June 8, 2019
The party was held in the back yards of 3 duplexes on the south side of Marine Drive. The weather was fine and the party was attended by more than 50 people.
We had a small (five) and very committed group of volunteers who helped organize and set up the party. This involved designing a poster advertising the event, ordering the rental equipment, shopping for supplies and scrounging up water jugs, coffee pots, serving spoons, extra chairs, a second 10” x 10” tent, folding tables, napkins, garbage bins etc. A volunteer to pick up the rental equipment was also pressed into service.
We sent out flyers and knocked on the doors of the about 80 units along the lane. I also sent out notices to our Block Watch members (about 40 people).
The grant that we received from the West Vancouver Community Foundation enabled us to hold a more ‘green’ event by renting plates, cups and cutlery instead of using plastic. We were also able to rent a 10’ x 15’ tent (which was used to shade the food area) and a number of chairs which were well used. It also enabled us to invite Xwalacktun to attend and welcome us to the Squamish Band traditional territory and do a small carving demonstration for us.
The welcome ceremony and drumming by Xwalacktun was thoughtful, delightful and very well received by the assembled residents. We have a beautiful carving of “welcome hands” on a hydro pole in the lane as a memory of the party and of the generous welcome by a member our local indigenous band.
The Block Watch program co-ordinator attended along with a police patrol car which attracted a crowd of children (something I have never seen in our neighbourhood!).
The theme of the party was a “Cross Cultural Culinary Quilt”. This providing a taking point around potluck dishes and we had a range of cultures represented including: Canadian, English, Iranian, Indian, Belgium, Italian and Icelandic.
Several people mentioned how much they enjoyed being able to meet and speak to neighbours some of whom they had seen before but not spoken to and others they had never met. I was particularly pleased that someone had taken the initiative to spread our invitation to the Block on the north side of Marine Drive and we had two families from there attend (one of whom lives directly across Marine Drive from me and that I had never even seen before despite looking across Marine Drive to their windows every day!).