I arrived back in Vancouver yesterday to a city a little different than the one I left a week earlier. Two Fridays ago, I was walking around Granville high-fiving dozens of Canucks fans celebrating an epic win and enjoying the kind of hockey fever you can’t find on the east coast.
But then the riots broke out last Wednesday after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins, and the contempt for Vancouver and its Canucks fans spread internationally. I was in Jasper, watching the scene unfold from afar. And yeah, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
I kinda forgot about the mayhem during a week of kayaking, whitewater rafting and boozing. So last night while walking home from dinner in downtown Vancouver, I was surprised to bump into the city’s Riot Wall around West Georgia Street. Diehard Vancouverites have turned the boarded-up, smashed out windows into a personalized art gallery where messages of support and love for the city are displayed.
On one end of the street, people were invited to paint their own flags in exchange for a small donation to help with the clean-up. The dude in charge told us the city is saving the wall to be displayed in one of the museums.
I like Vancouver a little more now. I was quick to dismiss it at first, feeling like the city had too much of a “cliquey” vibe for me to feel comfortable. It still does, but any place that has such pride is admirable in my books…kinda like one of those things you need to dig deeper to find out about. Apparently the day after the riots, thousands of people came out to participate in the clean up. I’d do the same for St. John’s.
And I had to add my own little stamp of approval. Love, from the Newf.
Anyway, I felt like I couldn’t dive into retelling the last few weeks without sharing these pictures. I’m unwinding in my HI Hostel Central room at the moment, if you’re in the city, just holla!