Tuesday, April 6th, 12:00am

“Circuit Breaker”


It was a strange day at the Club, last Tuesday.

A full year since we had to close operations and take our first awkward steps into a new reality, last Tuesday felt the same: rooms were empty; employees were few; and the beautiful flowers on display in the lobby in anticipation of our Easter celebration sat disappointed like a debutant whose escort had failed to show up and take her to the ball. Quiet had taken hold; we turn off the music when we are closed. After all, what’s the point of providing the perfect accompanying score without the dance of members as they come and go? Outside the Club, traffic was slow. There weren’t many people around except for a group of tourists in what is called “Lot 19” taking pictures of the cherry blossoms.

Two weeks ago, our President, Christopher Gaze, delivered an optimistic message about the coming of spring. The tree behind him showed just a hint, just an inkling of its coming bloom. But by Tuesday of last week, in a surprise move that manages to catch us most beautifully off guard every spring, all of the trees in the courtyard had strode forward. The trees on the opposite side of the lot were three-quarters there, but ‘our’ tree outside the Bar & Grill’s Atrium was in full glorious bloom. It probably has to do with the extra sunlight in that corner of the lot, perhaps picking up reflected energy from the windows of the Waterfront Centre, but I like to believe this happens because of closeness to the Club. Whatever the reason, the spirit that drives the fuse that drives the tree did not hear the announcement from Dr. Bonnie Henry. For it there will be no lockdown. There will be no restrictions. The tree is simply blooming and following inherited instinct. It will flower, pollinate, and bear fruit. It will seek its destiny.

This bursting forth of life just outside a lifeless club might seem in stark contrast, but we have been here before. This is, sadly, no longer a new reality. We see this in a language that has elaborated around lockdowns (there are forty-two synonyms in the pivot – I think we have done them all) and now Dr. Bonnie Henry has added her “circuit breaker” to the lexicon. It is a clunkily effective image, being so mechanistic, and therefore so simple. We must take it seriously while at the same time knowing that we and the institutions we create are not machines, but are, like the tree, living beings.

As President Christopher Gaze said in his message, there will be setbacks. And now a big switch has been thrown. But that tree behind him, I have learned, has developed the ability to adapt to freezing weather and low temperatures. So too has the Club to its own challenges. What the last closure taught us is how our building, as beautiful as it is, is only alive when it has members. The employees, as eager as they are, can only feel the joy of their service when they have members to serve. It’s the cycle of the Club. The building lives and breaths. Both members and staff provide the music. It makes the tree stronger, the fruit sweeter.

Nature has a way of dealing with setbacks. It withdraws, waits for the sun, and returns bearing fruit. We have had a second setback, a change. We will re-collaborate, plan for a healthier season. It will come. It always does.

In the meantime, stay safe. We will see you in a month when we will all be “Back to Business”.

Philip Ireland
General Manager & COO

Spring Renewal: A Message from President Christopher Gaze


Please note, while current restrictions limit in-Club services, we are working to provide members with more virtual, personal and creative ways to engage. Stay tuned for “Circuit Breaker” specials and new activities: