Business boomed on B.C.’s first Family Day
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:19PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:35PM PST
Early numbers suggest B.C.’s first Family Day was a huge boon to several businesses, despite some owners’ concerns about having to pay overtime wages.
Staff at Mount Seymour said the ski resort was even more crowded on Monday than on Dec. 30, the busiest day of the Christmas break.
“Our lesson programs were filled up and [we had] record numbers on lift tickets as well,” said Mount Seymour Resorts spokeswoman Julie Mulligan. “It was bigger than expected.”
Whistler Blackcomb also boasted Christmas holiday-level numbers, with 85,000 skiers and snowboarders visiting over the long weekend, and Big White Ski Resort in the Okanagan experienced a similar bump in business.
At lower altitudes, Science World reported seeing a 50 per cent increase over a normal February weekend, and the Vancouver Aquarium estimated it received roughly 15 per cent more visitors than a typical statutory holiday.
But not everyone stuck around to enjoy Family Day in B.C., despite the government’s urging that residents enjoy a restful “staycation.”
The Canadian Border Services Agency reported seeing just shy of 160,000 inbound travellers over the weekend, compared to roughly 178,000 over the B.C. Day weekend, and the Bellingham Whatcom Chamber of Commerce said some stores in Washington State even planned ahead with increased staffing.
And not everyone was celebrating, including some business owners who said the cost of paying employees overtime forced them to simply close up on Family Day.
A number of unions also used the holiday to protest the BC Liberal government on issues ranging from healthcare cuts to the lack of affordable daycare.
Because B.C. plotted its Family Day a week before Alberta’s, businesses are expecting another bump this coming weekend.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Maria Weisgarber