Last night I quickly popped into Choices to pick up some groceries for dinner. I live a block away from that store yet somehow I haven't shopped there since before Christmas. So I really noticed all the sprucing up they've been doing in preparation for the Olympics.
Outside, for example, their windows were painted with hockey players and red Canada maple leaves.
Now, I've noticed this a lot around downtown. A lot of shops are decorating their windows with "Go Team Canada!" or "Welcome to Vancouver! Enjoy your stay!" Other companies have plastered their windows with Visa-sponsored "Go Le Monde!" posters.
As I walked into Choices, I noticed there were skis and snowboards hanging over the produce section.
At the checkout, there was an entire display of Canadiana items: "Whistler Smoked Salmon" gift packs and Quatchi maple syrup canisters.
At the till I mumbled out, "This is kind of surreal, all these Olympics decorations". A stupid thing to say, sure.
The girl looked up from the cash and said, "Yeah! And we now have expanded hours... we're now going to be open from 7am until midnight, just for the month of February. At least we're not open 24 hours like some businesses."
The girl at the next till joined in. "Well some Subways are going to be open 24/7. So if you want a sandwich at 3 or 4am, you know where to go. Man, I wish we were open 24 hours. I love working graveyard."
I walked home and began to wonder what other shops were extending their hours. Probably many. Probably so many that for 2 weeks, we may get a glimpse of what Vancouver could be as a proper 24 hour city. No Fun City? Not for those 2 weeks.
Some people are citing that the Olympics will be like Expo 86, where cynicism drains and the city turns into one big party. Those feelings are starting to creep up on me already.
Later that night when Josh got home, I mentioned what I had learned about the extended hours. He seemed to know more about it than I did. "The Blenz downstairs (on Helmcken & Hamilton) is already open 24 hours!"
Great for a video game studio in the midst of major deadlines.
Great for the urban environment?
In the next few weeks I managed to schedule 2 days of vacation. I'm almost wondering if I should have scheduled more.