Vancouver economy suffers in wake of wet June weather
Manager Richard Gomez on the patio of Bridges Restaurant in Vancouver. June's rainy weather hit some businesses hard, like Bridges restaurant on Granville Island. CEO Peter Horwood said no one comes out to a patio establishment when it rains. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)
June's rainy weather made a splash on Vancouver's economy last month as some businesses were left to wallow in the wet, while others benefited from those seeking to escape the rain.
Vancouver Art Gallery spokeswoman Dana Sullivant said about 44,000 people took shelter from the showers and explored the gallery last month - up considerably from the 25,000 who visited in June 2011.
But Bridges restaurant, nestled on Granville Island, took a hit as rain blanketed the city and kept people from visiting its sprawling patio.
"If you were recommending to friends to come to Vancouver, would you tell them to come in June? Not a chance," Bridges CEO Peter Horwood said.
He estimates the restaurant experienced a 15% decline last month compared to June 2011 thanks to the rain, wind and cool temperatures.
Meanwhile, English Bay Bike Rentals owner Joe Kainer said American tourism remained somewhat steady despite a drop in overall business during June.
He added it's mostly visitors from Seattle - people already used to wet weather - that braved the rain last month, while many locals stayed indoors.
"The one trend you do find that is remarkable is after extended rain, you get a big rush of people," he said, recalling how rentals picked up last July when the weather got sunnier.
Tourism Vancouver spokeswoman Amber Sessions also noted American tourism stayed consistent last month despite the rain. She said Vancouver doesn't market itself as a sun destination, so visitors know what to expect.
"Our general feeling is that weather doesn't really seem to deter overnight visitors," she said, adding Americans from Texas or Florida often frequent the city just to escape oppressive heat.
Debbie Estell, executive director of the BC Blueberry Council, said Lower Mainland farmers would welcome additional heat after they lost crop due to the rain and cold weather in June.
Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips said there is some light at the end of the tunnel with sunny and dry weather in the low-to-mid 20s expected for the end of this week and into next.
He said it would be a good change of pace after last month's 77 mm of precipitation nearly doubled the rainfall compared to June 2011. Furthermore, showers hit the city 25 out of the last 37 days, while the weather remained cool and cloudy even on most days it didn't rain.
"June was about as miserable as you could possibly could get."