Moral Mayhem at Vancouver’s Mini-Bars!

Besides the Coca Cola/Dasani concession, where’s the least-likely place we’d expect to find tap water promoted during the Vancouver Olympic frenzy? Hotel mini-bars, you say?

Photo via A stainless steel refillable water bottle is featured prominently in mini-bars in Vancouver's Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel to help promote the city's tap water.

Photo via A stainless steel refillable water bottle is featured prominently in mini-bars in Vancouver

Well, surprise! During the winter games, Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim offers something new in guests’ mini bars that’s almost as shocking as the prices – a (not complimentary) metal water bottle for unlimited, free tap refills. The hotel was one of the first to join Vancouver’s campaign to encourage Olympics visitors to use the city’s tap water.

The bottle’s $12.95 price tag surely means the predatory mini-bar sales model is still safe. Also, we assume that tiny paper-topped glasses are still available in guest bathrooms and bedrooms. From CBC News via,

“Bottled water is a major seller in our guest rooms through the mini-bars,” said hotel manager Randy Zupanski. “I was concerned about the fall-off of those sales … but it’s the right thing to do.”

Tap Water, Now Competing in Vancouver

Water utilities and municipalities are finally getting hip to the promotional opportunity that big events can present. From little local festivals to the Olympics, events are a perfect place for tap water proponents to strut their stuff. Vancouver is getting in the game despite overwhelming competition from heavily-favored Coca Cola/Dasani, who has paid handsomely for their Olympic sponsorship slot.

During the Olympic Games, The City of Metro Vancouver and the Province of Ontario set up a “water wagon” downtown to offer local tap water straight from the Seymour Reservoir.

Thanks to Sweet One on Flickr, who snapped this shot on his iPhone, we can have a peek! He and others, though, pointed out that while the water was clear the benefactor was not!

Apparently the Province of Ontario is serving Metro Vancouver tap water… to promote Ontario tap water? I’m confused.

Maybe it’s because we’re all so unaccustomed to cooperation when water is involved!

Anyhow, Metro Vancouver has been running a tap water campaign since 2008; one of the the stated goals was to reduce bottled water use 20% by 2010. (Wait, that’s NOW!) With a sluggish economy, all the cheapies and frugalistas gotta love the price–13 liters for just a penny.