Vancouver, Post-Riots

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.

Vancouver riot wall

Vancouver riot wall

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.

“Break dance not windows.”

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!

  • June 20 2011

    Definitely got a slightly improved opinion of Vancouver after seeing the clean up efforts and the positive messages coming out from the debris. Still not somewhere I would want to live, but props to them for bringing a positive spin to a disgusting event. You can tell a lot about a people by how they respond to disasters.

    How amazing for you to be able to experience the city before and after the riots :) As if this trip wasn’t epic enough!

    • June 20 2011

      Agreed! So glad I witnessed the better side of the city before the riots happened. Otherwise I don’t think I’d be walking away with the same impression.

  • June 21 2011

    I was shocked when I saw this. It happened in Detroit in 1984 and East Lansing, MI in 2000 (both in my home state), but that was when they won.

    I think this will change the way a lot of people think of Vancouver, and that’s sad. It’s always had a great reputation.

    • June 22 2011

      Yeah, although riots aren’t foreign to Vancouver either. I think it’s the kind of city to bounce back on its feet, at least!

  • June 21 2011

    I couldn’t believe what happened last week in Vancouver… of all the times I’ve been there I always got the feeling that it was a friendly city with the best Asian food this side of the Pacific. Thanks for sharing those pictures, it’s good to know they’re patching and cleaning everything up. If I didn’t casually look up the news last Thursday I may never have found out at all – there was approximately 0 coverage here in Spain!

    • June 22 2011

      It still is, don’t worry! :) Those people causing the trouble really weren’t any representation of real hockey fans or Vancouverites. And Spain didn’t cover them?! Pshhh, the world should slow down for hockey!

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