A Whistler resident who posted a spoof video about struggling to find affordable rent never expected to get so much attention online.
Based on the old Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercials, the video is set to the iconic track “In the Arms of an Angel.”
“Every month, innocent locals are left without reasonable, affordable rent, including myself,” Martin says in the Instagram video.
“If you have something available, please email the address on screen. You’ll receive a crisp high five and the best tenants you could ever wish for.”
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The creator, 36-year-old Jon Martin, is being evicted from his rental home of five years on March 31, so time is of the essence.
damn you Sarah McLachlan with your sad BCSPCA ads. I want to take every animal in the commercial home, but Im not allowed. *shakes fist*
— Bex (@bexwhiting) February 17, 2010
“This whole thing has blown up way more than I thought it was going to because the original idea was, if I make the video how that commercial was, it’ll make people laugh and someone will go, ‘Hey, I’ll rent to them,’” says Martin.
“Now it’s just become a whole big awareness thing, but that wasn’t the plan behind it at all.”
Professor shows the damn Sarah McLachlan BCSPCA commercial as an example of persuasion…
— Brenna MacLean (@brennamaclean) February 27, 2014
Fittingly, his interview with Daily Hive was interrupted by a passerby who told him they “knew him from YouTube.”
— BC SPCA / BCSPCA (@BC_SPCA) October 26, 2011
But even though his video went unexpectedly “mini viral,” Martin still hasn’t found a place to live long-term.
“I’ll get offers like, ‘You can share a room for $900,’ or ‘It’s $1,500 for just a room in a house with other people,’ and the hard part is people offer things, but it’s hard to say yes now when something more long-term might show up,” he says.
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Still, he’s grateful to have received many offers for places to stay short-term.
“It’s really cool to feel the love of all of Whistler pulling together to really help,” he says.
“They’re sharing it or they’re reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, you can see my place,’ or ‘I have space you can store your stuff in here,’ or ‘You can stay at my place,’ and it’s humbling … to see just how many people do care about real locals who are part of the community.”
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Martin has lived there for 15 years, working at a skate and snowboard shop and delivering food on the side.
The budget for his next place is $2,000, and he’s hoping for a two-bedroom to fit him and a friend. That’s been tough to find, he says.
Whistler has one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, with rentals.ca estimating the average rent at $2,181 per month, just over Martin’s budget. Realistically, most Craigslist postings are substantially higher for a two-bedroom.
You can’t teach old dog new tricks unless it involves that Sarah McLachlan BCSPCA commercial on loop then they tend to get less uppity.
— Ray Tolbert (@inkTolbert) February 24, 2012
Martin says affordable housing needs to be built in the city so people who care about the culture can stay.
“All businesses are going to have to realize that we have to have staff housing or we won’t have any employees,” he says.
His video has 43.9K views on Instagram and counting.