I saw a bunch of kids lining up for the new Harry Potter movie, out at the theater on 164th Avenue, days in advance of the opening. Doesn’t the city of Vancouver have a no-camping ordinance? I am wondering whether those kids can get in trouble for camping out on the sidewalk like that. What’s the difference between kids camping outside a movie theater and homeless guys camping in Esther Short Park?
— Ruth from Ravenclaw
About as much difference as there is between a wizard zooming through the air on a magic broomstick and a Muggle running down the street while straddling a kitchen mop. Or between the apparently guilty Sirius Black and the truly guilty Peter Pettigrew. Or between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Or between — well, you get the idea.
According to Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp, there’s no comparison. People who have decided to make a public park their home are a different species of dragon from eager moviegoers awaiting a box office opening.
“‘Camping’ is the operative word,” she said. People like to call waiting in line overnight “camping out,” but nobody is actually living on the sidewalk or occupying that space as if it was their residence. What the moviegoers are doing is waiting for doors to open. If the cinema has no problem with that, the police certainly don’t.
Kapp said Vancouver police won’t be citing anyone under the no-camping ordinance while they’re stacking up to see if Harry has grown a beard yet. (But it might be interesting to see if any of the moviegoers are old enough, or waiting long enough, to sprout stubble of their own.)
— Scott Hewitt