This past weekend, I visited an old friend in Victoria. We had a pleasant time together, but the most impressive thing for me was how much friendlier it felt there compared to Vancouver. To test my hypothesis, I walked for 45 minutes in my neighbourhood and glanced briefly at each passerby walking on a quiet tree lined urban street. Each person appeared uncomfortable in my gaze and studiously avoided any eye contact. I felt as if I weren’t there.
In Victoria, however, during a walk of similar duration, things were very different. In about the same time, my friend and I exchanged greetings with several people. Mostly it was just a friendly “Hello,” but, all the same, it felt different. People looked at us and, if they didn’t speak, they would often smile or nod in our direction.
What a difference that makes to how I feel on the streets. Vancouver feels cold; Victoria not so much.
—September 17, 2015; by Brad Hyde
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