Westin Bull Bar Surrey Canada
Event planners and pubs are expecting to do booming business on U.S. election night thanks to intense interest in the race, which many pundits are calling the most divisive in memory.
Options include watching the results in a movie theatre, a hotel ballroom, pubs or private parties.
The most posh event is set to be the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada’s (AmCham Canada) extravaganza at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which will include a Dixieland jazz band, party staples such as hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and hamburgers as well as prizes and an unofficial ballot box for attendees to have their say.
Attendees can also mingle with diplomats such as U.S. Consul General Lynne Platt.
The $150 price for non-members and $120 price for members might seem high to some but the event is being put on at cost, AmCham Canada Pacific region chairwoman Maria Rajanayagam told Business in Vancouver.
“We still have tickets available as Vancouver tends to be a last-minute town, ” she added.
AmCham Canada launched its Vancouver chapter in 2013, so this is the first time it is holding its official U.S. election party in Vancouver.
In 2012, former U.S. consul general Anne Callaghan held a private party at her residence; four years earlier, during the global financial crisis, the consulate did not arrange a party.
Consulate election-night schmoozefests in 2000 and 2004 were held at the Westin Bayshore.
Those who do not want to shell out big bucks for a party can reserve tickets for events held by the Democrats Abroad.
Democrats Abroad’s B.C. chairwoman, Maureen Harwood, told BIV that her group has reserved the Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar and Steamworks at Waterfront station. Attendees must reserve their free tickets through Eventbrite. Harwood said that capacity is 500.
(Image: U.S. Consul General Lynne Platt will attend the American Chamber of Commerce event at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver | Dominic Schaefer)
“There’s also a second Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar location at the convention centre a couple blocks away, ” she said. “There’s no tickets available for that. It will be a last-ditch, show-up-at-the-door thing.”
Republicans and independents are welcome to show up at the Democrats Abroad’s ticketed event, and all attendees will get the chance to buy posters, shirts and other souvenirs, Harwood said.
The Rio Theatre is similarly offering a free venue for political animals to get their fill, although owner Corinne Lea told BIV that there are no advance tickets.
(Image: Rio Theatre owner Corinne Lea is holding a free event in her East Vancouver theatre on U.S. election night | BIV archives)
Doors open at 9 p.m. because a movie is showing earlier in the evening. Guests are urged to wear costumes.
“[Vancouver actor] Jacques Lalonde had a Fringe Festival play where he played Donald Trump, and he will be here dressed as Trump – he really channels Trump, ” Lea said with a laugh.
Bars, such as Koerner’s Pub at the University of British Columbia, will show election results on TV.
Other bars, however, have chosen to rent space for private parties.
Doolin’s Irish Pub on Granville Street, for example, has two private parties booked for the evening: one is for a 60-person political science group from Simon Fraser University while the other is a private group that will fill a 28-seat area upstairs.
TVs in the main bar will likely show sports, said Kate Bobroske, marketing and partnership manager for Doolin’s owner Granville Entertainment Group.
“It can get a bit sticky running politics in bars, ” she said.
“Unofficial rules are ‘No politics and religion in bars’ because it can create arguments when alcohol is involved. But we will try to accommodate our guests. If we have a private area and it is not going to bother anyone, we will absolutely show the election.” •