We think of East Village as "new". But EV has neighbours who've been here for decades. The good news: they've got your back.
When he bought Corner Drugstore in 1987, Abdul Kanji had no way of knowing that the cozy pharmacy at the corner of 5th Street SE and 8th Street SE would one day become a cornerstone of East Village. But when you’ve been filling prescriptions and dispensing health advice to your neighbours for 24 years, you’re not just keeping the neighbours healthy. You’re keeping the neighbourhood healthy. A place where people can count on a chat and a smile when they venture out is very good medicine.
Abdul Kanji is optimistic that Corner Drugstore will always play a role in a rejuvenated new East Village. "I mostly provide services to seniors now," he says, "so my product mix may change as more people start moving in." Even before the ground is broken for new homes in which future East Villagers will live, Abdul has seen infrastructure improvements make life easier for his long-time, mostly elderly, clients. “The lighting is much better,” he nods approvingly. And the new wider sidewalks make getting around with a walker so much easier.
This is what planners really mean when they say, ‘Well-being.’
It's a bustle of activity behind the raised pharmaceutical counter at the back of the drugstore, and Abdul is in constant motion. He and pharmacist technician, Netty Girard, are in continual demand, filling prescriptions, fielding telephone inquiries, and assisting the many seniors who rely on the neighbourhood store.
Abdul always takes time to chat, though. If you ask him about the family photo gracing the wall next to his framed degree, he is happy to tell you about the trip that the entire family took to Mexico recently, for his daughter's wedding. She's the stunning young woman seated at the front of the group.
The urban planners and architects who’ve spent the last decade planning a livable East Village, a place where the essentials are close at hand, know what good neighbour we’ve already got in Abdul Kanji and Corner Drugstore. They instantly make us feel at home.