Vancouver, I Love You

June 16, 2011
I’m sure you’ve all undoubtedly seen the horrifying pictures of the rioting that happened here in Vancouver after our Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins.
Drunk idiots, cowards, and Ed Hardy-clad douchebags

Before I say anything else, please let me just say this: as a proud Vancouverite, I need it to be known that 97% of the city was either trying their best to escape the pandemonium downtown or were at home, watching their television sets in horror. We were all disappointed when we lost, but we’re proud of our boys and can recognize the fact that at the end of the day, the Bruins simply played a better game and deserved their win. 
A very different atmosphere at the Vancouver Winter Olympics last year:
entirely safe, filled with pride, inspirational, joyous
When we hosted the Olympics last year, there was never a single moment in which I felt at all in danger. Different nationalities mingled and laughed together despite being in direct competition with one another. People were lit up with joy, high-fiving cops on the streets, hugging perfect strangers, and most importantly, coming together when the Georgian-luger Nodar Kumaritashvili tragically died during a test-run. Not just the city’s inhabitants but all those that were visiting the city lived in peaceful co-existence. Having experienced that amazing period in history first-hand, I can personally attest to it being one of the most incredibly inspiring and uplifting moments of my life, something which I will never forget. I even remember joking around and hugging American fans when we finally beat their hockey team – people were happy, peaceful, and loving the moment.
 Having said that, imagine our absolute and complete horror when we saw our city, once capable of such peaceful mass gatherings, being torn to pieces, lit on fire, and looted by a small group of shitheads (excuse my language), so cowardly and twisted that they had come prepared with bandanas in order to hide their faces. Imagine the shame and disgust we all felt in seeing people bloody on the streets, cops changing into their riot gear, and drunk eighteen year old idiots, clad in Canucks’ jerseys, jumping and dancing on top of cars that were on the brink of explosion. Imagine my concern and anxiety knowing that my sister and mother were downtown, trapped at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (where they’d gone to watch Wicked), unable to get home or to their car.  The actions of a hundred or two moronic jackasses were enough to turn what was simply a disappointing loss into the utter destruction of the city we all know and love. This is not what the city wanted and this is simply not what our city is about. 
Beautiful Vancouver as I know it..
The way we peacefully came together during the Olympics is who we are as a city. The civilians cleaning the streets out there right now, joining the Post-Riot Cleanup organization that was already being set in motion by Vancouverites early into last night’s events (check them out on Twitter too) are who we are as a city. The 50,000 or so people who are proactively identifying rioters in the Facebook group Vancouver Riot Group: Post Your Photos are who we are as a city. The people who are being gentle and kind to one another today, like these wonderful bakers handing out cookies to the cleanup volunteers, are who we are as a city. Each and every one of us who were crying or shaking or disgusted with what we saw happening to our beautiful home last night are who we are as a city.  Don’t forget about who we actually are.
I’m not trying to sweep the horrifying things that happened last night under a rug –far from it, actually. I can not believe that all of this has happened, but I will not ignore it. I can only hope that this will bring us together in a different way, and that we continue to work together to rebuild our beautiful city (the most liveable city in the world, oddly enough) and to make it even stronger than it was before.
This is my home, and my home as I know it is filled with people who live their lives with the intent of bettering themselves, bettering those around them, and bettering the world. Despite the destruction that occurred at the hands of a small group of douchebags, I know (and hope those outside of Vancouver know as well) that the small percentage of the rioters who are actually from Vancouver itself do not represent us as a whole (and as Chief Constable Jim Chu already confirmed, most of them aren’t even from the City of Vancouver as it is). 
I love you Vancouver, and I hope you all still do too.

Images courtesy of Globe and Mail

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  • Reply Jessica Weingarten June 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    I had no idea that it was this bad, jesus. It's really sad how people have the nerve to preach about sportsmanship and then go on and do something like this. It's just a game…let it go!


  • Reply Fashion Cappuccino June 16, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Wow Alexandra! I just read the news and I'm incredibly sad to see all the ruins and people getting hurt…by losing to a hockey game?! I can't believe that's the reason behind all this chaos. Why are some people this idiotic is beyond me. I hope the police find these assholes and put them in jail! I'm sure the city of Vancouver will get through this and I wish for a speedy recovery! xoxoxoxoo

  • Reply Ash June 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Alex I couldn't agree more with everything you wrote..well said and eloquently put. Last night was devastating to watch unfold, but seeing people coming together today reminds us what Vancouver is really all about.


  • Reply BARESTUDY (Janelle) June 16, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    my thoughts exactly. I love Vancouver and I'm heartbroken seeing this last night on the news. I was at CBC but left after the 1st period coz i was getting squished already by idiots shoving people in the crowd that caused big "human waves". extremely dangerous. wish i could go help clean up but i need to go back to work here in coquitlam. sigh.. i do agree that boston played really well but i still am a proud canucks fan. <3 🙂


  • Reply Nadine2point0 June 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    My mom, who lives here in Kingston too, and I spoke this morning about what happened there last night. As Canadians, we are all so horrified that this is what is spreading all over the media and the judgment that others may make of this situation. aaak. We feel so badly for Vancouver! I am so glad to hear that the citizens are rallying together to rectify the potential 'rough' reputation of such an awesome city.
    Well written. Love your blog, and hope all will get better for your town.

  • Reply JennaStevie June 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Vancouver is absolutely my favourite Canadian city, and what I love about it is how friendly everyone is, how safe I feel when I'm there and the beauty of it. Last nights episode was absolutely horrifying! I was so sad to see all the violence and rioting. My brother was actually downtown at the time watching the game and sent me some pictures from his phone. He actually was helping some guy whose foot was all cut and bleeding, good knowing not everyone was being stupid!!
    This is a wonderful post and if I was in Vancouver I would definitely be down there helping clean up. I feel so bad for the shop owners in downtown

  • Reply A Fine Balance June 17, 2011 at 12:06 am

    It is sad to hear that my fellow canadians can act this way HOWEVER they are a FEW bad apples! I love vancouver and I trully hope many people were not hurt. Buildings and places can be fixed but I saw that there was one man who tried to stop rioters get beaten….thats just plain awful 🙁

  • Reply Matina June 17, 2011 at 2:03 am

    your writing was inspiring. very well written – i couldn't agree with you more alex :(. it really saddens me what happened here last night.


  • Reply Cee June 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    What saddens me most about this situation is that it has put us all in this position of having, as the many, to answer for the actions of a few and justify our love of a place that just a day ago was considered a beacon of civilisation. How soon they forget… I've encountered a lot of negativity from Canadians outside of Vancouver, as if the country has just been waiting to us to fall from our post-Olympic grace, to thumb their noses (at least metaphorically) and point out that we're no better than anyone else. The fact that we've had no support from anyone outside of our borders is, at least to me, the saddest of all.

  • Reply Sweet Harvest Moon June 17, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    It's so sad 🙁
    I understand your anger!

    Where did that amazing winter olympic spirit go?

    I really love Vancouver, i really want to go there really soon (i'm actually planning my trip)


  • Reply Cara June 17, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Great post…that was such an upsetting night, but I too still love Vancouver!
    xo Cara

  • Reply Britta June 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I'm glad to see that I have not heard from one single person that they thought what happened was 'awesome' or 'funny'..I'm glad to say that the majority of people, as you said, were truly horrified and disgusted by what happened. The volunteers did an amazing job the other day; I drove through vancouver yesterday and you could hardly tell what had happened. Those who volunteered emulate what true Vancouverites are like!

  • Reply Lynn {hearted girl} June 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    well said love and i couldn't agree more! you're post reflects every heartfelt emotion i had during this horrific time.

    the Olympics brought out the best in our peeps and this fiasco has done that as well, although in a more forced to step up kinda way. Vancouverites didn't miss a beat though and the punishments being doled out to these perpetrators sounds like it'll be quite the lashing. thank goodness for that and hopefully it will deter anything like this from ever happening again.

    so sorry your mom and sis got stuck like that, you must have been worried to death! much love. ♥

  • Reply Lily June 20, 2011 at 2:05 am

    Great post, Alexandra. I still find it hard to believe this happened, despite being caught right in the middle of it (I worked at The Bay and left just as they were breaking the windows). I'm glad to hear your mom and sister eventually made it out of downtown safely.


  • Reply Marie a la Mode June 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Very well-written post. I was shocked that Canadians would do such a thing, the pictures made Vancouver seem like a third world country in the middle of a war. Vancouver is beautiful and those rioters made it ugly for the whole world to see. I hope they go to jail!

  • Reply Huda June 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Don't feel embarrassed or feel judged. Similar hooliganism happened also in 1994 in Vancouver after they lost the Stanley Cup. I had quite a fierce debate with my friends over facebook over the root cause of hooliganism and if NHL should be financially liable for it.

    Anyway, on a humorous note one of my relatives from the UK told me little cardinal rule: never ever destroy your own city, hooliganism is reserved for your opponents turf.

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