Harry Potter’s Last Stand in the GVRD

The trucks delivering them have satellite tracking systems so they don’t veer off their assigned routes. The pallets with the product have alarms. The lawyers are standing by. It’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and, thanks to ubiquitous marketing, we all know the book goes on sale at one minute past midnight this Saturday.

With the impending conclusion to the Potter saga, one wonders what will happen to everyone left in teh boy wizard’s wake. What will Raincoast Books do now that they will no longer have their cash cow? The Vancouver-based publishing company “landed publishing’s equivalent of the Alberta oilsands” nearly ten years ago; they have published more than 10 million Potter books and even renamed their conference rooms Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Will the new Florida Harry Potter theme park be any good when it opens in 2009?

I somehow caught the excitement. Yes, I have read all the books and watched most of the movies, but not out of some actual interest in Harry Potter. I mean, I only read the Half-Blood Prince a year after it came out. Plus I have never, ever given JK Rowling any of my money. I don’t own anything Harry Potter. Except for the Harry and the Potters CD. But I am certain Rowling didn’t see a penny of that money.

Strangely enough, I feel the need to get involved with this last Potter book.

When the last Potter book came out in 2005, Vancouver Kids Books hosted an award-winning street party that closed the bus lane along Broadway. Even our premier Gordon Campbell got involved, disguised as wise old Dumbledore.

Estimates suggest that more than 200,000 people in Canada will attend one of the 400 or so Harry Potter midnight candlight readings, costume parties and events in libraries and bookstores. This is the last chance to join lots of people who are excited about a book. When will everyone have another chance at mass nerdiness?

For those local Potterphiles, I’ve gleaned the Vancouver Sun (before the links go dead) and the Straight for any Potter listings:

  • Vancouver Kids Books will again have their Harry Potter launch, this time held at the Van Dusen Gardens (5251 Oak Street). Tickets are available at the Vancouver location (3083 West Broadway, 604-738-5335) for $32 which includes a copy of the book, while extra tickets are $3 each. The party starts at 11 pm, and features Celtic band Blackthorn, street performers, stiltwalkers, jugglers and wizards giving out quizzes and lightning-bolt tattoos. The Vancouver store will also open at midnight for people who just want the book.
  • North Vancouver’s Kids Books will also have a street party (3040 Edgemont Boulevard, 604-986-6190), no other details.
  • Maple Ridgers can head to the Maple Ridge Fairgrounds for their Black Bond Books Harry Potter party (at 105 Avenue off the Lougheed Highway next to Planet Ice, 604-463-8624) at 11 pm tomorrow night. Pre-pay for your book and get a ticket. This Harry Potter party will have a sorting hat, a dragon, a live owl, Cameron Fisk the Wandering Magician, a chemistry laboratory, a “have you seen this Muggle?” photo-op, a full-size Hogwarts Express train, and possibly flying witches.
  • In Mission, head to Black Bond Books in the Junction Shopping Centre (#344-32555 London Avenue, 604-814-2650) to see the Hogwarts Express and Platform 9 3/4 and costumes. Vie for prizes.
  • For those of you in Ladner, go to Black Bond Books in Trenant Park Square Shopping Centre (5251 Ladner Trunk Road, 604-946-6677) for magicians, draws for the best costumes, games and more.
  • Another Black Bond Books, this time in South Surrey (#1-15562-24th Avenue, 604-536-4444), will also have a magician, games, prizes, craft, “Discover your animal Patronus,” and another “Have You Seen This Muggle?” photo op.
  • The Langley Black Bond Books will have recreations of scenes from the Harry Potter books, games and prizes ( #138b-19653 Willow Brook Drive, across the street from Willowbrook Mall, 604-533-7577).
  • All Chapters locations and the Richmond Centre, Park Royal, Oakridge Centre, Lougheed Mall, Brentwood Mall, Willowbrook Mall, Seven Oaks Mall (Abbotsford) and Cottonwood Corner (Chilliwack) Coles stores will have “wizardly” activities, games, prizes and more. Heck, show up with the best costume and they’ll give you a free copy of the book!
  • If you can’t stay up all night, the UBC Bookstore has a Saturday morning party (6200 University Boulevard, 604-822-2665, 10 am – 1 pm) featuring the Wizard’s Wand Snack Bar (courtesy of UBC Food Services), Merlin the Magician, Magic Potions 101 from the “Let’s Talk Science” experts, decorating your very own Harry Potter cupcakes, prizes and complimentary parking at the north side meters.

Other Vancouver-area bloggers who’ve written about Harry Potter recently:

Any I’ve missed?

4 Comments so far

  1. Paul Hillsdon (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 2:22 am

    Hey thanks for the wrapup. I was just researching this myself just a second ago. I’m pretty sure it was Larry Campbell, not Gordo, who dressed up as Dumbledore. I doubt Sam Sullivan is awesome often to participate.

    I want to attend the Van Dusen party, but having no main Potter friends, it’s gonna be kinda weird going there by myself! If anyone else here is going, pls contact me on my blog. Once in a lifetime event here.


  2. Darren (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 5:28 am

    I think ‘anti-fan’ is a bit strong. They just didn’t float my broom. I’m a non-fan. I’m Potter-agnostic.


  3. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

    Great post. Anyone know if showing up at a Chapters tonight is worth it if I don’t have a pre-order for the book? My Amazon order hasn’t shipped yet.


  4. Maktaaq (unregistered) on July 20th, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

    Dang, it’s past 11 and I am still home. Guess I missed the last hurrah for a book. Maybe next time people will go crazy over the next Moomin comicbook published and I can join that party.

    Paul: If you got to Van Dusen, let us know how it went!

    Darren: It shouldn’t have come off sounding like the “antichrist.”

    Jeffrey: The Amazon order will ship tomorrow – they worked it out with Canada Post. But tonight’s parties…not sure…Matt said he went earlier this evening and it was somewhat festive.



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