“Cheer up boys, we are now open!” proclaims the Friction bathhouse website.
It’s a day some doubted would ever come.
But it has, says operator Guy Nunes Vas. “We’re happy to be open,” he says. “It’s been worth the wait.”
The two-floor tub at 123 W Pender St, which officially opened its doors Jun 29 after more than a year in the works, boasts 10,000 square feet of space and has a total of 50 rooms, several locker rooms, a large steam room, a big shower facility, a big playroom with a sling and glory holes, a video room, snack bar and a gym.
“It’s quite a facility,” Nunes Vas says. “We’re very happy. Tired but happy.”
Nunes Vas says the delays in opening the tub have been due to a variety of issues but says the main ones have been the availability of tradespeople to do the work, a complaint that has been heard throughout the city since the awarding of the 2010 Olympics.
In November, Nunes Vas said City Hall had been a sticking point earlier in the project with approvals, but that licensing issues were not to blame for delaying the bathhouse’s opening.
Tub-goer Walter Muller has been anticipating Friction’s opening for more than a year. But with the tub having been open for a few weeks now, he still hasn’t gone in.
“I thought, ‘You took your sweet time opening it.’ I, as a customer, am not going to run down there,” he says.
He suspects others might have the same attitude. “I don’t want to go down and find only five or six people there.”
But, he says, he’ll probably venture down some time this week to see what Friction has done differently from any other tub in town.
Nunes Vas says he won’t be disappointed. “Every customer that comes in has been excited.”
“It’s good to have an alternative to the scene in the Davie Village area,” says community activist Jamie Lee Hamilton, who lives near the new tub.