A true Canadian tradition: how to host a neighbourhood barbecue

There's nothing more Canadian than firing up the grill and inviting friends over for a BBQ — especially on Canada Day or any other summer holiday. You'll be the most popular neighbour on the block when you follow these tips for hosting your own barbecue.

A true Canadian tradition: how to host a neighbourhood barbecue

Get the word out

You'll want to make sure all the people you plan to invite know about it in enough time to be able to work it into their schedules.

  • People have lots of activities and vacations during the summer months so the courtesy of an invitation is appreciated.
  • You don't need to do anything formal; simply send an email or e-card with the party details.
  • If you're not inclined toward designing invitations, simply stop in at your neighbours' homes with a verbal invite.

Determine your menu

Based on your guest list and your budget, decide what food you want to serve.

  • Most people look forward to steaks and chicken but be sure to accommodate your audience.
  • If there will be kids attending, throw in some hamburgers and hot dogs.
  • And if you have any guests who are vegetarians, they'll appreciate dishes without meat.

Make it a pot-luck

Don't feel like you have to prepare all the food for the get-together.

  • Ask your guests to bring a side dish, dessert or appetizer, and most will be happy to do so.
  • Some guests may have dishes they're famous for and they'll love to bring their specialty to share.

Get organized

Set up tables dedicated for specific food items to help the guests serve themselves.

  • Separate tables for meat, side dishes, desserts and drinks help organize the barbecue and make it easier for people to find what they need.
  • Be sure to have plenty of table covers, plastic silverware, cups and napkins, and provide large trash cans so that people can toss their paper plates when finished.

Games make it fun

Yard games and outdoor activities add to the fun at any neighbourhood barbecue.

  • If you have the space, set up games of volleyball, croquet, lawn darts, kickball or whatever your guests might want to play.
  • Let guests know in advance if you have a pool in your backyard so they can bring swimwear and towels.
  • This can make for a fun event, but make sure to provide life vests for the little ones and designate someone to play lifeguard during the event.

Gathering outside with delicious food and good company is what summer in Canada is all about!

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