In the back corner of Vancouver’s Kingsgate Mall is a small warehouse where Glenn Anderson keeps stacks of boxes full of Christmas decorations.
Anderson is the mall’s building manager, but in his spare time he creates vibrant displays to celebrate Canadian holidays: bright lights and jingle bells at Christmas and scarecrows and pumpkins at Halloween.
At Easter, he created a display, outfitted with toy bunnies, colorful eggs and artificial grass, inside an old storefront in the middle of the mall where people could stop and take pictures. She also dressed up as an Easter bunny and greeted customers.
Anderson, 54, says she started creating the displays during the pandemic to brighten people’s moods.
“During the pandemic, a lot of people were really depressed and it was very difficult for people,” he said.
At the mall, Anderson’s colleagues say their efforts have paid off.
“It shows a lot of love,” said Tricia Hill, owner of clothing store Stoxx Vintage. “It’s the small gestures that everyone appreciates now.”
Anderson said her love of decorating spaces dates back to her childhood in Surrey, BC. She remembers that her mother put up her artificial Christmas tree, but when she was at work, she would go out and cut down a real tree and redecorate it. .
“I’ve always liked that sort of thing,” he said through a mustache-covered smile.
spreading the love
Manoj Kumar, owner of Chai69 Cafe, said many patrons stop by to enjoy the exhibits, take photos and start conversations with others about what they see.
Decorations make people happy, he added.
Hill said Anderson’s decorations have helped make the mall a welcoming place for customers to visit.
Anderson’s efforts to help people extend beyond the mall.
When new transitional housing for people with mental health issues opened a few blocks away on Kingsway earlier this year, Anderson put together care packages filled with store coupons and household essentials to welcome residents back. to the neighborhood, according to Julie Wright, the mall’s director. property manager.
Some business owners in the mall and neighborhood raised concerns about the new housing facilities., worried that it might bring more crime. Wright said that she was impressed by Anderson’s positive attitude.
“I just thought that was deep,” Wright said.
Decorating is ‘therapeutic’
Kingsgate Mall is home to 31 businesses, including everything from a grocery store to clothing stores to furniture stores.
Kingsgate’s unique character has been in the spotlight several times over the years. There was a satirical twitter account which made fun of the mall, and a tribute song in which a Vancouverite describes the mall to the tune of singer Adele’s “Skyfall,” garnering nearly 65,000 views on YouTube.
The mall is also known for offering photos with santa at Christmas for a fraction of the price of other malls.
Anderson started working there as a temporary employee two years ago and got the job as a facility operator last year. He says that he previously worked for another maintenance company and has experience in the hospitality industry.
Anderson said she has an artistic side and also likes to draw, paint and garden. He adds that doing these activities is “almost therapeutic” for him.
He said he usually starts planning each holiday three or four months in advance. He gives you time to repair and reuse old decorations and buy new ones.
Anderson said she hopes to collaborate with Musqueam First Nation to do something to honor National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.