If you live in a condo or have visited a multi-storey office tower in the city, you’ve likely noticed that floor 4 and 13 are missing.
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Developers in Vancouver and across the country tend to leave the numbers out due the superstitious surrounding them in western cultures, specifically in Asia.
In Chinese, the word “four” sounds very similar to the word for death. The same similarity runs in Sino-Japanese, Sino-Korean, and Sino-Vietnamese. For this reason, there’s usually special efforts made to avoid the use of these numbers.
The City of Vancouver has decided to crackdown on the superstition however, and is working to implement new rules that will force new buildings to number every floor in correct order, and not skip from floor three to five, and from floor twelve to fourteen.
“Different societies have different favourite or different non favourite numbers, so we’re really just trying to have a level playing field for everybody, ” said the chief building officer for the City of Vancouver.
City officials add that fiddling with the figures leave a lot of people confused and increase risk, mostly importantly for paramedics and firefighters trying to get to specific floors as fast as possible.
The problem for emergency officials arises when someone calls from the the fifth floor of a building for example, but they’re really on the fourth. Emergency response teams are known for taking the stairs, and often find themselves confused if they’re not familiar with the western superstition as every building is different.
The City does not plan to reinstate the figure change for existing tours at the moment, and is only focused on and new and future developments.