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What is Lost Property collecting during the Olympic period?

A box of single mittens found on transit. How sad!

A box of single mittens found on transit. How sad!

The Lost Property office in Stadium-Chinatown Station

The Lost Property office in Stadium-Chinatown Station

I went down to our Lost Property office in Stadium-Chinatown Station on Thursday morning, to see what they’ve collected for the Games period!

The first thing I saw was a big tub of mittens by the door, filled with single mittens! How sad! So do check with Lost Property if you lost a treasured Olympic mitt on transit—call 604-682-7887 or e-mail them.

(Do try the e-mail address, since the phone is often busy with all the calls they get. They do pay attention to the e-mails!)

For the Games period, Lost Property is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week (they’re usually only Monday to Friday). It’s currently a two to four day wait to get your items back, rather than the regular one-day wait — it’s because lost items are gathered from the depots and delivered by truck to the Lost Property office, and deliveries have to be made before 6 a.m. in downtown Vancouver right now.

Wallets ready to be picked up by their owners.

Wallets ready to be picked up by their owners.

Above are the wallets that are ready to be picked up by their owners. Nora, the Lost Property workleader, pulled this drawer open and said, “Look how honest Vancouver people are!” Which is very true, people of Vancouver :)

Wallets are kept for 30 days, but most stuff in the office is kept for a maximum of 14 days. What happens to the stuff if no one picks it up? Items like Care Cards and birth certificates are sent back to their government agencies, and the rest is donated to charity.

Lost items collected by Vancouver Transit Centre.

Lost items collected by Vancouver Transit Centre.

I arrived just as the regular shipment of items was being unpacked. This is the array of items collected by the folks at Vancouver Transit Centre. One box is filled by each depot and then locked, and Lost Property is the only one who has the key to unlock the boxes, to keep things safe.

On average they usually get about 4,000 items a month, and Nora said the volumes of stuff being dropped off haven’t really increased for the Olympic period. They are, however, getting a lot more shopping bags filled with souvenirs, lots of cameras (poor tourists!), and lots more people are coming into the office to ask for directions and help.

Also, for the Games period only, if Lost Property gets a passport turned in from the TransLink system, it will be passed along to Transit Police, and police will take the necessary steps to return it, including contacting the relevant consulate. They’ll hang onto the passport until the Olympics are over and then return it to the home country.

The shopping bags left on transit!

The shopping bags left on transit!

Nobody seems to be coming in distraught over lost stuff right now. “Tourists are very relaxed,” said Nora. “If they lose something, they don’t expect to get it back. But they are very very impressed when they do.”

“I had a guy from somewhere in the Middle East, he had bought Valentine gifts for his girlfriend at the Olympic store. They were here over the weekend and he was so happy on Monday when he got it back. He said, ‘She didn’t believe me when I said I bought her something!’ That was a very cute story.”

A plant was left on transit!

A plant was left on transit!

Nora also said that Lost Property has gone completely out of their way to return some things. A woman left her travel documents on a bus, and needed them to fly back to Portugal the next morning.

“I had one of the staff members go all the way to Gateway Station and wait for the delivery truck. [That’s where our main mailroom is located.] For security reasons, only we hold the key to open those boxes, so it was a real rush to get this lady’s travel documents and get it here before 5 o’clock. It was a coordination between the depot, communications centre, management, the mailroom, and us. So it was really a group effort to get her out of the country on time.”

Someone's cigarettes were even turned in!

Someone's cigarettes were even turned in!

All right, now it’s time for the fun part. What strange things have turned up in Lost Property so far? A pack of cigarettes is one!

The miracle healings section.

The miracle healings section.

You just won’t believe the number of crutches and canes in there. There are miracle healings on transit!

Millie Jackson records.

Millie Jackson records.

The “Oddballs” shelf had a stack of Millie Jackson records.

A guitar and a car seat.

A guitar and a car seat.

There was also a guitar and a car seat.

A VHS tape recording of Highlander!

A VHS tape recording of Highlander!

My absolute favourite is this VHS tape recording of Highlander! Although it seems someone may have taped over it with “The Professional.”

Back to Back, the Bobcat Goldthwait/Michael Rooker star vehicle, on VHS!

Back to Back, the Bobcat Goldthwait/Michael Rooker star vehicle, on VHS!

And just underneath the Highlander tape was my second favourite discovery: the VHS version of Back to Back, a Pulp-Fiction-inspired movie from 1996 starring Bobcat Goldthwait and Michael Rooker.

In the medical box, there was a blood glucose monitor, an inhaler, an eyelash curler, and a retainer.

In the medical box, there was a blood glucose monitor, an inhaler, an eyelash curler, and a retainer.

Here’s what was inside the box labeled “Medical items” at the office.

Umbrellas!

Umbrellas!

But okay, okay, those are just the oddballs! Umbrellas are the number one thing turned in on transit. This is just one shelf of many.

A skateboard!

A skateboard!

And there are a surprising number of skateboards in the office. I saw at least four.

That’s it for now… Nora said she would pass along any interesting stories as they came by!


23 Comments

  • By Gregory of BritishStudent.ca, February 19, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    Wow, all those Olympic mittens that the shops are continually running out off, and so many end up in your Lost Property collection!

    Are there any strange things to be found together? If the guitar and car seat got lost on the same bus, there could be an interesting story behind it!

  • By Daniel, February 19, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

    Is this where some people can also get those cutouts from translink?

  • By Kate, February 19, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

    This is, quite possibly, the most hilarious Buzzer blog post ever.

  • By Stefan, February 19, 2010 @ 5:54 pm

    “There are miracle healings on transit!”

    You have a gift for humour, Michelle.

    By the way, your enthusiasm covering all the hullabaloo around transit during these games is infectious!

    I can understand losing an umbrella or (regrettably) a wallet, but how does one forget a car seat or a skateboard?

  • By Stefan, February 19, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

    “Michelle”!? Sorry, “Jhenifer”!

  • By ericmk, February 19, 2010 @ 8:39 pm

    Millie Jackson records! It’s rare to find records these days. Honestly, I never heard of Millie Jackson before, then I listened to “A Moment’s Pleasure” on youtube. The song, especially the parts where she talks, was disturbing, yet somehow I found it amusing. Whoever lost their records is missing some funny stuff! :)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 19, 2010 @ 8:52 pm

    Gregory:
    The car seat and guitar weren’t found together actually, but it would have been fun if they were. I wish the VHS tapes had been found together though. Somebody would have missed out on an epic movie night.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 19, 2010 @ 8:52 pm

    Daniel: Nope, come to the main office in Burnaby to get the cutouts!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 19, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

    Stefan:
    I can understand the mixup. Michelle’s got a gift for humour too :)

  • By Dave 2, February 19, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

    What, no false teeth? Usually these stories include tales of false teeth.

    I lost an umbrella at Expo ’86 opening day, May 2 1986 on the 210… never got it back.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 19, 2010 @ 9:58 pm

    Dave 2:
    Does the retainer count? It’s still tooth-related.

  • By Holly, February 20, 2010 @ 3:49 pm

    Thanks for this great post! It reminded me to check in with the Lost Property office re: my lost videocamera (lost last weekend on my way up to Cypress to see the women’s moguls). Amazingly, they had it! I dropped by this afternoon and picked it up. Hooray!

  • By Cliff, February 20, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

    The solution to those mittens/gloves is simply.

    Wash them, then pair them up and resell them!

  • By Mike, February 21, 2010 @ 9:49 am

    So what will happen to the cigarettes after 14 days? Will they be donated to charity, or returned to a government agency (Health Canada or BC Ministry of Health Services)? lol.

  • By Jack, February 22, 2010 @ 9:26 am

    Umm… now anyone can claim the cigarettes, because you revealed which bus/route and time i was found in your photo. :P

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 22, 2010 @ 10:47 am

    Oops. I guess some lucky smoker is in for a treat!

  • By ;-), February 25, 2010 @ 11:44 am

    Global TV talked about a Vanoc lost and found a few nights ago. Does anyone know where it is?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, February 25, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

    Near Broadway & Cambie. There’s VANOC Lost and Found signs on some of the bus stops there. Not sure of its exact location though!

  • By Ric, March 21, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    What happens to items such as wallets, U-passes, fare cards, student cards, iPods and other valuables that no one claims?

    I lost a flashlight on the bus about two days ago. Could it be at the lost property office? I also believe that I left my laptop charger plugged into one of the power outlets at the tables on the Westcoast Express, about a month ago. Would it also be at the lost property office?

Other Links to this Post

  1. A very good day indeed. — November 19, 2010 @ 7:19 am

  2. The Buzzer blog » Friday fun poll: have you ever found a lost item on transit and turned it in? — January 21, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

  3. The Buzzer blog » Report your lost items in our handy new form — May 22, 2012 @ 8:02 am

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