Here we are. Almost a week after the riot in downtown Vancouver last Wednesday. What a night that will be in the history of our city.
I was downtown that night – at Georgia and Homer – right in the middle of the crowd. My crew and I were doing live hits into CityNews at 6 and 11 in Toronto. The crowd at 3pm (for the 6 o’clock show) was a great group. By the time we went up at 8pm (for the 11 o’clock news) — the crowd had turned. People were getting angry – and throwing bottles at the giant screen. I got hit in the back with a can. People were shoving, swearing — and getting really unruly.
Within moments — someone lit a car on fire right in front of the Canada Post building on Georgia Street. What really struck me, was how no one in the group appeared to be scared of fearful of the fact the car might explode at any moment. It was making really loud popping noises — a huge plume of black smoke was billowing high above the city — and people continued to pose for photos. Fires continued to be set in that particular block — and there was no room for emergency crews to show up and put them out. Little did we know, things would escalate across the downtown core — and very, very fast.
I got about two hours of sleep that night. Woke up at 1:30am and headed back downtown to do live cut-ins with our affiliates across the country. During the six hours of live TV we did, I had a chance to wander around the neighbourhood. Downtown Vancouver felt like a warzone. Abandoned. Smashed glass all over the sidewalks. Garbage, newspaper boxes and fecal matter thrown all over the streets. Cars overturned. Graffiti on windows and doors. This was NOT the Vancouver I live in. And to think it was done at the hands of people who call themselves Vancouverites makes it even worse.
Here are some photos I took on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Kudos to everyone who cleaned up the streets of Vancouver. We all appreciate you and your work.
Vancouver’s image has been tarnished by the ridiculously stupid actions of a group of people. Teenagers. Young men. Young women. And even grown men and women in their 30’s and 40’s. Many of them, caught on camera — running into stores, taking whatever they can, and walking out. Laughing about it. And scaring everyone who lives in the city. Shame. Shame. Shame. This is NOT a representation of the amazing people who live in this region. But seeing the volunteers who are rolling up their sleeves and getting this city back to normal — that is what true Vancouverites do.