Sandy Hill resident discovers the Ottawa Newcomers’ Club
Connecting women for half a century
When Everlily (Eve) Moulding moved to Sandy Hill during a pandemic lockdown, meeting new neighbours proved difficult, and there was a real risk of isolation setting in. In her former community of Navan, Moulding had forged strong bonds with retired women who walked, snowshoed, shared meals, and even travelled abroad together.
Seeking similar connections in her new hometown, Moulding discovered the Ottawa Newcomers’ Club (ONC), a volunteer organization run by and for women who are new to Canada or to the city, or who are experiencing a significant life change, such as retirement, divorce, or widowhood. According to Moulding, ONC opened the door to “a variety of activities that would suit any kind of member that joins.” These included virtual coffee chats, book clubs, and Netflix movie nights, as well as outdoor walk and talks, offering new opportunities to socialize and discover parts of the city where she may not have ventured on her own.
Closer to home, a walking tour of Sandy Hill introduced her to local restaurants and historical sites. As Eve recalls, “it made my move here a little bit more comfortable, it became such a positive place.” In fact, when friends later visited from Navan, she seized the opportunity to show them around Sandy Hill and Ottawa with knowledge and enthusiasm.
Building on her positive experience with ONC, Eve recently joined its board of directors and became its new webmaster. She now manages the club’s website and coordinates the publication of its monthly newsletter. While she recognizes these volunteer roles “are involving, it’s also nice to know you are doing something for your team.” As she explains, members are encouraged to join the board or convene activities as a way to support other members while enhancing their own knowledge, skills, and confidence. Imagine, for example, a retired accountant serving as treasurer, a refugee artisan hosting a basket-weaving workshop, or a new immigrant taking French lessons. To make activities more accessible, the club even has an OC Transpo convener who helps members navigate the city using public transportation, while other members offer carpooling.
And while ONC has embraced technology to broaden its activities, its mission of connecting women began long before the advent of the internet and Net-flix. In fact, the club recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. So what is in store for the next 50 years? Moulding hopes the club will attract a greater diversity of members from different age groups, life experiences, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds: “I would like to see a lot of people, especially from the different ethnic groups, finding out about us and being able to take advantage of what the ONC offers.”
To learn more about ONC membership and its activities, please visit www.ottawanewcomersclub.ca