Since February of this year, new residents have been moving into the Biltmore Hotel through a program sponsored by Rain City Housing. Headed by Natalie Porter, several neighbours in the area came together over several months to plan a welcome party for them. By partnering with 10th Avenue Church, Neighbourhood Small Grants, Building Caring Communities and Rain City Housing, the group organized a Sunday afternoon block party.
On the day of, Robson Park was decorated with colourful posters and streamers and was filled with pangs of nervous excitement. This was all put to rest though when an older gentleman walking through the park was asked to join the group. His response to our invitation was reason enough for having the block party as he said, “I was so depressed before, but now I am not, this is exactly what I was looking for!” And from that point on, he became the greeter, inviting others in the park and those passing by.
Coincidently, there was an outdoor piano at the park that weekend as well. This was wonderful because it attracted people to the location and provided beautiful background music for the afternoon. Others were inspired to play guitars, mandolins and a piano instructor brought six of her young students to play. The new neighbours gave them a standing ovation!
The party was a great opportunity for people from many different backgrounds to meet each other, enjoy great food and share stories. The new neighbours felt welcomed and enjoyed a picnic on a sunny Sunday afternoon with friends.