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After a morning of showers, the sun came out just in time for our annual Block Watch Party. Sixty-five neighbours – young and old — from the streets around the 3000 block of East 59th in Vancouver gathered to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. After the brief Block Watch Annual General Meeting, everyone enjoyed a range of food items. One family brought boxes of fresh tomatoes for everyone to share.
This year there were more small children than in the past. We used part of the NSG funding to rent a Bouncy Castle, and this proved to be a real hit with the young ones. The kids also enjoyed face painting and the balloon-making wizardry of a new member of the neighbourhood. The police cruiser provided by our local VPD constable was also a draw for both parents and kids.
These get-togethers are very important for us in helping to reinforce the core Block Watch ethic of neighbours caring for neighbours and for helping people to get to know each other better. People share news – the births on new babies – and promote community engagement, e.g., an opportunity to provide feedback on the latest plan for our nearby fire hall. We feel that one indicator of success is that new families join Block Watch each year and some members bring relatives to the event. In the words of one relatively new neighbour, “We should hold these more often.”