PORT HARDY—Port Hardy Rotary plans to leave visitors high and dry this year.
The local Rotary Club has purchased and place 80 blue umbrellas in bins in local businesses as it resurrects an umbrella exchange program for residents and visitors alike.
"Because it rains a little bit here," Rotarian Robert Gagnon said when asked the inspiration for the program.
The umbrella exchange was tried several years ago, but fell into disuse when the umbrellas eventually wandered off to parts unknown. A couple of new features may help prevent the loss of the umbrellas, which may be carried from one participating vendor to another and left there for the next user.
First, the new umbrellas are all labeled with the Rotary Clubs International logo and the names and addresses of all participating businesses.
"When a person visiting from another country sees the Rotary logo, they won't even have to speak our language to understand it," said Gagnon.
Second, Rotarian Joli White added a QR code to each of the tags, which allows visiting users with smart phones to scan the tag to find the location of the businesses participating in the exchange.
"It's a great benefit to Port Hardy," said Colleen Douglas, branch manager at CIBC, one of the participants in the exchange. "We can get more customers coming in, and even if they're not our customers, we can still meet them in the lobby and introduce ourselves. They'll be able to encounter different stores and different people."
And keep out of the rain while they're at it.