Canada
Starting to prepare for the end

Foster Wozniak tries on a helmet in preparation for the end of the world at Crown Surplus in Calgary, Alberta, on December 13, 2012.

Credits: MIKE DREW/QMI AGENCY

JENNA MCMURRAY AND TYLER ORTON | QMI AGENCY

The end is nigh.

Or that's what some doomsday Canadians think as they stockpile survival gear and hold end-of-the-world parties in anticipation of Dec. 21, the fatal final day of the Mayan calendar.

While the apocalyptic prophesy is being sloughed off by most, others are getting ready.

Vancouver venues like Gossip Nightclub and Vancouver Urban Winery are hosting Dec. 21 events, while The Loden hotel is offering guests a so-long package that includes a sumptuous dinner and aerial tour of the city.

Camouflage store manager Baseer Khudayar, however, said some customers at his military surplus store are stocking up on essentials in anticipation of doom.

"The biggest thing people have been buying is the gas masks," he said, adding water tablets, emergency blankets and snake-bite repair kits are also in high demand.

One customer, who only wanted to be identified as "Wild" Bill out of concern for his own safety, has stockpiled seven months of food and three months of water.

"Any animal - and human beings included - once they don't have food will do anything it takes to get it," Wild Bill, 40, said. "So then all of the sudden you have roving bands of marauders."

Some Calgarians are preparing too -- just in case.

Joaquin Diaz at the Crown Surplus store said customers looking to stock up on survival gear has ramped up in recent weeks, although it's been happening for months.

"They've been coming in for the last year, stocking up just in case," Diaz said. "Every day, especially since we're getting closer to the end of the year.

"It's very popular and I don't think it's just us."

Diaz said while he doesn't believe the world is going to end in mere days, he's happy to accommodate those who do.

JR Cox, owner of The Shooting Edge, said over the last six months his business has had an increase in sales of such items as battery-operated lanterns, fire-starters, camp stoves, first aid kits and blankets.

While he said the rise can't be directly attributed to people stockpiling for Dec. 21, the idea of the world ending has some people thinking about how they'd survive the apocalypse or even just an emergency situation.

"We've seen a huge increase in people wanting to be prepared," he said. "It's sparked a conversation, anything can happen.

"I'm going to start another rumour (about the world ending) just because it's so good for business," he joked.

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