Welcome to Genericville
Halibut surfing no big surprise? Then how
about Vancouver as a fearsome hockey power!!!
OUTLAW BIKER GANGS
What with their propensity for turning virgin
rainforest into goop speedways, mountain
bikers are about as popular with the authorities
as those other one-percenters. A few years
ago a group called the Secret Trail Society
began building its own trails off the official
pathways, marking them with notices reading
"You are entering Secret Territory."
But as the bike trails grew more popular,
park employees soon twigged to their existence
and shut them down.
In response the bikers have gone ever further
underground. Most trails are now unmarked
walk-ins, meaning bikes have to be lugged
stealthily off the official trails and through
the bush to get to the trailhead. As enforcement
grows, the circle of people aware of the
secret locations is becoming ever more restricted.
Perhaps 50 people know of Sagarmatha, located
somewhere on the slopes of Cypress. Blind
Skier, the Reaper and the Pre-Reaper are
somewhat better known. Nearly new is the
Circus, an obstacle course noted for its
dangerous teeter-totters and ramps.
And then there's Canoe, which boasts a 40-foot
long hollowed-out cedar splayed along a steep
slope. The challenge is to ride the polished
wooden half-pipe all the way to the bottom.
As you go, you're supposed to call out "Canouuuu!"
THERE'S A FIN FOR THE WINNER
Ever wonder where your food's been before
it arrived at the table? In the case of halibut
- a flat, oval-shaped fish - and a certain
local fish plant, it's probably best not
to ask. Displaying the same sort of working-class
ingenuity that led to belt-sander racing,
workers on the graveyard shift have invented
a brand new sport: halibut surfing. To play,
all you need is the frozen carcass of a largish
halibut and a forklift. The rules are relatively
simple. The contestant places the fish on
the floor, his feet on the fish, and his
hands on the back of the forklift. The forklift
driver then attempts to swerve and weave
and brake in order to force the surfer to
go flying off into a corner. Whoever hangs
on longest wins. Could this be our demonstration
sport in the 2010 Olympics?
There's a fin for the winner.
UH, DENMAN STREET?
Those agog over GM Place take heed - Vancouver
has a history of great arenas. For some time,
in fact, the city boasted the world's largest:
a 10,000-seat ice palace built in 1911 at
the foot of Denman Street. The creatively
named Denman Street Arena (Oh that it could
have been known as Hupmobile Place) was home
to the Vancouver Millionaires, a pro team
that competed with counterparts in Victoria
and Seattle. Each of the three won a Stanley
Cup, playing off against teams from that
eastern-based circuit, the NHL. Sadly, the
arena burned to the ground in a 1936 blaze
- need we add that hockey hasn't been the
The Denman Street - yes, Denman Street -
HOOP HIGHS AND LOWS
Bet you thought this item - the second part
at least - was about our beloved Grizzlies.
Wrong. It's about the city's highest and
lowest courts, relative to the ground. The
lowest is hidden away in the loading dock
beneath the Waterfront Hotel. When a truck
isn't blocking the way, employees shoot hoops
- although rather carefully; missed balls
can bounce into a hydro-transformer compound
or onto nearby railway tracks, so accuracy
is advised. Likewise on the city's highest
court, frequented by off-shift postal workers
who play their game on the roof of the downtown
post office. Air ball! Er, sorry ma'am.
High hoops and lows.