Gotta love Jack Knox!!

Which brings us back to the original question of when our national holiday became a permission slip to not only go off your nut, but to do so in public.


Knox column: When did sex in public become a Canada Day tradition?

Jack Knox, Times Colonist Published: Saturday, July 05, 2008

Flag-waving, yes. Face-painting, sure. Fireworks, you bet. But when, the mom on the phone wants to know, did having sex in public become a Canada Day tradition in Victoria?

She asks this after her 16-year-old daughter, walking down Douglas around 10 p.m. on July 1, was treated to a unique piece of street theatre. There, testing the strength of the bus stop bench by Pandora Avenue, was a young couple -- he with his pants around his ankles, she astride his lap -- boinking away for all the world to see.

And they say romance is dead.

This, the daughter pointed out to the mom, followed a famous Canada Day incident in which a naked couple went at it while pressed up against one of the front windows of the Fairmont Empress. It was an intentionally public performance, timed to give the massive Inner Harbour crowd an eyeful to rival the fireworks across the water.

I have heard the latter story before, though never from an eyewitness. Ditto for Empress manager Roger Soane, who was told the tale by staff. It didn't seem to surprise him, given the general level of debauchery now associated with July 1 in downtown Victoria. "It does seem that some people lose their inhibitions on Canada Day."

Yes, but in a window in the Empress?

"It was on someone's bucket list, maybe," suggested Soane.

It's not the first time someone has polished the panes of a hotel in plain view. In the 1990s, Toronto's SkyDome Hotel became notorious for the activities of couples providing off-field entertainment for Blue Jays fans in the adjoining ball park, which some suggested renaming Exhibition Stadium. (Others preferred "the ConDome.") Eventually, hotel guests were asked to sign an agreement requiring them to close the drapes before they opened their arms. That hasn't proven necessary at the Empress, where guests are more likely to rattle teacups than windows.

Not that our visitors are immune to al fresco action. The Times Colonist's Louise Dickson once wrote a story that touched upon the below-decks boffing that occasionally turns B.C. Ferries vessels into the Love Boat: "One deckhand spotted an older man making love to a younger woman in his car. When the deckhand tried to tell them their behaviour was not appropriate, the old man replied: 'Go away. This doesn't happen to me very often.'" Maybe they had been lured here by Tourism Victoria's infamous "Your search for the perfect orgasm is over" ad campaign.

Then there are the couples whom the police discover squirrelled away in odd outdoor corners of the city. Legendary street cop Doug Bond was driving by the Johnson Street Bridge one night when he saw a pedestrian staring up into the ironwork. "Uh-oh," said Bondo, "there's a jumper." Actually, it was a humper -- two of them, in fact, way up where they thought no one would see them. Bond called up: "Haven't you ever heard of safe sex? Get down here."

A few months later I related that story to a panhandler who was complaining that Victoria offered no place for homeless people to, um, you know, out of public view. At that point the panhandler's companion, who I thought had passed out, perked up and said, "That was me and the girlfriend! The cop was real nice about it."

But there's a difference between those who seek out semi-seclusion through desperation and those who go at it in public because they think Canada Day is an excuse to lose their inhibitions (as well as their pants).

Victoria police didn't nab the bus-bench boinkers on Canada Day. But they did break up two women who were sprawled across a downtown sidewalk in a torrid encounter, one atop the other, with an enthusiastic crowd urging them on. Blame alcohol, blame drugs, blame the atmosphere on what has become Victoria's biggest party night/barf fest of the year.

Police say they could have arrested hundreds of drunken young people downtown on July 1, but had to limit themselves to dealing with those who posed the most threat to themselves and others. (Makes you proud to be Canadian, eh?)

Which brings us back to the original question of when our national holiday became a permission slip to not only go off your nut, but to do so in public. Please, Victoria, get a room. And close the curtains.

jknox@tc.canwest.com

Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008


Sometimes ya just gotta shake yer head in wonder. I guess there could be worse things.....?