Every local media outlet has latched onto the barge story line. In December, requests on social media were made to decorate the barge with Christmas lights (it didn’t happen). Memes, like the barge photoshopped as Vancouver’s next luxury condo building — a dig at the city’s notoriously unaffordable housing market, are mass circulated on social media. There is even a popular barge parody Twitter account.

“In Vancouver, we have a unique sense of humor, a unique sense of levity, if you will,” said Donnie Rosa, the general manager of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

In fact, the Park Board, which, in 2014, famously approved the renaming of “Guelph Park” in the trendy Mount Pleasant neighborhood just south of downtown to “Dude Chilling Park,” in honor of an art sculpture that looked like, well, a dude chilling, saw a similar opportunity with the barge. On Dec. 15, exactly a month after the barge washed up on English Bay, the board erected a temporary “Barge Chilling Beach” sign.

“It’s been a tough year, why not bring some joy to this holiday season?” said Mx. Rosa, who is nonbinary, noting the temporary sign cost under a few hundred dollars. “The amount of joy that it has brought, I think it’s money well spent.”

“I did not expect to see a sign, which I thought was pretty humorous,” said Mr. Simon. “It’s a perfect Instagram-worthy shot.”

And really, if it is not on Instagram, then it never happened, right?

“I saw some stories about the barge on social media and that’s how I knew I wanted to go here,” said Jasnoor Kaur, a young woman from Winnipeg, Manitoba, visiting her boyfriend, Ram Binner, who lives in a nearby suburb of Vancouver.

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By MD Abdullah

Abdullah is a former educator, lifelong money nerd, and a Plutus Award-winning freelance writer who specializes in the scientific research behind irrational money behaviors. Her background in education allows her to make complex financial topics relatable and easily understood by the layperson. She is the author of four books, including End Financial Stress Now and The Five Years Before You Retire.

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