Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The annual switcheroo

For all of you who have lived in student towns, or student areas of towns, you know what I'm talking about. Those few weeks between the end of April and the beginning of May when everyone leaves: U-hauls everywhere, packing boxes in hot demand, the library deserted, and every amenity on campus reducing its hours so that Tim Horton's is only open between 2:00 and 2:05 every other Thursday. It's sad, really. Most of our friends are leaving town sometime between today and next Tuesday, and as some of them are from Vancouver and Victoria, we won't see them until we get out there for a visit. Classes are over, and there is no one on campus. I spent five or so hours in the library yesterday, and I saw one other person working. But it won't last for long.

This Saturday was the beginning of it. It was like some secret message had been sent out to everyone who lived in walking distance of downtown: "You must promenade along Spring Garden. You must wear sunglasses and eat ice cream. You must bring cameras." There were hundreds of people, sauntering through downtown, little children perched in their shoulders, revelling in the sunshine. And it's not even holiday season yet. That's when the real fun will start, because all of the bodies that have been lost to the "school is over" exodus will be replaced by a proportional number of tourists. Instead of being crammed with students playing Monopoly and doing research, the Starbucks will be loaded with people examining guidebooks and weeding through their SD cards. The Harbour Hopper will trundle through town and into the water and every year, from now until eternity, people will be astonished by the bus that can swim. Cows will open, the tall ships will start sailing, and the motorcycle jocks who congregate by Perks to show off their bikes will have a much larger audience. The Public Gardens will open, and maybe the sax player downtown will actually learn how to play.

As much as I'm sad that Halifax is being deserted right now, I'm equally looking forward to the inrush of tourists. I haven't ever been in Halifax during the summer, and judging from this Saturday, there is going to be great energy. The harbour walkways will be crowded with people, buskers, food vendors and crafts; the market will be overflowing with fresh fruit and music; the restaurants will set up their patios and spruce up their summer menus. I know for a couple of weeks, its going to be lame around here, but it will get better. And what can beat getting to be a tourist in your own city?

Picture: One of the best shopping areas in downtown Halifax, including Peepshow Girly Boutique (really cute clothes) and Freak Lunchbox, the best candy store ever.


Purple Mangos said...

Oh to be a busker again.... ok, not really. But it had its moments.

Melissa said...

I guess you're used to a captive audience now, aren't you? ;)

Purple Mangos said...

lol. Captive makes it sound like they're held against their will. They do pay to be there, you know. :P

Melissa said...

Very true...Oh, I can't wait to get back to T.O. and my $12 Soundcheck tickets. Read a very interesting article in Maclean's this week about declining symphony attendance in Canada. Apparently Toronto's ticket sales are climbing, though.