I used to work in the Belmont Building, pictured here (thanks to my friend Kathy Garner for the photo). It was home to the headquarters of the provincial Ministry of Social Services, and I have quite a few memories of it. Here are a couple for your enjoyment.
So there was a woman who was a smoker who worked on the top floor. Unlike some buildings, the executive floor was the 7th and the 8th was just a lot of admin/clerical staff, kind of like an attic garret. Anyway, when they stopped allowing smoking inside the building, she didn’t like going all the way downstairs for a puff. Not being afraid of heights, she started just opening the window, climbing out, and sitting on the ledge you can see in the picture, and having a quiet smoke on her own. One day the Deputy Minister of Education looked out of his window in another building a couple of blocks away and saw her climb out the window. He thought it was a suicide attempt, and called police and of course our DM as well. Well it got really exciting fast for a lot of people! And I don’t think anyone ever tried that again!
A little while after that, I met a tour guide who told me a funny story about the Belmont Building. He was driving a bus full of mostly German and Dutch tourists who noticed a number of women standing on the sidewalk smoking around 10:00 one morning. One of the tourists asked quizzically why the prostitutes in Victoria went to work so early in the day. The guide had to explain that they weren’t hookers really, they were just office workers on a break!
Then there was the time somebody came in on the weekend to do some extra work. They brought their dog, who happened to crap in the stairwell. One of the first people who came in on Monday simply put a box over the offending mess and left a cryptic note to the effect of “don’t move this box or you’ll be sorry”. Well the next person saw it and thought it was a bomb threat. The building was cleared and they called the bomb squad. Then they discovered the bomb squad were all away at CFB Chilliwack (quite a long distance away) on a training exercise. So they fired up one of those aging Sea King helicopters and flew the team back who blew up the box of shit. In the meantime all the nearby coffeeshops did record setting business.