Rain City Takes a Stand

24 March 2018 – It’s been raining. To be expected, here in Vancouver.

How else would that dog grow such a magnificent crop of moss on his head?

Lots of rain = lots of umbrellas = lots of umbrella stands.

Right there inside every public access door, upmarket or down, retail or public sector, frivolous or serious or medical or artsy, or whatever.

I first noticed the phenomenon last October 12, when a deluge had us all shedding more umbrellas in the Scotiabank Dance Centre than the receptacles could handle.

You may remember the shot. It was my first umbrella stand photo, and I’ve been taking them ever since.

Today’s rain is a good excuse to show you some.

Mimimalism is the rule at both The Mighty Oak grocery & coffee bar on West 18th …

and at Elysian Coffee on West 5th.

Crema, down by the West Van Seawall, is also a coffee bar, but takes a much more exuberant approach. Their umbrella stand is in fact a coat-cum-umbrella rack, but, this drizzly day, umbrellas have commandeered the whole thing.


Colourful brollies and yet more colour right outside the door — all those daffs happily blooming, even though it’s still early February.

The Dr. Vigari Art Gallery on Commercial Drive takes a surprisingly austere approach — where’s the artistic flair? On the other hand, it does provide clear instructions, and one handsome resident brolly to show you how it’s done.

Pfui! says Exposure Clothing over on Main Street: instructions, yes, but let’s have some fun with those demo brollies.

The stand at VIDA Eye Care on West Broadway is suitably clear …

while an oral surgeon farther west swathes his umbrella stand in a big lavender bow. (Perhaps to take your mind off the fact that you are indeed at the dentist’s?)

The Sally Ann Thrift Shop on East 12th takes a thrifty, but highly functional, approach . ..

and the Art Gallery of Ontario — I couldn’t help myself! — offers functionality as well, but probably paid more for the container.

In fact, it is so elegant that it is not an umbrella stand. It is an umbrella drop station, and don’t you forget it.

(It is also empty. That’s because the sky was heaving down snow that mid-March day, not rain.)





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  1. It’s been raining a lot here in Penticton too, but I haven’t been noticing umbrella stands. 🙂

  2. Where do you put your snow shoes?

    • So funny you ask that — the ending I originally planned for that post was some joke about T.O. needing snow-shoe storage, not umbrella stands. Now thanks to you, the joke has its day.

  3. There’s no limit to clever ways to achieve something useful!

  4. Fascinating! I liked the duck umbrellas.

  5. I love the self serve umbrella stand – funny, in Seattle it rains a lot too, but people don’t like to carry umbrellas. They wear rain gear and that’s that. That dog with accoutrements is fabulous. You know, I have a feeling that if you moved to another city, a city without eccentric expressions of public art, they would follow you, and soon everyone would be the better for it. 😉

    • There’s a fierce no-umbrella contingent here as well (and yes, I now own a Vcr-made rain hat, which can often sub for an umbrella) — but even so, it is a city of umbrella stands.

  6. Tom

     /  26 March 2018

    In some places in Asia (Hong Kong comes to mind), visitors to buildings and some shopping malls are greeted upon entry on rainy days by a person who provides mandatory plastic sleeves, thus avoiding dripping all over the polished floors and rendering them dirty and slippery.

  7. susan Corbin

     /  26 March 2018

    Funny they didn’t use a brolly for the snow….sc


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