Vancouver for Free 

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

For the benefit of someone about to move to Vancouver, here are all the places where I get free things.

Free Movies:
I volunteer at the Pacific Cinematheque. For a four-hour shift, I get to watch the movie playing that night, plus popcorn, plus a drink, plus a chocolate bar, plus two complimentary tickets for future movies, plus drinks for me and my guest.

Free Concerts:
I used to volunteer at Music West; recently I discovered the Rogue Folk Club. A few hours stuffing envelopes with the most congenial of company includes cookies and a gourmet pizza dinner, in addition to one ticket for a folk concert.

Free Plays:
A few years ago I filled in for a friend at the Vancouver Playhouse's Seniors' Afternoon Series. They gave me two tickets for a performance that evening.

Free Pets:
Ever wanted your own pet raccoon but were afraid your leather couch would be chewed to pieces? Try Wildlife Rescue in Burnaby. Hoping for a pet bald eagle but don't want to decimate the wild population? Try OWL. Ever wanted your own pet parrot but were concerned that you couldn't burn any more incense due to the parrot's fragile vocal cords? Try Greyhaven. Don't want the neighbours to wake up with Puffy the Viper in their bathtub? Volunteer at the Rainforest Reptile Refuge instead. Want to bottlefeed kittens? You can get temporary kittnes at the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue. Hoping to cuddle squirrels? The Critter Care Wildlife Society is for you. Of course, for dog people there are many SPCA locations throughout the Lower Mainland. At the end of the day, you say good night to your Puffy or your Poochie.

Free Clothing:
For my help at the upcoming Vancouver International Tattoo Convention, I will be getting a petite Vancouver International Tattoo Convention t-shirt. Also available at other big festivals.

Free Food:
See Rogue Folk Club, Pacific Cinematheque. Also try making friends with caterers. A friend who went into catering now fills my fridge with things she couldn't sell. In Tortilla Flat, Danny's gang waits "for the daily miracle of food." I eat less, so mine are weekly miracles.

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