What Colour is Your Umbrella? – Vancouver’s Rainy Days

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Photo: Rob Weiss

Last weekend, attempting an early start on my Christmas shopping, I visited Vancouver’s downtown core for a day of commerce and exploration.  Braving the elements, I ventured along the busy city streets in search of whimsical trinkets and treasures. Worn-out after hours of pounding the pavement, I decided to enjoy a well-timed, and well-earned coffee break in one of Vancouver’s welcoming corner cafes.  Savouring my drink, enjoying the warmth and ambiance and biding my time, I began to people watch.

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Photo: Rob Weiss

Observing my fellow Vancouverites closely, one of my favourite past times, I quickly became fascinated by the wide variety of rain attire parading in front of me.  Locals are often teased for our lack of fashion sense, but I would argue it is extremely difficult to appear runway ready during a torrential downpour. Nevertheless, I did notice that most of the masses were dressed from head to toe in dark, drab colours. Their attire seemed to match the mood of the day – dull, wet, and grey.  Yet, occasionally, like a beacon of hope, vibrant, bright umbrellas dotted the landscape.  I wondered who chose such flamboyant umbrellas and what their choices potentially said about their personalities.  Were they the perky optimists?

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Photo: Rob Weiss

Our magnificent city lies in the heart of a temperate rain forest and as such we are regularly treated to showers, downpours, drizzle, sprinkles and misty winter days.  While many decide to cuddle up and ride out the winter indoors, the outdoor enthusiasts opt to get outside.  Sipping my coffee, I challenged myself to learn by observing rain coping behaviours more closely.  Fascinated, I witnessed a wide variety of distinct rain avoidance techniques.  Awning walkers skillfully dodged and darted under store canopies.  Those aspiring to go umbrella-less pulled up their hoods and bravely marched on.  A few misguided, yet hopeful souls, attempted to protect their heads with newspapers or books.  Although many of the coping skills I observed were quite creative, my personal favourite, was without question, the snuggle.  What better way to beat the rainy-day blues than by sharing your umbrella with a friend?

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Photo: Rob Weiss

Departing from my warm perch in the coffee shop, my spirits were somehow lifted.  Arguably, it is tempting to hibernate inside and wish for spring, but inspired by the folk with the vibrant umbrellas, I choose to embrace the season. It may surprise you to learn that I am leaving my umbrella behind. Personally, I am a proud and devoted, card carrying member of the wet heads! And, you?  What colour is your umbrella?

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Photo: Rob Weiss

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4 Responses to What Colour is Your Umbrella? – Vancouver’s Rainy Days

  1. Lee Harris

    Beautifully written, Jane, and lovely photos by Rob – what a neat idea for a rainy day. I just purchased a pretty blue umbrella so I can feel good about the raindrops that normally fall on my head. I have always been one of the people who dash from canopy to canopy. Great observations!

    • Jane Weiss

      Ah – a pretty blue umbrella. I can almost hear you singing in the rain!

  2. I’ve heard it said that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear!

    I went years without owning proper rain weather and most often would leave the house without an umbrella. Having kids caused me to rethink things and now every vehicle is stocked with at least one umbrella.

    Great read – thanks!

    • Jane Weiss

      Thanks Chris! I can picture you and the kids, puddle jumping with “brolley” in hand!