June 1, 2021: Please note that Block Party applications are currently closed. Please check back for more information once we have officially entered Step 2 of BC’s Restart Plan and further public health guidelines have been issued for outdoor events of up to 50 people.
In the meantime, we encourage you to find other ways to connect with your neighbours:
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. Block parties may be a way for residents to work together around issues (such as traffic or vandalism) affecting the neighbourhood or to start a neighbourhood preparedness program. Whatever the motive, block parties often lead to further gatherings of neighbours and may lead to local improvement projects, new playground equipment, or a neighbourhood clean-up campaign.
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 near a condominium. A block party is simply a group of neighbors working together to organize an event in their neighborhood.
So what are you waiting for? Gather a couple of neighbours, fix 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 meet your neighbours so that you will know who belongs to the neighbourhood and increase your ability to identify strangers.
- To increase the sense of belonging to the community.
- To organize neighbourhood Block Watch or Neighbourhood Preparedness Program.
- To make connections within the community, for example, exchanging skills such as learning a new language or how to cook a traditional dish.
- To meet a neighbour who can help you with gardening tips.
- 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 old time 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. Have a Planning Party
Invite a few neighbors over 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 events are the most fun.
Choose a Location. Decide where you want your block party to be held. The City will 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.
Choose a Date. Try to pick a date 4 to 6 weeks in advance to allow plenty of time for planning, getting permission from your neighbors if you plan to close off the street, and meeting with City staff to receive your Block Party Supply Kit.
Decide on Activities. You may want to include some games and activities to add to your event. Your Block Party Supply Kit contains a number of game and activity suggestions, as well as some cool 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.
2. Get Neighbors’ Permission.
Block parties involving street closures require permission from at least 60% of your neighbors. Print out a permission survey here and get your neighbors to sign.
3. Apply on-line.
Now that you have the basics for your event figured out, it’s time to apply for a Block Party permit online. Please apply for your permit at least two weeks before the event (the earlier the better) – City staff will follow up with you to go over 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 barriers (if required).
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 event, and includes name tags, a frisbee, beach ball, sidewalk chalk and a gift card and coupon for Freshmart, PoCo’s Hometown Grocer, to help with the cost of food.
5. Deliver invitations.
Try to deliver invitations at least three weeks before the party to allow people time to plan and as a courtesy to neighbors with special considerations (daytime sleepers, expecting deliveries, etc) who may need to communicate with you. 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, barriers will need to be picked up the day of the party. If you are hosting the block party at a local park, allow time to bring over and set up any supplies you intend to use.
7. Observe neighborhood courtesies and the City’s rules and regulations for street closures.
Remember to 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.