METCALFE – The residents and business owners of Metcalfe shook hands, exchanged pleasantries and created connections Sat., May 12 during the fourth annual Meet n’ Greet on Victoria Street.

Marc Sauve, lead organizer, said that the idea behind the event was for local businesses owners to set up booths to meet residents and build relationships so that people would be encouraged to shop locally.

“There are absolutely no money transactions at this event,” Sauve said. “Everything at each of the vendors’ booths are free for anyone’s taking. We just wanted everybody to have a great time and make friends.”

Emily Spencer, a dietician with Ottawa Public Health, set up a booth to raise awareness of helmet safety by displaying a fake brain made of jello and condensed milk.

To make sure that locals are more inclined to visit each booth, Sauve implemented a scavenger hunt. The idea is that everyone receives a “passport” that lists each vendor’s name and people would get the vendor’s signature.

If a person gathered 15 signatures, then they would be eligible to enter a draw to win a grand prize donated by the attending businesses.

The Samurai Arts Academy put on a ju-jitsu demonstration for the locals of 19 students and what they’ve been learning recently.

The Samurai Arts Academy put on a demonstration at the Meet n’ Greet.

“We want to show off and demonstrate what our academy has to offer the community,” said Dwayne Diamond, owner of Samurai Arts Academy. “We accept students of all ages.”

Other organizations like Rural Family Connections, Public Health, Rural Ottawa South Support Services and the local farmers’ market, which opened on the same day, were in attendance as well.

“We started with only 11 vendors on the first Meet n’ Greet,” said Sauve. “But now we have 31 this year, we hope to see it continue to grow as the years go on.”

Dylan Holton treated residents in the park to live music entertainment.

Osgoode Ward Councillor George Darouze said that a lot of hard work as gone into the event and that it’s become something really special.

“Marc has worked so hard on this event and it’s really turning out to be one of the best ways people can meet other locals in the area,” he said.

Joy Jackson (left), member of the Metcalfe Farmer’s Market board, set up a booth to represent farmer’s market that opened the same day as the Meet n’ Greet. Jackson’s daughter Elise was also at the booth helping with operations. Press Photos – Glover