Community Stories


HC Link collected community stories from across the province to identify and showcase the great work and experiences of community groups and organizations in Ontario as well as support mutual learning in the area of healthy communities. Entries in our community story bank are listed below. Follow the links to read the full story.

Community Story Bank

HaliburtonSupporting Local Food Groups in Haliburton County

An HC Link consultant worked with a number of groups in Haliburton County over recent years, playing the role of community animator to a broad range of local food associations. Local food advocate, Angel Taylor, shares her perspective on the support HC Link provided and the impact it had on her community.

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LHION3bWorking Together to Support Collaborative Partnerships

The Lawrence Heights Inter-Organization Network (LHION) is a coalition in Toronto that strives to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of neighbourhood governance structures and to increase resident participation and empowerment. For three years, LHION and HC Link have worked together on a variety of activities to exchange knowledge and build capacity in ways that supported both HC Link’s province-wide mandate, and LHION’s very local mission.

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ValeriesStoryPicHC Link Supports Inclusive Practices & Partnerships in Ottawa

Valerie Assoi from South East Ottawa Community Health Centre shares how HC Link's bilingual consultants supported the collaboration of local partners in her community to launch the Collaborative Leadership in Practice (CLiP) project. Along the way, the community improved connections with the French-speaking community of Ottawa. 

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TayValleySupporting Progressive Strategic Directions in Tay Valley Township

In 2017, Tay Valley Township worked with HC Link consultant, Jeff Kohl to design a five-year strategic plan. Council opted to take a healthy communities approach and Jeff worked with them to explore the issues, identify priorities and develop the plan. The result: Tay Valley Township’s 2017-2022 strategic plan, very progressive for a rural community, was formally adopted to guide the Township.

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DSC 0735Supporting Collaboration and ‘Destiny Changing’ in Timiskaming

Every two years, HC Link works with local community organizations and groups to plan and co-host regional gatherings across the province that meet the needs of each region’s communities. This story highlights the experience and results of planning and co-hosting a successful community-building event in the region of Timiskaming, together with the District of Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board and the City of Temiskaming Shores.

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Nutrtion Education DPNCHC crop Cooking and nutrition programs for male youth: A recipe for success

In 2013, a Toronto-based group of registered dietitians and health promoters envisioned a cooking and nutrition program for boys ages 13 to 18. The result was the Guys Can Cook! project, which provided a skill-building program in a peer-supported, interactive environment. Three years of partnership and collaboration between the interdisciplinary team has resulted in a complex and flavourful dish and a number of key learnings. This story presents their recipe for success for implementing a cooking and nutrition program for male youth.

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1297746905110 ORIGINALCreating a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Renfrew County

In 2014, the Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network received support from HC Link to help design and facilitate a community forum on child poverty and support creation of an action plan. About a year later, Lyn reconnected with HC Link for further assistance with another community forum to start work on the creation of a county-wide poverty reduction strategy.

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Creating a Network to Support & Promote Breastfeeding in Toronto

In 2015, the Toronto Breastfeeding/Baby-Friendly Initiative Network was established to support a culture that promotes breastfeeding in Toronto. In this story, Jill Mather from Toronto Public Health talks about Network’s creation and how HC Link supported its inception by providing key information and facilitation support in the early days.

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Smile and Say Hello: You Belong - Oxford County’s Story

Jenilee Cook of the Woodstock and Area Community Health Centre talks about Oxford County’s Smile and Say Hello movement. This grassroots community-led initiative was created to increase community belonging by providing people with simple tools to help the community see each other and acknowledge that everyone matters. 

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Kirkland Lake and Area Come Together to Promote Active Living

As part of its efforts to make “active living the easy choice for everyone”, the Timiskaming Health Unit decided to hold a forum that would bring community members together to identify their needs, perspectives and ideas related to physical activity and active living opportunities in the community. They contacted HC Link for support in planning and facilitating the event.


Talk the Walk: Engaging Municipal Leaders to Support Walkability in Thunder Bay

In the summer of 2014, with a municipal election coming up in the fall, Thunder Bay’s Walkability Committee launched an advocacy campaign with the goal of making councillors and the public aware of the importance of walkability. The campaign involved several components, including surveying all of the municipal candidates, educating the public, collecting community feedback, and hosting an event with City Council.


signing petitions at market
An HC Link conversation with... The Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable

HC Link spoke with the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable about its Food Spaces, Vibrant Places initiative - a community-based campaign that ran in 2014 to support the development of more temporary farmers' markets and community gardens within walking and transit access of where people live, work, and play in Waterloo Region.



Collaborative policy work provides backdrop for lasting community partnership in Peterborough County

What began as a working group of staff from nine Peterborough City and County municipalities to provide affordable and accessible recreation programs residents, evolved into an ongoing community partnership that offers opportunity for collaboration and networking and has given members a stronger collective voice.

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actionpositiveThe value of investing time and energy to assess key programs

HC Link recently worked with Action positive: VIH/sida, a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to supporting French-speaking people and communities in Toronto who are living with, affected by or at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. In this interview, they explain the value of evaluating programs.

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arch logo blueHC Link Supports Provincial Legal Aid Clinic's Community Outreach Efforts

ARCH Disability Law Centre, a specialty community legal clinic dedicated to defending and advancing equality rights of people with disabilities in Ontario, was introduced to HC Link by attending one of its free webinars. Since 2012, ARCH has benefitted from a number of HC Link services.

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Addressing Food Security in the City of Barrie – We need to work together!

In March 2013, local stakeholders gathered at Barrie’s Southshore Community Centre to participate in a full-day workshop, facilitated by HC Link consultant, Lisa Tolentino. The goal of the workshop was to increase local food security and a sustainable food system through collaborative community action.

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seniorsilhouetteFalls Prevention - Intersectoral Collaboration in Action

The Middlesex-London Falls Prevention Collaborative is a newly formed committee brought together to work collaboratively to plan, implement and evaluate falls prevention activities across the care continuum in Middlesex-London. The Collaborative brings together a diverse group of individuals representing different sectors. Several months into its work, the Collaborative approached HC Link to request support with planning and facilitation of its work.

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Lanark WB exercise ballsSeniors Fitness Classes Exercise More than Physical Health

Since 2000, North Lanark Community Health Centre has run a highly popular and successful peer-led fitness program for seniors. While on the surface, it looks like fitness classes, digging deeper will reveal great examples of social support and inclusion which is tremendously important for many seniors in this very remote rural area with high levels of poverty and social isolation.

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RideauLakes davis lock rowingAffordable, Accessible Recreation in the Township of Rideau Lakes

The Township of Rideau Lakes' journey toward the development of a policy to address affordable, accessible recreation started with the creation of a multi-sectoral Task Force. Even after completing the policy work, the group continues to work together to promote recreation opportunities within the community.

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FrenchForumVideoThumbOntario's Francophone Communities

In early 2013, HC Link held a series of French forums across Ontario to provide a shared space to discuss and reflect on the needs of Francophone communities in Ontario. Two short video stories from the Chatham-Kent and Penetanguishene forums, present the reality of the Francophone community in these regions and throughout province.

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WaterlooCommunityStoryCity of Waterloo's Safe and Healthy Communities Advisory Committee

In the summer of 2008, the City of Waterloo established its first Safe and Healthy Communities Advisory Committee. With a focus on "livability, neighbourhood capacity building and inclusion", the Committee has brought ahealthy community focus to the planning processes of the City of Waterloo.

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TIC LOGO 1Interactive Community Tours of Témiskaming

Interactive Community Tours of Témiskaming is a community project that integrates mobile technology, culture, outdoor fitness and community involvement. It is an example of creativity, collaboration and innovation that uses modern technology to fulfill a community need while taking advantage of its cultural and environmental assets.

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HC Link supports FrancoQueer plan new areas of focus

In a recent meeting with Jean-Rock Boutin, the founder of FrancoQueer, we discussed the recent progress made by the organization this fall, after FrancoQueer approached HC Link for a consultation on how the organization could structure activities to fulfill its strategic plan.

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RMEFNOcropRealignment Plan for Health Services: RMEFNO Stands up to the Challenge

In June 2012, a wave of unease spread across Northern Ontario as Francophone communities wondered if their French language health services were at risk. These services were threatened by the application of the North East LHIN realignment plan in two districts. Approximately 40 agencies in the district of Cochrane, which have their own governance scheme, were to be restructured into five clusters. In Temiskaming, 20 agencies, including one Francophone agency, were being merged under a single cluster. With this action, these Francophone agencies had lost governance over their own affairs!

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communitybldgConnecting the Dots in the Thunder Bay District

Our Healthy Communities approach evolved and grew out of our local Take Heart Partnership. A steering committee was formed to guide the 2010/11 planning and community consultation process required for the Ministry's Healthy Communities‐Partnership Stream. From the start, we agreed we would focus on local needs and that our scope and vision would extend beyond the Ministry's six priority areas.

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NIppissing Ouest EstelleEngaging Francophone Community Leaders for Strong, Resilient & Healthy Communities: West Nipissing & Sudbury East

During 2009 and 2010, members of the Verner and Noëlville Villages‐amis des aînés committee held many consultations to develop an action plan to support their Village‐amis des aînés initiatives in both Noëlville and Verner. Once the action plan was created, they found themselves stuck on how to implement the plan. While it contained many great ideas, there were few people to help implement the plan. The challenge was daunting.... 

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active transpo2Building an Active Transportation Plan for the Township of Georgian Bay

There is increasing awareness of the health, social, economic and environmental benefits associated with active transportation. There is also movement toward creating complete communities that encourage human‐powered transportation such as walking and cycling as part of everyday activity. A healthy community provides opportunies for sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes that are inviting, accessible, safe, and connected...


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Sioux lookoutSioux Lookout Leads the Way to a Healthier Community

Statistics show that people in Northwestern Ontario are more likely than in any other part of the province, to drink alcohol to excess, binge drink, smoke cigarettes and cannabis or use prescription opioids non‐medically. In November 2011, the Northwestern Health Unit brought together mental health and substance abuse service providers, as well as other organizations and community members, together to explore and discuss the impact substance misuse has on their community with the guidance of HC Link consultant Cindee Richardson....

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buildrelationshipsConnecting in Lanark, Leeds & Grenville

The Healthy Community Partnership strategy has provided a platorm for the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Healthy Communities Partnership "to connect and collaborate" across their tri‐county area.  Since October of 2010, I have worked with a core group of members to plan and orchestrate an extensive community consultation and engagement process....

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