Paddington Station was reopened to residents in 2018 after a fire left many residents displaced. (Joti Grewal/Black Press Media)

Paddington block party built on ‘a hope and a wish and a prayer’

After facing many challenges strata president says the energy in the building is different today

Originally started in 2015 to build a sense of community, the Paddington Station block party has transformed into exactly that, according to the president of the strata.

Donna Francis recalls Paddington feeling “institutional” when she first became a member of the strata in 2015, and remembers seeing a post online warning people to avoid the building located at 5650 201A St. – calling it “trash.”

The building has been a target of a series of unfortunate events since its construction in 2009.

The strata was forced to invest in a secure mail room located within the building after numerous reported thefts.

More recently in 2016 a devastating fire left more than 100 people displaced from their homes. Residents were welcomed back in 2018 after the damaged units were restored.

READ MORE: Paddington residents welcomed back into homes after 2016 fire

Today the energy in the building is very different, according to Francis.

“We saw a big change from 2015 moving into 2016 and 2017, and now more people are interested in their neighbours,” she said. “It just keeps building and building, and it just keeps growing into something new and different each year.”

This year’s block party is no exception.

“We are creating a movie theatre in our courtyard,” Francis said. “Instead of bring your lawn chair, it’s bring your air bed.”

The Saturday night feature film is Shazam! and will begin at 8 p.m. or dusk.

“We think its fun because when we got started in 2015, it was a hope and a wish and a prayer to get this idea going,” she added.

READ MORE: Sources Langley Food Bank finds new home

Last year the block party was open to all Langley City residents as a thank you for the funds raised after the 2016 fire, but this year’s event will be restricted to the residents of Paddington Station.

Admission to the block party is free, but residents attending are encouraged to bring a canned good which will later be donated to the City food bank.

“Our community isn’t just between the four walls, it extends out into the city,” she said.



joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

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