Calgary woman lights up downtown community with decorated birdhouses and planters
After living in Calgary’s downtown west end for more than a decade, community member Christine Bolcsfoldy decided it was time to spruce up her street.
“I want to make my home a nice place. And over the last few years it’s become so tense for a lot of people here and unwelcoming between crime and people in trouble,” she said.
Last year, she took it upon herself to add some life to planters along Seventh Avenue SW near Ninth Street.
“I was so tired of seeing these desolate, empty planters that have been abandoned by the city that I just decided that if they didn’t care enough to pick up the trash or clean it up, then they wouldn’t care. not if I planted anything in it,” said Bolcsfoldy, who works full-time in trades and is studying to get her journeyman ticket.
This summer, she’s stepping up a gear by decorating birdhouses and hanging them from the trees along her street.
“I want to put a smile on people’s faces when they pass by,” said Bolcsfoldy, who pays for the plants and birdhouses out of pocket.
Over the past month, she’s made four birdhouses, each with their own theme: a fairy cottage-style house, a 1970s RV-style house with wood paneling, a late 1980s-inspired birdhouse with upholstery in shimmering vinyl and stucco, and a bumblebee-style “nod to the region’s pollinators” style house.
She also put more wildflowers in window boxes near her building as a food source for the bees.
“I’m very crafty. I love working on new arts and crafts projects. But the birdhouses came to me when I was walking around the craft store, like a little light bulb that goes out,” she said.
Make neighborhoods livelier
As well as planting flowers and making birdhouses to decorate her neighborhood, Bolcsfoldy also regularly leaves bottles of cold water in planters along her street for anyone who needs it.
“Maybe someone is going through a really tough time and having that water bottle will help them. Or maybe if someone had a tough day at work and they saw a little cute and silly birdhouse, it will make him smile for a minute and it will make him look better,” she added. said.
There have been a few “speed bumps” since she started this project, with incidents of people ripping filler materials from planters and throwing them on the road.
However, “a few lovely people” from local gardening groups helped her get more plants to replace the crumbling ones, Bolcsfoldy said. Now, with more wildflowers in planters, she thinks it will be harder for people to rip out filler material and vandalize it.
Area councilor Terry Wong said the city likes to see Calgary “revitalized in different ways.”
“Having these handcrafted creations is a great way to showcase both what Calgary is all about and the artistry of our citizens,” he said.
Bolcsfoldy hopes to continue adding more birdhouses in her area, but in the meantime she is already fielding requests from people interested in doing the same in other neighborhoods.
“Maybe there are more people who would like to participate in this and make our neighborhoods more vibrant,” she said.