Shape DTK 2020

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By condoculture

Meet Kayla - Condo Culture employee, Kaufman resident and Kitchener lover. This is her recount of last week’s Shape DTK 2020 event….

“Positive change doesn’t just happen, it happens because people make it happen.”

“They didn’t wait for the downtown to change around them, instead they OWN IT!”

As I walked into THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener last week, these words were displayed on brightly coloured banners draped from the 2nd floor balcony. The room, which was filled with local entrepreneurs, influencers and city residents, was buzzing with energy. Before the forum even started, I could feel the energy flooding the space. What seemed to be the entire #DTK community was in attendance for this brainstorming event to Shape DTK 2020. The event sold out of its’ 200-member guest list and surpassed every expectation I had. As a recent newcomer to the downtown Kitchener community, I can honestly say I’ve never felt more welcomed or at home than I do here. When I first moved to the region, I would try to explore cool local bars and coffee shops on my own and never once felt like I was out of place. Every business owner treated me as a local, and it didn’t take long before I felt like one! Growing up in Toronto, I never experienced the feeling of walking into a shop or restaurant and being on a first-name basis with the owner. On top of that, a vast majority of residents here are so passionate about supporting the local community and carrying sustainable products, and that’s the kind of community I want to be a part of. So, when I received an invitation to Shape DTK 2020, it was a no brainer to attend. After coordinating with some of the new friends I had made in the community since moving here, I registered to attend the event. None of us knew what to expect, but when we got there, we were all blown away. THEMUSEUM was packed! Everywhere I looked, I began to recognize people I knew. I saw Jordan from Legacy Greens , where I buy my produce, and Chelsea from The Golden Mean , which is now my go-to for health supplements in DTK. The owners of Rhapsody Bar , Matter of Taste , Open Sesame and Grand Trunk Saloon were also in attendance, along with members of the city council and our trusted mayor Berry Vrbanovic. After an hour of mingling, we all sat down at our assigned tables and I took my seat nestled between Jenna , the Brand and Communications Manager for THEMUSEUM, and Bob Egan, long-time band member of Blue Rodeo and newly appointed Manager of Community Connections and Development for the Kitchener Public Library. Also at our table was Dawne , the co-founder of Snap’d KW , an awesome publication showcasing the happenings in the KW region, as well as many other influential members of the community. We spent the next 2 hours writing down what we loved about the DTK community, brainstorming how to make it the best downtown it could be by 2020, and laughing with each other like we had all been friends for years. The entire event was a reflection of downtown Kitchener in itself: neighbours coming together to share their insights, struggles and successes for the benefit of the community as a whole. Looking around the room and seeing the enthusiasm, smiles and connections around me, I felt more at home than I have in any other city I’ve lived in (and there’s been a few!). That is why I am beyond proud to call DTK my home. I’m a resident of DTK, and I OWN IT! And I’m not the only one who feels this way! Check out some of the community posts on the twitter-sphere…

This city and specifically @DTKitchener has grown and changed so much. Can't wait to see wear 2020 looks like #shapedtk

Looking forward to the future!! #SHAPEDTK @DTKitchener shaping DTK 2020. Sold out! Proud to be part of this amazing event! @snapdKW


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