My Dad told me about this the other day, but I had to see it to believe it. There’s not one, but two billboards supporting Barack Obama on the Pat Bay Highway outside of Victoria. I snapped a photo of one as we passed by:
Bizarre, eh? Apparently this one went up earlier in the month:
The full-size billboard was paid for by Dean Park residents Reg and Karen Mooney with the dual purpose of provoking family debate and putting in a personal push to get troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Reg Mooney, 75, a management consultant and former president of Goodwill Bottling, is a supporter of Democratic candidate Barack Obama and recently attended one of his rallies in Las Vegas.
The second one, which also has a message for Prime Minister Harper, just went up the other day. Apparently it costs about CAN $1250 a month to run a billboard along this stretch of highway (it’s reserve land, and the billboards generate revenue for the local band).
The first billboard’s owner has strong ties to the States, but this has reasonably practical applications as well. Victoria has millions of visitors each year (I couldn’t find a reliable number, but when I worked there it had the busiest info centre in the country), and many of them are Americans. Of course, only a minority of them are entering the city via this highway, but it might be enough to justify this surprisingly low cost.
Apparently there are a measurable number of Canadians who say they’d give up their vote in the next federal election here to vote in the US election. I’m not sure where I’m at with that or what I think it says, but I think you’re right that the target for these signs is American voters visiting BC.
The majority of Americans entering Victoria pass those billboards. If they arrive via the Victoria International Airport, the Swartz Bay Ferry or the Sidney/Anacortes Ferry, they have to drive past those billboards on their way. Rumour has it those particular billboards are not being paid for, but are up as a ‘favour’ for a friend.
LJ: I’m not sure about that. Americans can take two ferry services from Washington state that take them into downtown.
* The Coho from Port Angeles
* The Clipper from Seattle
Assuming they stay downtown, they’re not going to see the billboards. Add to that the huge chunk of cruise ship traffic. We’d need some kind of analysis of incoming Americans to determine who’s right, I think.
Of course, the difference-maker is probably Butchart Gardens. I can’t remember if the billboard was north or south of the turn-off for Victoria’s most popular attraction. I’ll pay attention the next time I’m going by.
They’re north of the Keating X rd turn off.
The buses do turn at Keating, so likely they wouldn’t see the signs. The airport sees about 1.5 million passengers in a year – where they come from – who knows?
This billboard also caught my eye on the way to the ferry Sunday. I wonder if the fact that it’s on First Nations land might have something to do with it. A lot of bands do have cross border connections.
I find it interesting that they have erected these boards here, and I question the rationale behind pro-Obama vs pro-Hillary billboards.
We do have many American visitors here but as one of the previous commentors stated, with so many avenues to get into Victoria, how likely are they to be seen by those tourists?
Perhaps this is more in the interests of sparking debate and having our citizens spread the word. I imagine we will never know the real reason, though I do quite like the boards.
@toddsieling Wow. I hadn’t heard that. Very interesting. I wonder whether those feelings are shared in other countries.
If he does become President, could you imagine the crowd for his first visit to Ottawa?
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