106 days and counting for this Coquitlam neighbourhood which gathers nightly

These seven couples were once strangers — now they're bonding over a beverage and shared stories of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

A Coquitlam neighbourhood has deepened friendships and found support through more than 106 days of safe social gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seven families living on Grover Avenue in Coquitlam near Como Lake are getting together at a safe distance on their street at 7 p.m. nightly to cheer on essential service workers and touch bases during these challenging times.

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What started as a casual conversation March 15 between two families honouring first responders and hospital workers has grown to encompass five more families as well as other neighbours who often join in when they walk by.

“We have become more than neighbours, we have all become close friends that help each other through the tougher days,” said Rob Merritt, who was one of the first to join the daily ‘party.’

Craig Slack puts up a Canadian flag
Craig Slack puts up a Canadian flag, part of the new tradition established on Grover Avenue in Coquitlam during the pandemic. - Submitted

“This daily meet outside our homes grew to longer visits and after a few weeks turned into daily beverages and conversations rain or shine.,” Merritt further added in an email to the Tri-City News.

Theme nights have added to the fun, with everyone dressing up and playing music for an 80’s theme or a Hawaiian theme, and for Canada Day everyone will wear red and a maple leaf tattoo on their face.

“It’s been really, really fun,” said Merritt who has been impressed at how the community has come together. 

Craig and Melissa Slack and Dan and Trish Martini
Craig and Melissa Slack and Dan and Trish Martini are among those who gather nightly on Grover Avenue in Coquitlam. Walter the dog also joins in the fun. - Submitted

Civic pride grew as well, especially when one neighbour, Ali Totonchi, suggested people display a Canadian flag.

“Now, almost the entire block proudly waves our national flag from each home,” Merritt noted.

For these neighbours, including Merritt, his wife, Barb, and fellow neighbours Craig and Melissa Slack, Ali and Azi Totonchi, Brad and Theresa Haysom, Marcel and Caren Eigenmann, Dan and Trish Martini, Brent and Tiffany Warn, what started as a simple conversation between neighbours has grown into a unique bond.

“We we would encourage others to reach out to each other and do the same,” Merritt added.

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