Thursday, December 9, 2010

And the Clouds Broke Open and....

Rain is inevitable in the Fall in Vancouver. If Google took a picture from above the city, it would appear that the streets were canopied with multicolored octagon patches, umbrellas everywhere, creating a colorful quilt. The streets have small rivers down them with tributaries running down sidewalks. Unusually warm today, double digits, even the local mountains, formerly blanketed with meters of snow, have closed after opening prematurely with a November snowfall.

The soggy weather combined with the shortest daylight hours of the year, have put a heavy feeling over the city. The streets have no life to them, pedestrians hiding under their umbrellas, looking down the sidewalk. There is an obvious state of mourning in Vancouver, predicted by the news and media one year ago. This year had a full dance card all year long, and now that the twinkle of her tiara is dulled, she is being taken for granted again. It's like Vancouver was all dressed up and now her gown is faded and her mascara is gone.

There have been many passings in our city this year, the most obvious lately is Summer. Vitamin D should be flying off the shelves, in an attempt to replace the missing sunshine. Without those extra hours of daylight, and rays of sunshine, we as humans become down and depressed. Our summer this year was phenomenal, hot and sunny for weeks. Everyone longs for those days again, hence the mass exodus out of the city for the 'snowbirds' - the baby boomers and yuppies hitting palm springs, Florida, Mexico or anywhere where the sun is shining. In the meanwhile, Vancouver sits and waits for it's inhabitants to return, joining the umbrella protected population.

Another loss and the tiara of the city, the Winter Olympics. During February this year,the city played host to the world, showing each and every country that Canada was the most hospitable nation. We invited the world, showed them a great time and kissed them on their cheeks goodbye when they flew from our home. Vancouver was for a moment in time, the jewel of the country, a diamond glittering in the sunshine for the world to see. The post Olympic hangover was predicted by the media and proponents. The previous hosting cities also experienced equivalent recessions. The physical landmarks and buildings remain, but the sheen is gone. The athletes village is empty, a political snafu of empty suites waiting to be filled with Vancouverites. It seems like a dream, all of the crazy crowds, red and white clothing and flags, the singing of Oh Canada, the 24hr buzz of the city.

Another past memory of this year was the World Cup festivities, the sport of soccer filling our Olympic void. North America was enveloped with 'footy' fans everywhere, and Vancouver had its equal excitement. There were jerseys of every color, cavalcades of honking cars decked out in the flag of the winning team. The vesuvela was heard everywhere, the noisy bee-swarm sounding horn heard over each match played. Again, the excitement rose in Vancouver in the afterglow of the spectacular representation of Canada in the Olympics. The bars were packed again and Vancouver was alive.

The Canucks aren't considered so much as a passing, but the playoff run was definitely an added addition to keep the city alive. The hope and loyalty of Canuck fans is one of the eclectic aspects of Vancouver. Blue and green jerseys lined the sidewalks downtown, with the patriotic Olympic red and white garments left over from the gold medal winning Winter  Games. Unfortunately, the run was short and a sad let down, no Stanley Cup in our back pocket.

Now Vancouver is in hangover mode, asses firmly planted on the couch, large bag of chips and a 2 liter bottle of coke at her side, Advil popped into her system, waiting for the heavy blanket to lift. The occupants of this oasis are burdened with the bill of all of these parties, the invoice in the form of the HST. We all know that if we overspend we have to save to repay the debt. It's unfortunate that the world economy crashed the year before our party. Vancouver not only was hit by the recession but then we are footing the bill of hosting the Olympics. Yes, it was an event that will increase tourism but not immediately. We must now wait for the seed we planted to grow.

In the meantime we sit here in our soggy city, hiding under our umbrellas, trudging through puddles and small rivers in hopes to see a glimmer of our diamond when the sun peaks out of the heavy dark clouds. From above the city our patchwork quilt is bustling along waiting for the rain to stop.

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