We are excited to relaunch Block Parties for the Summer 2021 season! Apply now for gatherings beginning on July 31, 2021.
Throwing a block party is a terrific way to meet your neighbours, build a sense of neighbourhood, show your PoCo Pride, and just plain have fun!
For many generations, block parties have served as a way for neighbours to meet each other. You do not need to live in a single-family home to be involved in a block party. Block parties can take place in common spaces in townhouse complexes, in front of apartment buildings or in a park. A block party is simply a group of neighbors working together to organize a gathering in their neighborhood.
So what are you waiting for? Gather a couple of neighbours, set a date, and invite others to join in!
Top 10 Reasons to Hold a Block Party
- To have fun — no excuse or reason is needed to celebrate.
- To increase the sense of belonging to the community.
- To organize a neighbourhood Block Watch or Neighbourhood Preparedness Program.
- To meet your neighbours – knowing who belongs to the neighbourhood increases the ability to identify strangers or safety concerns.
- To make connections within the community, such as exchanging skills, recipes or gardening tips.
- To welcome someone new to your neighbourhood.
- To organize a babysitting co-op, share walking to school duties or find new friends for your children.
- To plan a campaign for traffic slowdown, better lighting, a new neighbourhood park or other resident concerns.
- To close the street for one day for neighbourhood activities such as rollerblading, street hockey or dancing.
- To meet some of the longtime residents in the neighbourhood and learn more about your neighbourhood’s history.
Planning Your Block Party
Follow these easy steps to plan a successful block party:
1. Make a Plan
Engage a few neighbors to plan the party. Try to think of the planning process itself as an opportunity to have fun and make some lasting friendships. Try to involve neighbors you don’t know well who may know other neighbors you don’t know well. Don’t stress over the planning party – sometimes the most casual gatherings are the most fun.
Review the Current Public Health Orders. Before you make too many decision, review the current Public Health Orders to ensure your Block Party plans meet the guidelines of the BC Restart Plan.
Choose a Location. Decide where you want your block party to be held. The City can provide barriers to close off the street in front of your block (or the entrance to your cul-de-sac) if you want to hold activities right on the street. If you have a park nearby, it may offer a viable alternative. The consumption of alcohol is now allowed in a number of City parks. Learn more at portcoquitlam.ca/alcohol-in-parks.
Choose a Date. Try to pick a date 3 to 4 weeks in advance to allow plenty of time for planning, receiving approval for a road closure, purchasing supplies and inviting the whole neighbourhood.
Decide on Activities. You may want to include some games and activities to add to your gathering. Your Block Party Kit will provide a few tools to help kick off some games, as well as name tags and other swag to help get your party started.
Decide on Food. What is a party without food? A potluck is a great way to share the work and experience a variety of fares and flavors. You may want to encourage everyone to label any homemade dishes with ingredients to help your neighbours navigate allergies and food restrictions.
2. Get Neighbours’ Permission
Block parties involving street closures require at least 3 neighbors to co-sign on your application and for all residents of the street to be invited. Make sure that you have full names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for your co-signers before filling out a Block Party application.
3. Apply Online
Now that you have the basics for your Block Party figured out, it’s time to apply for a Block Party permit online. Please apply for your permit at least two weeks before the date of your gathering – the earlier, the better. City staff will follow up with you to review the conditions of holding a Block Party, as well as provide you with your permit and arrange for you to receive your Block Party Supply Kit and barricades (note that barricades are available as requested and not guaranteed).
4. Arrange to pick up your barricades and free Block Party Kit
The City of Port Coquitlam is proud to offer free Block Party kits to the first 25 successful applicants. The Block Party Kit is designed to help break the ice and inspire activities for your Block Party, and includes name tags, a frisbee, beach ball, sidewalk chalk, in addition to a gift card for Freshmart, PoCo’s Hometown Grocer, to help toward the cost of food.
5. Deliver Invitations
Try to deliver invitations at least two weeks before the party to allow people time to plan. Invitations are most effective if they are delivered in person. You may also want to put reminders in people’s mailboxes about a week before the party.
6. Set Up
If you are closing off your street for your block party, barricades are available for pick-up on Fridays and Saturday mornings between 10am or 12pm, by appointment. Please ensure that you have access to a truck or van capable of transporting barricades.
7. Observe neighborhood courtesies and the City’s rules and regulations for street closures
Make your block party a positive experience for all of your neighbors, even those who choose not to attend. Make it easy for neighbors to get out of their driveway and through the street. Keep noise levels low after 10 pm. Remember that everyone is moving at their own pace, and consider the BC Restart Plan’s Golden Rules for Everyday Life in order to make sure that all residents feel safe and welcome being a part of a neighborhood gathering.