community gardeners will be treated to a pre-spring social that will feature information on roses, landscaping and native plant species.
This last topic will come in handy, when the league gets together with sister leagues, Ritchie and Hazeldean to do the annual Mill Creek Ravine Clean Up on May 3.
Two of the biggest projects the league has on the go at the moment is collecting stories and photos for a historical project on the community, plus fundraising to re-build the community rink.
"Our rink is rotting and we need to rebuild," said Gordon. "We've got three major fundraising events coming up, including a community-wide garage sale.
"I like the idea of this garage sale as it's the perfect way for neighbours to get to know each other, have a little fun and raise some funds for our rink."
Bonnie Doon is a busy league with a lot to offer its community; if you would like to learn more, visit the league's website at www.bonniedoon.ca -By the EFCL STAFF