Christmas was business as usual for many people

Shops did a bustling business and police found a body in an eastside rooming house
Ian Clayton Vancouver Sun, Tuesday, December 26, 2000

While Christmas meant leisure, gifts and family gatherings for many on Monday, for a lot of others it was business as usual. There were shops to be tended, babies to deliver and missing people to mourn.

At the Canadian Impressions gift shop on West Cordova, Terence Wong worked from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

"It doesn't bother me at all," Wong said about the holiday shift. "They pay us good money."

Wong said with other businesses closed on Christmas day, it made sense for Canadian Impressions to open for tourists looking for a place to shop.

"We've been doing very well the first hour -- a couple hundred bucks already," he said.

One tourist checking out Canada Place Monday was Man Chan, 33, who lives in Nova Scotia. She said she appreciates the social gatherings the holiday affords.

"It's nice that people are relaxing and being with their families," she said. "Tomorrow they're going to be shopping like crazy."

Over at St. Paul's Hospital, a baby boy was born at 3:30 a.m. on Christmas, with both mother and child in good condition, said hospital spokeswoman Connie Wilks. She said a couple of other women were due to give birth, but over-all, the hospital was "very quiet" as of Monday afternoon.

"I think some of it is psychological," she joked. "People especially don't want to get sick or hurt on Christmas day."

Still, the hospital is one place that can't close for a holiday.

"If you had kidney problems and you were on dialysis, you would be dialysed today just like any other day," she said. "Those people have to be on a regular schedule, and you can't just say, 'Well, come back tomorrow.' "

Wilks said camaraderie builds among Christmas-shift workers. "It's like when they would have Christmas in the trenches."

For those who have lost loved ones, especially to violence, Christmas can bring sadness.

Maggie deVries' sister Sarah, then 28, disappeared in the Downtown Eastside two years ago, and has never been found. DeVries said Monday was for thinking about loved ones.

"We think about the people that we have lost, and so she is certainly here with me through Christmas, which is really important."

DeVries said she talked to Sarah's daughter Jeanie, 10, who lives with her grandmother and aunt in Ontario.

"There is such a strong living bond," she said, adding that families of other women who have disappeared have tried to get on with their lives while still remembering.

"Each family has its own way of coping with the loss, and its own way of understanding the loss. I have her picture out and think about her every day, but Christmas is special."

This year, Vancouver police found a body on Christmas day in a Downtown Eastside rooming house, according to a radio report. Police would not say if the person was a man or a woman, but indicated that the death was suspicious.


Sarah Jean deVries



Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016