On Scene

A little trade secret
February 22, 2010
Written by Paul Dixon

Monday, Feb. 22

“Where will you spend eternity, heaven or hell? It’s your decision”. The man was preaching at the sea of humanity surging around him on Robson Street, five minutes before the puck dropped in the Canada/U.S. hockey game Sunday night. I say he was preaching “at” people as opposed to preaching “to” them because he was about as all alone as one person could be in that tide of red and white. Team Canada didn’t appear to have an answer for the question, at any rate.

Once the game started, the sea of pedestrians parted like the Red Sea did for Charlton Heston in some movie. Some of you may remember a time in this land when people would stand outside TV shops and watch through the window. That’s what downtown Vancouver reminded me of; groups of people up and down the street, standing and watching the game as best they could over the heads in front. 

Several thousand people were outside Alberta House at Robson and Beatty, watching the game on the big screens inside. I found myself standing in the middle of the intersection, watching the watchers from a distance when I realized that I had fallen in with the scalpers, the “Got tickets – ant tickets?” people. There are a number of ticket reselling agencies in that immediate vicinity but these fellows are to ticket agencies as British bookies are to North American pari-mutuel wagering. It was a treat to be able to listen in as they carried on a little business or simply talked among themselves Like a dinner theatre production of Guys And Dolls.

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Another monster crowd day downtown on Sunday, with yet another sunny day. Shoulder to shoulder in a lot of areas. Which brings up two kinds of people. People who bring infants along in one of those strollers that’s bigger than a Smart Car and then proceed to ram their way through the crowd and the dog-lovers among us who insist in bringing Fido along for the experience (he’s just like one of the family – sure, and I can see the resemblance). My personal favourites were the fine young specimens who brought their pit bulls down to absorb some atmosphere, and there were more than a couple of them.

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Here’s a tip on avoiding the queue to get into the “official” Olympic paraphernalia store-within-a-store at the Bay downtown. The lineup to get in has been a block long since the first day. Must be the incentive of a “free” Olympic poster if you purchase more than $200 worth of merchandise. Anyhow, all you have to do is take the escalator up to the second floor, walk over to the elevator and take it back down to the main floor where the doors will open and you will find yourself in the middle of the promised land.  

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