Page 2 of 8

Ode to Atangard

In heavenly hefts
you carry forth; intoxicating
like a star, who guides strangers into the sky
to become part of a constellation.

When I return, broken hearted,
or covered in the dust of solitude
my heart races, as if
anything less than a million hugs
would greet and feed me soup.

In drawing near to every detail
my eyes are met with life,
like blades of grass in the desert
hinting at a nearby spring—
where windows carved in wall are made
or gardens grown by liquor stores
and splinters in the hardwood floor
—contain the tiny stories
of a wild project aging like fine wine.

My nose recalls a poem
walking down the hallway,
fresh rosemary and cheese
adding adjectives to aroma,
as I am taken by a nostalgia unfit
for such small hands.

Your modalities (wise and true)
and je ne sais quoi,
shake out individuals,
and form them into the next generation,
who will one day leave,
and one day return,
to find a piece of their
hearts stitched in a community
that dazzles and guides so many home.

Dalton Jones

Slow & Steady

Summer has come, which often brings many changes as people transition from school to work or head out tree planting. This summer, however, the change is fairly subdued. Only 2 housemates went planting, and only one new friend is subletting.

Last summer brought a slew of new residents. There is always air of excitement in those new times of discovery. At times the energy and changes can be a bit overwhelming, as your home, the most intimate of places, changes shape. After some months the dust settles and routines emerge.

This summer, though, has been lazy. Relaxing. Many of our housemates have been here for at least a year now. There is a comfort that comes in the consistency, and a subtle security from the depth of having lived together for a substantial amount of time now. 
I told one resident upon moving in, “It takes time to get to know people, and a year for things to really get good.” He didn’t believe me at first. He told me later how he keeps being surprised by people as relationships mature and grow. I’m sure it is also in part, that life changes us too. As housemates we get to journey with people through these exploratory times.

Of course it is not all flowers and roses. Many times we may not feel that connected to one another. But when I take a step back from it all – I realize the beauty of it. I feel privileged to be a part.
Thanks everyone!

5 Year Anniversary

September 1st of 2014 marked our Five Year Anniversary. Many thanks to all who have made this place possible. This blog was started during the development process. It was a forum to share our journey, our thoughts, and our progress on this ‘project.’ What was once a goal, a dream, and a challenge has now transitioned into everyday life – full of the mundane and the beautiful.

Atangard Art Exhibit

We had our first art exhibit this weekend at the Arty Awards. We created a series of abbotsford-centric portraits, and then also displayed some work that we already had up in our halls. It was great to have some motivation to create again. It was also really awesome to see the work that people produced. Looking forward to what the next one will be. Here’s some photos, and the Abby News article.

The History of Atangard

In one of our directors meetings, it was brought up that a lot of people now residing were not involved in the development process and do not know the story of our home. I put this presentation together for our housemeeting. Thought you might enjoy. -Soph


Your twenties can be a tumultuous segment of your life. From school, to relationships, to work, goals, plans and desires, trying to find things to hold on to can be difficult. I think for a lot of us here at Atangard, the idea of living in community comes with the hope that we will have something to hold on to: friends, a place, a home. It is what attracts many here, and also what keeps people here much longer than they anticipated. No matter how often a housemate is away, unable to participate in the group, or unavailable, the things that always keep them here are the warm, encouraging people living in the other rooms. It’s why it’s so difficult to see people move on, seeing life pull them away from something they want.

This year has been one of many changes here at Atangard. Almost all the faces have changed since the project started four years ago. Even for someone who, in the greater context, hasn’t lived here very long, I’ve seen an almost complete turn-over of residents. Since moving in a year-and-a-half ago, there are seventeen new faces. Six people remain from that time, only two of which are from the original group that moved in in 2009. And that excludes those who came and went while I lived here. We are a shining example of the transience of our generation.

This is not unique to Atangard. Whether through graduating from college, moving cities to start careers, or forming relationships that pull us from our hometowns, people our age end up moving around a lot. A well known preacher and speaker commented on this recently, saying that our generation desires community, but is unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to create it. I think that although some truth can be found in that, it is not that we are unwilling to make the sacrifices. We are often forced, through no fault of our own, to sacrifice community for the opportunities presented to us. Especially for those with post-secondary degrees, who are looking to begin careers in the fields of their studies, it can be very difficult to find meaningful work. Growing up in our culture, so many of us were encouraged to go to college or university, that now the job-market is over-crowded with BA’s. Almost any given job now requires years of experience, that can only be found in the very jobs that are asking for it. In order to find work in our disciplines, we chase opportunities, which often pull us away from our social groups, whether that be family, friends, churches or others. To not work for minimum wage or wait tables, post-grads must either jump deeper into dept for masters degrees or move to where the jobs are. Both options tend to strip people from their communities. The millenial’s sacrifice of community is less of a choice and more often a necessity for survival in our culture.

For someone who believes in committing to a community, I can have trouble not taking it personally when people decide to sacrifice it for the opportunities being presented to them. I need to consciously step back and realize that some day I may need to do the same thing, and that their need to find their own place in society does not necessarily reflect on their ability to commit to the here and now. Their need to follow their life-goals does not mean they have commitment issues. It is possible to love something and let it go.

Calgary Herald talks “Intentional communities”

Beth and Mark our old roomies talk to the Calgary Herald about living in community. Read “Intentional communities” 

Vancouver Sun Article Jan. 1st, 2013: Notorious Abbotsford SRO becomes community living experiment

Atangard Coat of Arms designed and painted by:

Tessa Suderman and Beth Freeman 

Online Link to article: Click Here


One of Abbotsford’s most notorious single-resident occupancy hotels has been transformed into a creative experiment in community living.
The Fraser Valley Inn is a long, red-brick building at the corner of Essendene and West Railway with a sign promising “cold beer to go at rock bottom prices.” A pub, a nightclub, an Indian restaurant and a liquor store occupy the ground floor. Until a few years ago, the upstairs was a single resident occupancy hotel (SRO), with cigarette burns on the walls and a reputation for drugs. In 2005, the city of Abbotsford ordered it closed and rezoned the building as commercial space.
But the lights are on again upstairs. There’s a coat rack in the entrance. The halls are lined with paintings. One room is full of bicycles and another is furnished with vintage couches.
Atangard Community Project is a not-for-profit society registered with the city of Abbotsford. Residents must be between the ages of 19 and 35, either employed or enrolled in school. Rent is $375 per month for a small room or $500 for a larger one. Dinners are communal and everyone is expected to cook two meals a month. The community operates a car share and grows beans, blackberries, strawberries, zucchini, corn and chard in a community garden nearby.
On the evening I visit, the kitchen is hopping. People are helping themselves to Mexican bean stew from a row of crock pots on the counter. Two musicians wearing skinny jeans and plaid shirts have just come home from a month-long tour. Everyone gets up from the table to give them a hug.
Sophia Suderman, 29, has curly red hair and lots of energy. She’s the visionary who started the project in 2007. She had just returned from a backpacking trip to Latin America where she was impressed by a culture that valued community and relationships. “When I got back I was feeling so disconnected from people. Here everyone’s so busy with school or work,” she said.
Suderman noticed that the second floor of the Fraser Valley Inn was vacant and she had an idea. She, her sister Tessa, and their father Dave, a masonry contractor, invested their own money in leasing and renovating the hotel. It took two years of red tape to register the organization and get the hotel rezoned as residential.
By the time the city approved the project, a group of about 20 young people had gathered around the idea. It took them five months of work to clean up, sanitize and renovate the old hotel. Volunteers filled three Dumpsters with soiled mattresses, stale carpeting, needles, porn magazines and even a blow-up doll. Dave Suderman headed up the renovations, installing new plywood flooring, solving plumbing problems, replacing ceiling tiles, painting and rewiring. In September 2009, about 20 people moved in.
Jordan Todd, a bearded 27-year-old sociology student with an elaborate cross tattooed on his forearm, says Atangard is ideal for young people who are ready to move out of their parents’ basements but who can’t afford to rent or buy their own homes.
Todd thrives on the social energy of Atangard. But it’s not for everyone, he says. Even though the rules are few, living closely with others involves giving up a certain amount of autonomy. When 26 people share a kitchen you can’t leave dirty dishes on the counter.
Another drawback is the noise. By 10:30 on a Friday night, the floor is literally trembling with the thump of dance music from the nightclub downstairs.
Although many of the residents are Christian, that’s mainly because Abbotsford has a large Christian population. There are no religious requirements for living at Atangard.
Todd gets odd reactions when he tells people where he lives. Walking his dog in the neighbourhood has given him a chance to get to know the names of a handful of homeless people who live downtown.

Occasionally someone will say, “You live up there? I was there 20 years ago. It’s a lot different now.”

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

[Posted by Jordan Todd]

Atangard Movie Trailers – Christmas 2012

Footage Provided By: Tessa Suderman Levi Binder Jordan Todd Video Edited By: Jordan Todd [Posted by Jordan Todd]

All I want for Christmas

TESSA SUDERMAN – Director/Producer/Editor
LISA MARIE – Actress
BENOIT BULOT – Rockstar [Posted by: Jordan Todd]

« Older posts Newer posts »