I’ve attended Canada’s annual Word on the Street event (now known as WORD Vancouver) for nearly twenty years. I remember many crowded, sunny days volunteering at the Crime Writers of Canada table. For a number of years, it took three or four of us to attend to the many people stopping by our table. Even on rainy days, there was still a great turnout as many events were held indoors.
Over the past five years, I’ve noticed a decrease in the number of attendees for this free event. This year, it was particularly noticeable. Although we enjoyed a gorgeous sunny day, the crowds I remember simply weren’t there. The construction at the front of the library might have put casual street traffic off, but it could have been something else.
You see, what I’ve also noticed over the past decade is a marked increase in the number of events being held in Vancouver, and not just on the last Sunday of September, but on many weekends. Metro Vancouver has become a fundraising mecca for great causes and has also drawn an increasing number of high-profile sports events.
On the local newscast, I realized just how many other big events had taken place on Sunday. One of those was an Alzheimer’s Society of BC fundraiser, which was especially significant for me because my hubby (interviewed on TV) was there representing the Society.
The thing is, all these worthy events have inevitably created a greater competition for much-needed dollars. Individuals only have so many hours in their schedule and dollars to give, while the need for food banks, for example, grows. In the end, some of the longstanding events might not see the crowds they once had. At the end of the day, everyone tries to do what they can, and hopefully lots of people gain a little something from these efforts.