Not The Onion: 10 oddball B.C. stories that made us scratch our heads in 2018
The world can be a strange place sometimes, and it’s no different when it comes to the news.
And from time to time, a headline comes across the radar that’s so unusual it makes you do a double-take.
We’ve collected 10 of this year’s oddest stories for you below:
Hot dog water
WATCH: Goop ‘Wellness Summit’ opens in Vancouver’s Stanley Park
Would you drink hot dog water if it turned out to be a superior health product?
One Vancouver artist asked that question as a social experiment this summer, marketing slickly-branded $37.99 bottles of Hot Dog Water at Vancouver’s Main Street Car Free Day festival this summer.
The drink allegedly comes with a plethora of benefits, including being keto-compatible, gluten-free, helping improve brain function and having anti-aging properties.
Festival attendees slurped down about 60 litres worth of samples.
Of course, none of that is true. Douglas Bevans, the man behind Hot Dog water, said the exercise was meant to help highlight the “snake oil salesmen” of health and beauty marketing and encourage critical thinking.
Perhaps to prove just that point, Bevans popped up a few months later, again selling his Hot Dog Water outside of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Wellness Summit, an event that has been criticized for dubious scientific claims about the Goop brand’s products.
Teen rents house online, ensuing party causes $20,000 damage
WATCH: Girl uses parents’ credit card, rents house for wild party
It was a scenario that sounds like the plot of a teen movie, but it had very real consequences.
In March, a 14-year-old girl used her parents’ credit card, without permission, to rent a West Vancouver home through an online service and have a party.
But just like in any number of Hollywood films, that party quickly spiraled out of control — with up to 200 youth showing up.
Attendees smashed artwork, furniture, walls and threw items off a balcony.
All in all, the damage was pegged at about $20,000 — a tab the girl’s family was left to pick up.
Sending email to trees
Ever thought about emailing a tree? In Vancouver it’s something you can actually do — and the tree will write back.
Well, not exactly. An artist, writing as the tree, will write you back.
It is an art initiative called “All the Trees” taking place in Jericho and West Point Grey, in which the public is invited to send personal messages to their favourite trees.
The project was inspired by an accidental situation in Australia, in which city officials had asked people to report damaged or diseased trees by email. Instead, people ended up emailing in personal notes to the trees, expressing their admiration.
The initiative was funded through a $10,000 grant through the Park Board’s Artists in Communities program.
WATCH: Burnaby gardener shows off massive zucchinis
Franco Martorana is very proud of his zucchinis. As well he should be — they’re huge.
The proud gardener uses special seeds from his home town near Palermo, Sicily, and has been improving his technique over four decades.
Some of the veggies now measure more than five feet in length.
“Every day, I see the zucchini longer and longer until I make a zucchini five-foot or seven-foot long,” Martorana told Global News.
The sock cop
A so-called “joke” by an Abbotsford police officer didn’t see him face any charges, but may have helped derail a criminal drug trafficking case.
The incident revolved around a video played at a trafficking trial back in April, which showed the officer pick up a wad of cash during the execution of a search warrant and stuff it in his sock.
In court, the officer claimed it was a practical joke, and that he put the cash back.
However, the officer couldn’t recall how much cash was involved, when or where he put it back, and admitted he never told anyone about the “joke.”
An external investigation by the RCMP didn’t lead to any charges, but Brian MacDonald — the accused in the trafficking case —was acquitted on seven of eight charges.
In the end he was found guilty on one lesser charge of possession of a controlled substance.
Sex doll brothel
WATCH: ‘Sex doll’ company advertising in Vancouver
It’s a story that sounds like it comes from a dystopian science fiction novel or an episode of Black Mirror: Vancouver’s first sex doll brothel.
The service, called Bella Dolls, offers a variety of individual dolls, each with their own profile and “personality,” and its owners say it was inundated with interest before the doors were even open.
“We offer you an experience like no other, one where YOU are in complete control. Forget the restrictions and limitations that comes with a real partner and UNLEASH with BellaDolls,” claims its marketing.
The business began actually operating in late November.
But not everyone was on board. Critics like Vancouver Rape Relief argued the concept is dehumanizing and further perpetuates the idea of women as sex objects.
Tim Hortons meltdowns
WATCH: Woman under investigation after disturbing incident at Langley Tim Hortons
It was a year for people behaving badly in Tim Hortons restaurants.
In April, a video emerged that appeared to show a woman in a scatological rage at one of Tim Hortons’ Langley locations.
According to Tim Hortons, which said it was “deeply concerned” about the incident, it all shaped up when a woman was denied access to the location’s restroom.
In the video, she then appears to grab some paper towels, defecate on the floor, and then pick up and throw the excrement over the counter.
WATCH: Surveillance video released of New West Tim Hortons attack
In another incident in September, surveillance video captured another angry meltdown.
In this case, a man allegedly became enraged after a staff member gave him the wrong drink.
Video from the scene depicts a man angrily pacing back and forth in front of the counter before dumping his Iced Capp out and shoving the cash register at staff.
Global News caught up with the accused outside of court in November, who said, “Watching that video was pretty appalling to see myself behave in that way.”
“It has nothing to do with the cup of coffee at all,” the accused added. “I wasn’t in the right state of mind to be anywhere, really.”
B.C. Lion tackles pantless man
WATCH: B.C. Lions player hits fan who runs on field
There is a long tradition of streaking at sports events, and football games are no exception.
But most streaking incidents don’t end like this.
It happened in June during a game against the Montreal Alouettes. During a break in the second quarter, a fan without pants or shoes ran out onto the field.
While the man was running around waving to the crowd, Lions’ defensive back Marcell Young ran at him and knocked him flat onto the field.
The man was banned from B.C. Place for a year and fined $115.
He also hired a law firm, claiming he suffered serious injuries including a mild traumatic brain injury.
Would you like ID with that?
WATCH: Alleged impaired driver offers police hamburger instead of licence
During a holiday roadblock this December, police say they ran into one driver so impaired he couldn’t tell the difference between his wallet and a whopper.
It happened on Dec. 7, when Victoria police said the driver almost hit a pair of officers on his approach to the road check.
When he was asked for his ID, police said the man “tried to give his hamburger to our member instead of [his] driver’s licence. He was so impaired he could not provide a sample.”
There was no word from police about the consequences meted out to the man.
WATCH: Did a Kelowna man capture Ogopogo on video?
Was 2018 finally the year that concrete proof emerged about the existence of Okanagan Lake’s legendary creature, the Ogopogo?
The erratic, profanity-laced video was shot in September by David Halbauer near Bear Creek Provincial Park.
In it, a dark form can be seen poking above the waves of the lake — though it’s not exactly clear what the shape is.
According to Halbauer, it was a dark, snake-like creature that emerged from the water about 100 metres offshore, with a diameter wide enough that he wouldn’t have been able put his arms around it.
“When you’re sitting on the beach on a sunny day, you don’t expect to see a dinosaur coming out of the water,” he told Global News.
“It rolled up and down as it went in the water. Another lump of the same thing came up about five metres in front of it.”
The whole episode lasted about two minutes, and proved that regardless of whether the creature actually exists, its legend is very real.
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