Name: Mike Wilson
Organization/Business: Club Card
What do you do and how did you get here?
We are a printing company that also offers graphic and web design services. I started Club Card in 1994 with my business partner, Mike Buchannan. We worked hard and our first real gig was designing and printing people’s resumes and providing fax services. Our first graphic job was as a result of a chance meeting with a neighbour who is a filmmaker. He needed a book created for a show in Milan. We had no idea what we were doing or even how to create what he wanted. We learned everything we needed to know about the printing business and Club Card began to quickly grow. We have been in Gastown now for about 9 years.
If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?
What do you love about the neighbourhood?
I was born here and I love that this is the original Vancouver. This is how it pretty much looked to my parents and to their parents. I like that there is a mix of everything. You have Versace and then you have services likes ours. The restaurants here are amazing. Gastown is the place where restaurateurs come to experiment and develop new concepts and ideas. It’s special to have witnessed the neighbourhood go from a lot of ups and downs to where it is today. Gastown’s growth is phenomenal yet it hasn’t lost its local vibe. Of course, the tourists love it here but come to the neighbourhood in the evenings and on weekends and you’ll see people from all over the city coming to Gastown – not just for the entertainment but the food, culture and atmosphere. It’s the real Vancouver.
What’s your most memorable happy moment or experience in Gastown?
More than just one specific moment, my happy memories are from my encounters with the people who live in this neighbourhood. I have never felt threatened or uneasy. Along with the retail and street level ‘hip’ side of Gastown, there is a real neighbourhood that exists here. I can remember many interactions with Gastown residents and in particular those with addiction and metal health issues and the vast majority of those experiences have been positive and uplifting.
What’s your philosophy for a good life?
Do what you really love. As cliché as it sounds, there’s so much truth in that. Find what brings you joy and work at growing your passion. We spend so much time in our jobs, it might as well be in something that you like doing.