Here’s What A Handshake Symbol On A Parking Space Means

Photo: YouTube (CTV Ottawa)

I’ve purchased so many things online, from vintage vinyl records to quirky home decor. Usually, this means arranging to meet somewhere to exchange money and the goods. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking, though, because you never know who you’ll be meeting or how safe the spot is. That’s why I was intrigued when I first noticed a handshake symbol on a parking space. What could it mean?

I discovered that in Pembroke, Ontario, certain parking spots now display this new symbol. Specifically, the areas outside the Pembroke OPP station at 77 International Dr. These spaces are designed to serve as community safety zones for online transactions. It’s a simple yet brilliant idea that addresses the common concerns many of us have when buying and selling items online.

Think about it. You find something you’ve been searching for ages, negotiate a price, and then comes the nerve-wracking part: arranging the meetup. You want a place that’s safe, public, and preferably under some kind of surveillance. But how often do we actually get that perfect combination? Not very often. And that’s where these handshake symbol parking spots come into play.

Image Credit: CTC News Ottawa

When you see the handshake symbol, you know you’re in a designated area where people frequently meet for these transactions. It’s not just about convenience; it’s about safety. Knowing there’s a spot intended for these exchanges can put your mind at ease. Let me share a personal experience that highlights why these spots are so beneficial.

A few months ago, I bought an antique lamp online from a seller I’d never met before. We agreed to meet in a busy mall parking lot. Even though it was a public place, I felt uneasy the entire time. I kept glancing around, nervous about who might be watching or if something could go wrong. The transaction went smoothly, but the anxiety leading up to it was not something I’d like to repeat.

Now, if there had been a handshake symbol parking space available, I would have opted for that in a heartbeat. These designated areas are usually located near police stations or other public safety buildings. This means there’s often surveillance cameras and a higher likelihood of police presence, making them much safer than your average parking lot.


When you’re planning an online transaction, there are several key factors to consider for your safety:

Meeting Place: Always choose a public, well-lit location. If there are handshake symbol spaces available, they should be your top choice. These spots are specifically chosen for safety and convenience.

Time: Meet during the day if possible. Daylight hours reduce the chances of anything untoward happening. However, if you must meet after dark, make sure it’s in a well-lit area and preferably one of these designated zones.

Safety: Bring a friend along if you can. There’s safety in numbers, and having someone with you can deter potential wrongdoers. Additionally, let someone else know where you’re going and who you’re meeting.

Witness: Having a witness, or at least knowing that the area is under surveillance, can make a huge difference. It deters fraudulent behavior and provides you with a backup if something goes wrong.

The Best Place to Meet: As mentioned, the handshake symbol spaces are excellent choices. Other good spots include coffee shops, inside malls, or anywhere with a constant flow of people.

Never Delete Texts: Keep a record of your communications with the buyer or seller. This can serve as evidence if anything goes awry. Details like phone numbers, names, and transaction agreements are crucial.

source: Pexels

Another great aspect of these handshake symbol spaces is the sense of community trust they foster. By having these designated spots, it shows that the community is proactive about safety and values the well-being of its members. It’s a simple initiative that can make a big difference in how comfortable people feel engaging in online transactions.

Pembroke isn’t the only place adopting this idea. Other cities are starting to recognize the benefits and are designating similar spots. As this trend grows, hopefully, we’ll see a reduction in the anxiety and risks associated with meeting strangers for online purchases.

The handshake symbol on a parking space is more than just a mark on the pavement. It represents safety, trust, and community spirit. The next time you’re arranging to buy or sell something online, keep an eye out for these symbols. They might just make your transaction a lot smoother and safer. And remember, it’s always better to take a few extra precautions than to regret not doing so later.