Oct 23 2006

Vancouver Syndrome

Japanese tourists are reportedly being treated for shock and psychiatric problems after visiting Paris and finding that the city of their dreams is really a cold, snob-infested slum. They’re calling it “Paris Syndrome”.

The Reuters story caught my eye because we’re experiencing a similar problem here in Vancouver. No one has yet had to undergo psychiatric treatment after coming for a visit (at least, it hasn’t been reported yet). Still, the sheer number of homeless beggars and stolen purses and cell phones has given a serious check to our reputation as the world’s most beautiful city.

Business conferences and hotel bookings are getting canceled and an untold number of such reservations are not getting made in the first place. After a few days in town, local gems like Stanley Park and Harbor Centre are not the first things that pop up in one’s mind. Tourists, business travelers and foreign students are all going back to their own countries with a vision of Vancouver comparable to that of third-world shanty-town slum laid out in the shadows of gleaming modern towers.

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