Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The #holyroodbenchproject

A neighbourly bench across
from SEESA
Holyrood is a lovely, walkable neighbourhood, and it's getting nicer all the time thanks to the South East Edmonton Seniors' Association (SEESA) and a special project by their woodworking workshop.

The Holyrood Bench Project (#holyroodbenchproject) is the brainchild of Kimberly Buehler, the Executive Director at SEESA. She's had a bench on the grassy boulevard in front of her house for the last four years, and has enjoyed watching people stop to appreciate a little break during their strolls. She says that people of all ages use the bench -- seniors who want to rest a little, parents who let their kids run ahead and wait at the bench, newspaper readers, and those having a lunch break or coffee.

Kim and Myrna, a SEESA member
who will also have a bench
in front of her home
This spring, SEESA received funding for the project from Age Friendly Edmonton and the Holyrood Community League also offered support, allowing Kim to approach some of the seniors with bench plans in hand. She asked if they would consider building boulevard benches similar to hers as part of a community project. She expected the project would keep the workshop busy for a couple of months, but the woodworkers finished all 20 benches in two weeks flat (they have a pretty slick workshop and some very handy carpenters). They stacked the benches outside as they were made, in spite of a few snowy days in April. Around that time, I heard about the project through a neighbour who thought we should have a bench near our little area park.

I contacted Kim to let her know that we were interested, and two weeks ago, I went to SEESA to pick up a bench, a gift card for $25 to buy stain at Rona, and hardware (chain and padlock) to attach it to one of the elms on the boulevard in front of our house. Steve and Harvey, two of the builders extraordinaire, loaded the bench into the back of my vehicle, I signed an agreement saying that we would keep the bench where the public could enjoy it, we would maintain it, and leave it with the property should we ever sell our home.
Harvey and Steve in the SEESA woodworking workshop

Then it was just a matter of sanding, staining and decorating... and now there's a community bench on a boulevard near my house, a resting place in a neighbourhood where many people like to walk (we joke that we live on a 5-dog-per-hour street). People can sit and enjoy the view of the little park across the street, or my messy perennial front yard, and hopefully I'll have the opportunity to meet a few more neighbours when they stop by. And as a dog walker, I'm really looking forward to finding more #holyroodbenchproject seating areas in our neighbourhood.

Thanks to Kim, Steve, Harvey and the rest of the marvelous carpenters at SEESA, we're building community in Holyrood, one bench at a time.

(If you live in Holyrood and have a home for a boulevard bench, there are seven still available at the time of this moodling. Contact Kim at SEESA -- benchproject@ seesa.ca.)


  1. Lovely, thanks for the publicity boost for SEESA project.The paint job is great "come and sit awhile" says it all

  2. Thanks Kimberly for the great idea, and thanks to all who made it possible. Thanks= to the blogger who appreciated the efforts of SEESA caring for our seniors and the community at large.. Yeah SEESA

    1. I'm loving seeing the other benches around the neighbourhood. My father-in-law in Lethbridge wishes he had benches like ours to sit on when he goes for his walks. Yay SEESA indeed!


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