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Castlegar X-Files: the lighter side of current events

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
December 2nd, 2009

The Castlegar Visitor Centre has enjoyed unprecedented traffic over the past year – and with that have come some very, ahem, interesting queries for which staff struggled to find answers … spawning The Source‘s first annual edition of our Happily Ever After in Castlegar awards.

Chamber of Commerce executive director Pam McLeod said there’s a file set aside specifically for the sometimes-unanswerable questions that staff field.

“We call it the X File,” she said. “We use it to train summer staff and volunteers, so they know how to log the calls, and they get a sense of what to say when a question like this comes in.”

We’ll just use a sampling of the best for our awards, but as the Visitor Centre’s popularity continues to grow, there’s sure to be fodder for plenty more X-File updates… and subsequent Happily Ever After awards.

This reporter’s favourite has to be the film crew that called back in August, wanting to know exactly how much snow would be on the ground in Castlegar come December. With no fortune teller to hand, and a caller unwilling to take, “No one knows for sure,” for an answer, staff finally mollified addressed the question with website information for Environment Canada.

Top points for a lack of familiarity with the region go to the bus tour, which pulled into the Visitors Centre and disgorged passengers saying they’d seen signs for the “Virgin’s Tomb” and wanted to know how to get back there.

The number-one ‘false advertising’ complaint came from a woman who entered the visitors centre, quite perturbed, as she had seen countless signs for wildlife but had not seen any actual wildlife – and she wanted to know why not?

The frugal-is-as-frugal-does award is reserved for a man who came into the Visitor Centre and asked where he could go camping with his RV, explaining he needed water and electricity. The counsellor started to share the list and the man interrupted and said, “No, I don’t want to pay – isn’t there somewhere I can just plug in?”

The staffer-of-the-month award goes to the counsellor who fielded this question, “Where can we go to discover gold?”, and heroically refrained from answering, “If I knew that, I wouldn’t be answering this phone, now would I?”

The top don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed-today call came from someone wanting to know if it was raining in Castlegar that day. The counsellor look out the window and saw rain coming down in sheets, and replied, “yes, where are you calling from?”

“Castlegar,” was the answer.

No award list would be complete without the why-are-you-asking prize, which goes to the caller who wanted to know, “Are all the car dealerships open on Sundays in Kelowna?” Staff asked if there was any particular one they can find out about for the caller? “No, we just want to know if they are all open.”

There are plenty of runners-up for the thinks-Castlegar-is-smaller-than-it-really-is award, but honours this year go to the caller who had this to say, “I am looking for someone who used to work in Nelson at, um, something Forests. I was told that he moved to Castlegar. He used to play hockey when he was young and I need to get hold of him to help with some carpentry. I don’t know his name but he hangs out at the local pub. I can’t remember the name of the pub but it is a dive. I’ll leave you my cell number so that if you find him you can ask him to call me. He will know who it is.”

And we haven’t even touched on the sub-X-File cache of What About Bob questions …check back with The Source for ongoing coverage of what Happily Ever After looks like from the Visitor Centre perspective.

Categories: General

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