21 June 2011

Vancouver, I still love you!

I'm sure by now everyone is aware of the horrid riots that occurred in Vancouver last week. I can't tell you how saddened I was to see it happening to my beautiful city. Luckily, I had left the area of downtown just before things kicked off. I met up with friends when the crowds started pouring out of the bars and we headed to a local bar we knew would be quieter. We sat down, ordered some drinks and then looked up at the TV to see tear gas canisters being thrown into the crowd and police cars being turned over and burned. I honestly thought it was footage of the 1994 riots, I couldn't grasp that this was happening right now, right outside, 3 blocks from where we were sitting. It's not that I'm not used to this sort of behaviour, I've lived in cities and towns where seeing burned out cars on my walk to college/the shops/a stroll up the mountains isn't out of the ordinary (obviously not to the same extent), I just couldn't believe this would happen in Vancouver. While this city has it's problems, the general atmosphere and mindset of the people here is far from the type of actions that happened the other night.
My friend and co-worker, Sarah Jane Lazenby, took this photo on her walk home from the city center with her iphone. Talya Florian, who is also a friend and co-worker, is looking back at the city as smoke rises from the destruction. The view from this bridge is usually so beautiful, it's strange to see it look like something from Gotham City.
I feel the same way about the photos of the streets below. I know them well and have some happy memories from alot of spots seen in the photos, it's so strange to see them look so menacing.

Photos above from here.

I ended up staying the night at a friends apartment downtown and I'm glad as two of my friends were injured. One tore his leg open on glass and the other got a face full of tear gas, thankfully they're both ok. 
The next morning we ventured to where most of the destruction happened to help with the clean up and, if I'm honest, to see if I could get some photos (though my battery had died, sucks!). We saw regular everyday people, children, teenagers, people in suits, wheelchair users and even the homeless pick up pieces of glass, sweep the streets and polish marble walls. There was nothing left for us to help with, everything had been taken care of so quickly, it was amazing. A huge contrast to what we saw the night before.

photo source unknown
photo from The Calgary Sun
This project is wonderful. Andy Fang took portraits of some of the volunteers that came out to help clean up Vancouver. Above is a shot he took of a Bruins fan (the opposing team) helping out.
Photo from Andias.Com
photo by Joshua Berson @bersonphoto

Photo from The National Post

photo from The Star

Photo from The Vancouver Sun

People leaving thank you messages for the VPD. Photo from The Province

The riots were a disgusting sight to watch, and I will say how upset I am to have heard so many Irish accents on the people destroying things in the youtube videos (c'mon lads, not cool!). But I have to say a big well done to Vancouver on what most of the city did next. People are proud to be part this city for a reason, I'M proud to be a part of this city, and my reasons are shown in the photos above. While the shots may not be as exciting, captivating or historic, I believe they are just as important. Seeing people take time out of their day to help others is a daily occurrence in this city, so it was no surprise to see so many people band together and help. These are the real people of Vancouver, please don't judge this wonderful city by the idiotic actions of the few who were swayed by mob mentality. It's not what this place is all about. I promise.

Vancouver, I still love you!

Aoife x


  1. Goodness gracious, reading this gives me the chills!! I'm so happy you're ok! And to see all kinds of people sticking together like that is just amazing!!
    I guess, riots like that can happen anywhere. It's just so sad that innocent people are hurt every time. I'm glad, that you're friends are ok, too.
    Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures!!


  2. We had riots here in london last week! It was horrible and so sad! :-(
    Hey thanks for visiting my blog! I really appreciate it! Keep in touch! xox