Outraged Vancouverites Decry Stanley Cup Violence — And Work To Fix It

Last night’s epic collapse of the Vancouver Canucks on home ice in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs led to an unfortunate side effect: widespread violent rioting in downtown Vancouver.

After the Canucks’ 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins, most Vancouverites went home to drown their sorrows — but some stayed behind and unleashed violence the city hasn’t seen since, well, since the Canucks’ last Stanley Cup Game 7 loss in 1994. As soon as the final whistle blew, fights broke out and cars were flipped and torched. Beatings, stabbings, violence, looting and multiple fires led the Vancouver police to unleash tear gas on the crowds within two hours. More than 140 people ended up in the hospital, with at least one in critical condition. Mass transit stopped running in the downtown core and people in other venues such as a local theatre were prevented from exiting into the melee.

The rest of Vancouver is decrying the violence, protesting that this isn’t what Vancouver is about. The Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, called the riots “disgraceful and shameful” and said the “hooligans” behind the violence “by no means represent the City of Vancouver.” NBA star Steve Nash, a Vancouver native and brother-in-law to Canucks player Manny Malhotra, tweeted urging people to “stop burning sh*t.

The peaceful citizens of the city — who by far outnumber the hooligans — are speaking out and taking action against the violence. During the riots, individuals stood up against the rioters, even at risk to their own safety. A popular Vancouver blogger, Miss604, is this morning publicizing efforts to bring the rioters to justice. 

Within hours of the riots breaking out, Facebook and Tumblr pages were started for people to upload photos and footage of the rioters to provide the Vancouver police with evidence to facilitate arrests. Another Facebook group and a Twitter account at @VancouverClean are asking for volunteers to help clean up the downtown, with 12,000 volunteers already signed up and having the green light to head in with garbage bags and a “positive attitude” — and requests to tweet photos of the cleanup, to hopefully fill people’s minds with good images of Vancouver rather than bad.

Ultimately, the smears on the city’s reputation following the riots may last for years — but it’s good to see there are still many people who will stand up and say: not in my neighborhood.

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Photo credit: Matthew Grapengeiser on Flickr


Lynn Squance
Lynn Squance6 years ago

Further to my previous comments, for those who don't have access to the continuing story about the Vancouver riot (not the Stanley Cup riot as this had nothing to do with hockey)here is a quote from the Toronto Globe and Mail:
Globe Editorial
Vancouver can now hold the mob to account
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2011 7:30PM EDT
Holding a mob to account has been almost impossible – until now. Vancouver is extraordinary because it has not only the will, but the means, to name and shame those who rioted after the Stanley Cup loss last week. There are websites in which the formerly anonymous rioters are to be seen (perhaps forever), happily looting, burning and smashing, in pictures and videos.
Me again --- Vancouverites are coming together to take back our city from the hooligans. Now we must guard against our own mob mentality by not being vigilantes. We must turn over all information to the police and let them do their job. We must never be 'judge, jury and executioner' as frustrating as this might seem at times. If we do, we are no better than the hooligans. We must be an example of a civil society.

BTW, congratulations to the Boston Bruins on a great series and a good season. Tim Thomas, you were awesome! Are you made of bricks? You stopped most of Vancouvers attempts to score.

clara H.
Clara Hamill6 years ago

Oh my they are acting like Americans. Oh by the way that's sarcasm and I'm American so I can say it. Dumb punks make them clean up the mess and if it's too late make them clean up after the next big event.

Jonathan T.
Jonathan T6 years ago

@ Julie P.

I'm sorry to hear that your time spent in my city was so bad for you. As a traveller across the border, I have to say that the cities I have been to in the States have been anything but stereotypical, and what I hear and read of Americans is very often misstated on a personal level.

To hear that Vancouverites are regarded as bigoted, violent, and criminal is heartbreaking, yet how are we to argue after the riots?

Allow me this argument: the rioters were not Vancouverites. People came from Victoria, the surrounding municipalities and even a few from other provinces. The riot was planned, win or lose, at least a week in advance and molotov cocktails had been prepared which says someone was looking to start trouble. The rage of Vancouverites - ALL the ones I know - is reflected in their desire to see justice done and to clean up the mess.

This aggressive PR campaign you describe isn't so much an official thing as we (true fans of Vancouver) really do love our hometown. I have been mugged once before too on its streets but that's far from anything I would consider characteristic of the city, and in no other city can I say "hello" to a passing stranger and have it returned with a smile (also not a regular thing but far more common than any other city I've been to).

There are many reasons I think Vancouver is still my favourite city, and it has nothing to do with anyone's PR campaign. I regret that you and I cannot share this viewpoint.

Julie P.
Julie P.6 years ago

I lived in Vancouver, and I hate to be the one to state the obvious: but I have lived almost my entire life in the States and the time I spent in Vancouver was absolute hell. Violence there is a regular occurance and they are incredibly bigoted. In fact, when the news about these riots hit the news, I was anything but suprised.

I witnessed (and was a victim of) more violence and crime in the time I lived there than the rest of my life combined. (And that is including the Balkans in the '90's!)

The only reason that people around the world think that Vancouver is so wonderful is because of a very aggressive PR campaign. And the amount of denial among the Canadians there is absolutely incredible. This event was simply the house of cards beginning to crumble.

Carol Fyfewilson

I fully concur with Lynn's and others who submitted similar comments.
The majority Canadians are peace-loving, non violent people and the riot is truly out of character.

Lynn S.
Lynn Squance6 years ago

Further to my earlier comment, to those who do not get the Vancouver news, there are already people who have turned themselves in for their actions and are being charged with various offences. Also, the parents of one 17 year old who participated in the riot have turned him in to police after seeing pictures of their son on the internet as he took part in the violence. That is tough love at work and I hope this teen will realise later just how much his parents love him. The police are continuing to work diligently and as I understand, they have over 300 tips in less than 24 hours. Vancouver is not taking this lying down. Go Vancouver go! We will overcome these hooligans!

Prim Prior
Colin K6 years ago

Great promo for selling RIOT INSURANCE....kinda like the old bad guy movies selling protection to store owners...after reading John Perkins 'Confessions...of an Economic Hit Man'...it is not out of the realm of reality.

Rhiannon D.
Rhiannon Davis6 years ago

Steve Nash is from Victoria

Ashley Pepe
Ashley Pepe6 years ago

I've heard a couple of the people arrested were 'serial rioters' who came prepared and bought Canucks jerseys upon arrival to blend in. Disgraceful. If it weren't for the miraculous cleanup I would be ashamed to admit I live in the greater Vancouver area. People were trapped in businesses afraid to come out and I even talked to someone on the bus whose brother and sister-in-law were trampled! Thank God they weren't seriously hurt!

Dana R.
Dana R6 years ago

This was not the Vancouver of the real Vancouverites. This rioting was a planned matter by a bunch of hooligans. It had nothing to do with the hockey game or its outcome. I support the real Vancouverites who are the equal of any and all.