Join the Bishop Hellmuth Neighbourhood Association
What is a neighbourhood?
For a starter, what’s a neighbourhood? Obviously, it’s a collection of physical objects: houses, streets, trees, parks and stores. But the real importance of a neighbourhood is that it’s composed of neighbours. Neighbourhoods are nothing without neighbours. It’s not the buildings per se that make a neighbourhood. It’s the neighbours. It’s the neighbourliness1.
What is a neighbour?
Neighbours are not simply people who live in physical proximity. Neighbours are people who are acquainted with each other, at least by sight. Neighbours have some human connection. Neighbours recognize and acknowledge each other, if only with the nod of a head. Neighbours have some sense of responsibility to each other. Neighbours are not anonymous. Neighbours may share a glass of wine on each other’s front porch, or a street party, or feed each other’s cats when they go on vacation.
What is the Bishop Hellmuth Heritage District?
The Bishop Hellmuth Heritage Conservation District was created in 2003. The district is named after Bishop Isaac Hellmuth, a leading early citizen of London and the founder of the University of Western Ontario. It was also the site of the Hellmuth Boys’ College, built under his direction.
The district was largely built up during a short period of time (1895-1910) and predominantly in the Queen Anne Revival style of architecture – a flamboyant and decorative style that represented the optimism and energy of a growing and prosperous city in the early 1900s. This provides a unique architectural integrity to the district. The historic character of the district has changed little over 100 years. Two churches, St. John the Evangelist on St. James Street and the New St. James Presbyterian Church on Oxford Street provide architectural focal points for the district. There are approximately 190 properties in the area.
What are the Boundaries of the Heritage District?
The Bishop Hellmuth Heritage Conservation District is located on the north side of Oxford Street E. between Wellington and Waterloo, on both sides of Waterloo Street between Oxford and Grosvenor, on both sides of Grosvenor Street between Waterloo and Wellington and on both sides of Wellington Street generally between Grosvenor and Oxford Street E. Within this boundary it includes blocks along St. James Street and Hellmuth Avenue.
What is the Bishop Hellmuth Neighbourhood Association?
The Bishop Hellmuth Community Association works to advance the interests of our heritage neighbourhood. Our activities include maintaining our heritage characteristics, interacting with city planners and property developers, as well as planning social and community events.
What Kinds of Things has the BHNA Accomplished?
In addition to playing a foundational role in the Heritage Designation for the Bishop Hellmuth neighbourhood, the BHNA also played a leading role in the development of Heritage Conservation Guidelines for the Heritage District. The Guidelines, in association with the Heritage District Plan prepared by Nicholas Hill in 2001, provides a resource for property owners to assist in the conservation of their heritage buildings. The guidelines are broken into two chapters; one which defines the architectural style of the buildings within the district, and the second that provides building conservation resources relating to the unique elements of the buildings such as brick and stone, roof and flashings and porches. These design guidelines can be found on the BHNA website. At the same time as the Heritage District was being established, numerous property owners, with the assistance of the BHNA, sought and obtained Heritage Designation of their individual homes.
Significant Planning Achievements
The BHNA has also “fought” and “won” some significant planning battles. Plans for a 6 story hi-rise at the foot of Hellmuth were defeated. The new Rexall was designed along modern urban planning principles (e.g. parking behind the building), and with an homage to the history of the neighbourhood. The Shell station also employed a much more friendly design than the usual suburban gas station, employed reduced lighting, and provides a welcome sign to the neighbourhood.
What is the BHNA Up To Right Now?
The Association is actively pursuing neighbourhood-building and improvement initiatives. These include the adoption of Doidge Park, with a view to enhancing the park for the benefit of the neighbourhood; a variety of beautification initiatives; traffic calming measures; safety audits with the cooperation of the City, and invigoration of a Neighbourhood Watch; enhanced social activities to encourage increased interaction of neighbours; lane improvement initiatives, and more!
What Kind of Social Events Does the BHNA Support?
The Association believes that social interaction is fundamental to neighbourhood building—and it’s fun! In addition to the long-standing traditional Canada Day street party, the Association will host movie nights, Family Day street hockey, porch concerts, and other events at which you and your family can soak up the neighbourhood atmosphere.
What Ongoing Neighbourhood Initiatives Does the BHNA Conduct?
The BHNA is comprised of an Executive that meets regularly to discuss current initiatives and developments affecting our neighbourhood, and to develop strategies to improve our neighbourhood. Much of the work of the BHNA is accomplished through volunteer committees. These committees attend to matters including traffic calming, beautification, park and street maintenance in association with the City, laneway maintenance, neighbourhood watch, rental property relations, and youth involvement.
How Do We Communicate?
The BHNA maintains a website located at www.bishophellmuth.org, a Facebook page, an Instagram, and a hard copy and electronic Newsletter. These communication channels are intended to keep residents informed of the developments within the neighbourhood and City. The BHNA also has plans to develop a digital directory of residents, in order to further facilitate awareness and communication amongst neighbours.
Why should I join the BHNA?
We believe that BHNA is one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in London. We boast a decades long legacy of consistent community-building activity and neighbourhood improvement, along with effective engagement with the city, local land owners and developers, and other neighbourhood associations. Your membership makes this possible.
A strong neighbourhood is made possible in great part by a strong neighbourhood association. When people search for a special place to live and raise their families, it is about more than the single house they find. It is about what makes the community unique. We offer that in the Bishop Hellmuth Heritage District— a truly unique and diverse community with excellent schools, strong real estate values, convenience to key amenities, and lots of activities for all ages. Part of that legacy is due to the Bishop Hellmuth Neighbourhood Association.
You should join so you do your part to build on this legacy.
A Sense of Belonging
Membership in the BHNA gives you a sense of belonging. It connects you in a meaningful way to an organization devoted to the safety, security and improvement of the place you’ve chosen to live.
Supporting the Efforts of the Association
Your membership fees are used only for purposes of the BHNA, and go a long way to ensuring the fulfillment of our goals and objects, which are discussed more fully elsewhere in this Flyer.
Having a Voice in Your Neighbourhood
Membership in the BHNA allows you to attend and vote at meetings of the Association. It also allows you to stand for nomination to the Executive of the Association.
How much does it cost to join?
Annual membership in the Association is a mere $20 per household.
I Don’t Live in the Heritage District But Can I Join the Association?
Non-residents of the Heritage District may join, and receive all of the benefits of membership, but may not vote at general meetings of the Association.
What are Some of the Other Benefits of Membership?
Reduced fees to Association events for BHNA members will go a long way to offsetting the cost of a membership.
Association members enjoy front of line privileges at community events, including front row movie seating.
The Association is working with neighbourhood merchants to negotiate discounts for members of the Association for a variety of purchases.
Where Does My Money Go?
- Association dues go toward various social and civic projects that make the Bishop Hellmuth neighbourhood feel like a cohesive, welcoming place to live. Some specifics include:
- Neighbourhood communications like online resources such as our website, our Facebook page, our Newsletter, Instagram posts, and other community outlets;
- Annual neighbourhood events such as the Canada Day street party, Movie Nights in the Park, Family Day, and other events;
- Signature BHNA signage with informational signage throughout the community;
- Ongoing landscaping and beautification of the streetscape and providing leadership on improvements to Doidge Park;
- Facilitating new ventures to make the community stronger such as the adoption of streets within the neighbourhood, safety audits in cooperation with the City, enhanced lane supervision and maintenance; and,
- Providing effective representation for the community to the City of London and our local councillor to advocate for the safety and improvement of our neighbourhood.
None of this would be possible without membership dues and the many volunteers who make these things and so many others happen.
Our membership rates are a bargain when compared to the value received in kind, not to mention the work that goes into the Association and all of our year-round and year-after-year activities for a neighbourhood of this size.
Please join us today and become a fully engaged member of the Bishop Hellmuth Neighbourhood Association.
How do I join?
You can join the BHNA by completing the Membership Form.
1. These definitions are taken from David Sucher’s book City Comforts: How to Build an Urban Village, published by City Comforts Inc., Seattle, and have been adopted by the BHNA.