Community Spotlight: St. James Town Storeys

A podcast about building community in Canada’s most diverse neighbourhood

In December 2019, Darryl D’Souza and Lisa Kowalchuk had the idea to make a podcast about St. James Town. Unlike the neighbourhood’s often disheartening features in local news, their podcast would highlight the humanity of St James Town by hosting the passionate leaders, quiet connectors, and resilient residents that make up the community.

“We wanted to have a way of getting people’s stories told to one another as well as have their stories heard in the broader city and even beyond,” Lisa told us in an interview, “Stories about how people connect with one another, how they help each other… those are spots of invisible ingenuity, compassion, and empathy that people have in [St. James Town].” 

In the face of the pandemic, Lisa and Darryl pushed forward with their idea and focused this season of the podcast on community responses to the novel coronavirus, naming it, Coping with COVID in St. James Town. 

St. James Town Storeys has now released its five-episode first season, featuring stories on nutrition, mental health, human generosity, and the community stepping up to help each other. “It’s the stories of people,” Darryl said, “that is the heart.” 

Lisa and Darryl’s favourite stories include a resident making masks for her neighbours and an organization making and delivering free meals to residents in need. 

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