A Grey Cup Welcome

Grey Cup Day – the day when British Columbians show how proud they are to be host of the national annual contest to decide which Canadian Football League team should be crowned champion.
The day – weekend actually – when the city of Vancouver welcomes brothers and sisters from coast to coast to witness the gridiron action from the roof-covered warmth of BC Place – and increases hotel and motel weekend rates by 15 or 20 percent to make sure the stay is memorable.
I confess to stealing the numbers from a CBC television newscast waxing enthusiastic on the city’s preparation and anticipation of the great event. Struck me as a strange way for Vancouver hospitality kings to be showing off our coastal pride, and a poor way of persuading visitors to come back and see Vancouver has much more to offer than a frost-free football game.
Seemed even stranger to hear those “hospitality” increases being touted as the mania of Black Friday with pledged price reductions swept the rest of the merchandising world.
Adding to the open display of Vancouver’s un-brotherly love was the advice of a chamber of commerce type who said people unable to find accommodation at the jacked-up down-town prices could find bed and board out in the suburbs at reasonable prices.
One other strange thing: A few days ago organizers of the event were forecasting the five or six thousands still unsold Grey Cup tickets would be scoffed up before game time. In other years sell-outs have been claimed weeks before kick-off but this year “because the home team – the BC Lions – is not in the final” there were “understandable” gaps in the crowd.
Vancouver, despite its sometimes unseemly lust for sporting recognition, is not a city of true sporting fans. Let it lose a key series in hockey and they’ll half-destroy the town. Let their team lose a chance to play in the Grey Cup football championship and, like spoiled children, they’ll stay at home on Cup day pouting as they sip their beer and watch American football on TV.
I’m sure the game will have struggled to a sell-out by kick-off – the seats filled by fans from Hamilton and Calgary, a few hundred from Saskatchewan, and many from across Canada; fans who love a national championship for what it is, a clash of the best teams in the country. Fans prepared to travel thousands of miles to be part of a national spectacle many of their hosts choose to ignore.
Too busy re-arranging hospitality rates, I guess.

2 comments

  1. While price gouging is not appreciated by most North Americans, I recall an acceptable practice in Germany when serving there with NATO. On NY Eve, and other similar nights, it was common to find the food and beverage prices to be _doubled_ over the usual tariff. The concept was, I believe, that if one had to work on such occasions they had to be appropriately compensated. Have you checked out the cost of Christmas and NY Eve dinners in local hostelries?

  2. I guess the hotel industry is happy the BC lions are not playing (more hotel rooms) so if those people are crazy enough to travel so far to watch a silly game of football, good luck to them, because while they continue to do it the hotel rate will continue to go up. I am surprised that they have not come up with something central stadium as an annual place for the gray cup.

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