Ever wonder why Vancouver, BC, home of the 2010 Olympics, wild outback of early lumber and gold rush thrills got the moniker of the “No Fun City”? Well, I have because I live here. Did it get this label because of a lack of venues for the arts, whether paintings, dance, acting or music or was it that everything closed down early?
Well, it’s some of both, plus more. Restaurants usually have to stop serving alcohol at 11:30 and close by midnight. Other clubs have to close by 2 am, unless you’re on the downtown strip, which stays open till 3 am but then you have to deal with other issues such as drunk 20-somethings fighting. Taxis are expensive, parking more so. Transit doesn’t run often enough, with the SkyTrain stopping around 12:30. If they ran the SkyTrain on the half hour through the night people wouldn’t be stranded or having to fish out big sums of cash. I live ten minutes from downtown and it can cost $20 for taxi. Some forethought on the city’s part would make transit better and lessen the chance of people driving after drinking because it’s the cheapest way home.
So let’s see: not enough live venues, early closing, expensive or inadequate transportation, concentrating everyone in one area which exacerbates the testosterone levels. That’s almost enough but it turns out there is such a rat’s nest of red tape for restaurant and pub owners that it makes having fun more difficult. There are places that aren’t allowed to have any dance floors, such as the E. Van extablishments. Some of them manage live bands but they’d be slapped silly should they entertain a dance floor. So people get up and dance in front of their tables or at the tiny spot in front of the stage.
Even though the mayor declared we’d beat our “no fun” status during the Olympics, again that was very localized downtown without allowing other thriving communities to participate or even extend their hours. Montreal has a soft closing of 4 am and when I was there a few years ago we never went to bed before 4. Sometimes it was a little pub where we just sat and talked. No crazy violence erupted. Once it was a pizza restaurant.
It turns out that the red tap that wraps up the fun runs to naming your pub or restaurant. A new restaurant on Main St., one of the Boho
trendy, artsy areas wanted to name their place the Fast Food Disco. Since it seems it’s the BC Liquor Control Board (BCLCB) that actually approves names of establishments that serve booze the owners already knew that “disco” wouldn’t be approved because it would indicate a nightclub. They actually had to do the signs and finish the restaurant first before applying for the license. They even had a webpage. But good ole BCLCB said you can’t serve alcohol with fast food. The owners cited that they were using irony because their menu is not fast food. It includes that homey cooking of the 50s & 60s, meatloaf, deep fried Mars Bars (I shudder to think of the jello creatures they might serve). The restaurant changed their name to the Rumpus Room because the BCLCB wouldn’t buckle.
Of course the BCLCB doesn’t include White Spot restaurants as fast food but that doesn’t matter. The restaurant was told it would mislead the public who would expect alcohol with the greasy fries. I’m a little disconcerted by the concept of the food but be that as it may, the name wouldn’t have told me I got booze with fast food, especially if I looked it up online or looked at the menu before entering. Here’s how I imagine the BCLCB decides which names pass the muster.
Hubert: Here’s another one. Hooters. Whaddya think?
Bertha: Nope, nope won’t do. It implies you can get alcohol and will start hooting.
Hubert: Hmm, I don’t think so. Owls hoot, right? Well, we always associate owls with being wise. Oh, and parliaments.
Hubert: Well the wise person wouldn’t drink and therefore it won’t encourage that disgusting behavior.
Bertha: Sounds reasonable. A wise place to eat. Politicians might go there. We’ll pass that name. I’m sure it will be a dignified establishment.
Cheers, from the no fun city.