A family in Georgetown, Ont. has brought some cheer to its community during the pandemic by creating 201 birdhouses and placing them around town.
The Champ family said its creations, all numbered, were designed to bring smiles to people who live in Georgetown, a community in Halton Hills, west of Toronto.
"People have been pretty good through this pandemic, but people are wearing out. You can see the edges fraying. There's no hugs. There's no dinners. You run out of things to do. Somehow, we put this together and came up with a crazy idea," Jamie Champ, the dad of the family, told CBC News.
"We just went ahead with it, trying to generate smiles for the community."
He said the idea came from some birdhouses he bought for his wife at Christmas.
Carol Champ, the mom of the family, said they placed the birdhouses anonymously under community mailboxes, on footpaths to parks, outside long-term care homes, schools and the local hospital.
The family's favourite spots were atop piles of snow left by snow plows at the end of cul-de-sacs. Other birdhouses were placed on top of hockey nets.
"I never expected so much gratitude and happiness and cheer and joy from them. It was incredible," Carol Champ said. "I wish we had made twice as many. If we had known they were going to be such a hit, we probably would have made more."
Each birdhouse came with a tag that contains a word cloud of inspirational words on one side and a message on the other that urges the finder to take the birdhouse home and share photos on Twitter using the hashtag, #createcommunitycheer.
Family members built the birdhouses, painted them in pastel colours and distributed them over three weekends in February.
Community responded with heartfelt comments
The birdhouses ended up creating some buzz in Georgetown.
People in the community began to figure out who was making them. The family leaked a little bit of information to give clues to people.
Carol Champ said the neighbours discovered it was the Champ family by all the noise they made while building them.
When people picked them up, they began to share photos of the birdhouses on Twitter and she said they also left heartfelt comments.
Jamie Champ said the community loved the birdhouses, but the family doesn't plan to do the project again because they have other endeavours to do. The family welcomes anyone to take the hashtag and use it for their own community cheer project.
"It was a one-time thing. It was for smiles," Jamie Champ.
WATCH | The Champs created a Facebook page to share videos of themselves creating the birdhouses. Here is one: