Sunday, February 15, 2009
Davie Street: The Centre
I moved into the West End 3 years ago. It's as close to New York, Toronto, or LA as you're going to get in Vancouver. The rest of the city is a suburb. Robson Street is shopping. Davie Street is diversity. Beach is, well, English Bay. Denman Street is funky. Granville Street is movies and grunge. Georgia Street is Christ Church Cathedral, the Vancouver Museum, the Bay, pretty much uptown. Burrard is a thoroughfare with Virgin Records, ScotiaTheatre, Swan Laundry and Giga DVD. The bridges bring people from the outside to the inside.
The Centre is at Bute and Davie, across from Hamburger Mary's and the Blenz coffeeshop. Little Sister's bookstore is half a block a way. I've been going to a noon hour meeting at the Centre often for a couple of years, now. I like the people. It's a 12 step group. The first fellow I met there turned out not to be gay. He told me he and his wife just lived down the road. After that I didn't know what anybody was. No one jumped me either. I was a little disappointed. I'm of a 'certain age'. My women friends say they'd beg for a wolf whistle. The stereotype for gay men is naked and groping. It's been a decades since I've come close to being groped. No one has been naked at this meeting. Some guy occasionally wears a dress. Others are just colour coordinated. Lesbians are supposed to be angry. If the friendly women there are lesbians, they're not angry. Everyone I've met instead has been warm, kind, open, accepting and welcoming. There's a wealth of stories at the Centre and it's an institution on Davie. Activities going on there all the time. Drop ins, groups, counselling, clinics. I just like reading the ever changing pamphlets. The bowl of condoms reminds me a lot of the first street clinic I worked in Winnipeg back in the late 70's. When a guy approached me for 'gay affirmative' therapy I didn't know what it was so sent him to the Centre. That began back in the 80's or 90's. I didn't like the West End back then. Too busy. Too many people. Too crowded. Then I lived in the country and on an island for a while. When I returned I figured if you're going to be in a city at all you might as well be at the hub. 24 hours a day I can walk out of my apartment and find something open and probably even meet a friend. That's what comes of getting together with others in the neighbourhood. Pretty soon you're not alone. I like the people here . We make a point of overlooking the differences and focussing on the similiarities.