There were crews of workmen in downtown Vancouver today furiously erecting temporary blue fencing around just about everything that can be stood, trampled or climbed upon. You’d think the place was getting ready to defend itself against the kinds of protesters who aggressively show up at G-8 economic summits. But no, this containment is an attempt to maintain some sort of order in the face of the annual fireworks festival. Apparently, people who attend fireworks festivals are so riveted skyward that they will walk over just about anything like a herd of dopey muskoxen.
What a shame. The tourists I saw down at English Bay..where the city meets the sea…stood there dumbfounded. No sense snapping photos when everything you may have traveled thousands of miles to see has suddenly, and unceremoniously, been corralled.
All the public art seaside has been sequestered too. That great series of laughing sculptures by English Bay now looks like a bunch of loopy prisoners of war peering out from behind those barricades.
I don’t get the fireworks thing. It’s nice to look at. When I had a sailboat I used to motor out of the marina, put the city squarely over the starboard quarter and gaze at the bursting imagery from afar. It was pretty. Pretty and safe. I had the serenity of the ocean all around.
But I don’t know why people want to assemble en masse to jostle and jangle and stake out a tiny patch of turf…just so they can look skyward and go ‘oooh and aaaah‘. Inevitably some of these oooohers are going to have their pockets thoroughly picked by enterprising thieves who know a good opportunity when they see one. There’s also a very good chance that someone may puke on your shoes while the symphony skyrockets overhead. You can’t invite people to the beach in the crazy days of summer without there being a lot of booze. Police say they’ll pour it out. Maybe that’ll wind up on your flip-flops too.
In a week or so, when all of the pyrotechnics are over, the city can have the city back. No more parking restrictions. No more fences. If you want to tip-toe through the tulips..go nuts. Vancouver never looks more clenched than when it’s about to have some fun.