Small company. Big office. Really big, in fact – as in Vancouver’s central library. Entrepreneur and history buff Will Woods proudly remembers VPL’s main location downtown as his office-away-from-the-office: the place where it all started.
His Forbidden Vancouver tour company is built on the work he did at VPL, where he delved into the dark and saucy history of the city – opium! bootlegging! an infamous nightclub! – that is today his stock-in-trade.
Research, he says, is critical to his growing business, which over the last five years has thrived in offering walking tours and theatre-style adventures into Vancouver’s past, and earned a top rating on a major online travel site.
“So much of that history of Vancouver is lovingly housed at VPL,” says Woods, who heralds the “supernatural ability” of library staff to help him find just what he needs.
“That research [for Forbidden Vancouver] continues to this day, and it’s the historic backbone to our tours,” he says.
Where Woods is a regular to the library’s historical holdings – its special collections section – the wealth of resources, specialized databases (no charge!), free Wi-Fi and hands-on workshops are destinations for others exploring their own fledgling ventures.
“I look around at the desks every time I’m at the library and I see so many start-ups and entrepreneurs hard at work.”
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