I was in downtown Vancouver during the Stanley Cup riot. In fact I was standing next to The Hudson’s Bay building at approx. 8:20 (waiting for the sky train crowd to die down a bit) near the corner of Georgia and Granville when a girl who was innocently standing with her boyfriend next to me had a large alcohol bottle thrown at her from a several storey parking garage across the street. Her head and face were bleeding profusely. The crowd was thick and it was impossible to see where police were for help so a group of us circled around her to protect her. We took her into an alcove where the entrance to The Bay is. Many onlookers including myself pleaded with a uniformed security guard who was standing just inside the doors of The Hudson’s Bay building. We were pleading for anything - to let her in, to call an ambulance, to radio for help. This guard saw the bloodied girl, examined her with a raised eyebrow and glaring expression through the doors, turned around and walked away into the store. The guard didn’t mouth “I’m sorry, I can’t open the door.”, the guard didn’t do ANYTHING. People show their true colours in times of crisis and I am still very sickened by the lack of human compassion I witnessed.
— a proud Vancouverite
First off, I hope that you feel shame, guilt and humiliation for the devastation you caused and the reputation you have given our beautiful city. To every one of you. From those that came with the intention of starting the riot, to those who joined in. Whether you lit a car on fire, broke a store window, or simply looted for the ‘fun’ of it, or to those who stood by and watched or posed for pictures…you are all to blame. This message is for you.
I hope you have been fired from your job, or at least suspended until you are found guilty. I know I personally wouldn’t want someone like you representing my company.
I hope your family and friends can no longer look at you the same knowing what you have done and what you were part of. Whether or not you got caught up in the moment of madness, what part of you ever thought what you did was a good idea??
I hope the guilt has overcome you so that you can no longer sleep at night. As innocent people like myself lie awake because the horrific images of you destroying our city continue to haunt us in our sleep.
I hope that the police keep their promise to publicly embarrass you if you don’t come forward and turn yourself in. Stop wasting police resources to find you. You have already cost this city enough. And I hope once you are found, you will be punished to the full extend of the law.
I hope you regret all the things you threw and yelled at the police officers, the punch you threw at the fire fighter, or the medical personal that treated you while innocent people that were hurt had to wait. These people risked their life protecting the city and the innocent people of Vancouver. Remember that these will be the emergency service workers responding when you are the one calling for help.
The images of you destroying our city will never be forgotten and I hope that Vancouver can rebuild its reputation and image. The healing process has already begun due to the amazing and true people of Vancouver.
Thank you to all the police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, the voice behind every 911 call and police radio, city workers, and anyone else who took a stand against the rioters. You make me proud to be part of emergency services and to be a Vancouverite.
— a Emergency Services Worker, and proud Vancouverite
During game 7, I was on a flight to Hawaii and upon landing we heard rumors that riots were taking place in Vancouver but I assumed the Hawaiian news didn’t think it was relevant news for their audience. I only heard bits and pieces about the riot throughout my trip and didn’t know the extent of it until I got home.
The riots highlighted the immaturity of a portion of our population and the fact that these people decided to do some of the things they did makes me sick. Some of the comments I have seen written on Facebook by rioters reinforces the fact that people do not understand the job of a police officer.
I love the fact that you and other people that were working that night are taking the time to address the rioters and give them a piece of your mind. I understand why police officers don’t always speak their minds and, furthermore, share it with the public but would like to thank you for doing so in lieu of the Stanley Cup riot.
Everyone who was working that night deserves a level of recognition that we have never seen and I hope the rioters that are charged receive a stiff sentence that other people can learn from.
I wish my flight hadn’t left when it did so I could have been there to help with the clean up. The people who showed up the next morning are the type of people I like to think make up the majority of the Lower Mainland.
I am planning to apply to a police agency in the following years and for me you guys are my heroes.
Thanks so much for your sacrifices and I really hope we never see a similar event happen again.
A Canuck/Police fan
Photo: International coverage continues the morning after.
After the Canucks lost the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, our city became a place that can only be described as sickening.
Over 100 cars were vandalized and 17 were set on fire. Numerous businesses were trashed including London Drugs, which had almost $1 million dollars in damages and stolen goods. Fights broke out amongst the huge crowds and there literally was blood everywhere.
The rioters were acting as if there was no consequence to their actions. Throwing chairs at the police was funny. Jumping on top of a car was fun. Smashing windows and stealing merchandise was cool. The old saying, "would you jump off a bridge because everyone else was doing it?" would have no meaning that evening because the answer would have been "yes."
Due to the thousands of photos taken and dispersed online, many of the rioters have been recognized and outed. Not surprisingly, most of the rioters were teenagers or young adults. Amongst them were people who the media described as “star citizens” who made a mistake.
Since the riot, these people came forward with public apologies for their actions, stating that they somehow caught the mob mentality, that they were full of adrenaline, and that they are truly sorry. While I do believe that they are sorry for what they did, I do not think that any of them, or anyone else involved in the riots, should be given any sympathy or lenience for their crime. Your actions are your responsibility and now you must face the consequences for what you did.
I do, however, think that people are taking it a step too far, by posting home addresses and telephone numbers. We don’t need any more people hurt or windows smashed, thank you.
That night, I was flying into Edmonton for a conference. Watching the news reports, and seeing the photos and videos online, I felt nothing but disgust and embarrassment.
These rioters are giving people another reason to hate us.
Before any of this happened, hockey fans in Edmonton were already against us. They would not be caught dead cheering for Vancouver, stating that we are all band-wagoners who only support the team when they are winning.
When I was watching the final period of the game at the Edmonton airport, people were cheering because Boston was winning. I was surprised that the province that touched our borders was not supportive of us. I couldn’t believe how much they hated our Vancouver team and I was actually angry they would rather see an American team win just out of spite.
A couple hours later, however, I was filled with embarrassment and was actually glad for once that I was in Edmonton.
Many individuals were equipped with weapons, face masks, and gasoline and came downtown with the intention to riot but the world does not see this nor care. From an outsider’s point of view, Vancouver is a city that would riot because of a lost hockey game, like a bunch of spoiled and over privileged brats.
The thousands of volunteers who came to help clean up the chaos were not even given a second glimpse by outsiders. They are still bewildered by the events from that evening, saying that, “Vancouver must recognize they have a dark side that may be darker than those in other cities.”
The reputation of all Vancouverites has been hurt greatly by the actions of the small percentage of people who acted so despicable. I am hurt and embarrassed.
— the perspective of an embarrassed Vancouverite
From the amount of coverage in the media on this horrendous situation, I’ve seen the worst of the general public to the best.
From the negatives, I don’t think these people deserve the right to apologize, let alone ask for forgiveness. The only thing forgiveness will teach is that they can get away with it (you don’t punch someone in the face and ask for forgiveness right after). These rioters are simply an evolutionary set back to society. They don’t deserve rights as citizens after ruining if for the people that actually work hard to people part of this amazing city.
On the positive side, we’ve seen the best in humanity. Ranging from civil workers and the general public. We’ve shown the world that we as a group can unite to clean this horrible mess. We’ve seen complete strangers band together to protect one another. We are better than the rioters…
All in all Vancouver is still an amazing place. Let’s move past the negative and simply not forgive the trash of society, and forget about them as human beings.
I love this city.
— a proud Vancouverite
I agree with the police officer who submitted the blog, that actions speak louder than words. These people, many young, need to come forward and do many, many, hours of community service to pay for what they have done. Whining about how sorry they are does not pay for the damages to peoples’ cars and property or help them after they were traumatized. The police and emergency personnel did not know these people yet risked their lives helping them. I hope most are identified and step up to do community service and yes, get convicted of their crimes. Drunk or not, there is no excuse for their behaviour. Blaming it all on alcohol is just an excuse.
— a proud Vancouverite
”Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country”
John F. Kennedy
Great so you say you weren’t quite thinking when you flipped a car, broke a window, beat up some stranger or stole somebody else’s property. Now you realize that the consequences of your actions went far beyond the immediate moment. You’re asking for forgiveness and begging people to just leave your family, friends and workplace alone.
I’ve got some bad news for you — that’s the same sort of selfish and short-sighted thinking that got you into this mess in the first place.
You’re saying that you’ll do “whatever it takes” to undo what you did… well that’s actually not possible. What you did is done. The dozens, or hundreds, of hours that it’s taken the collective community to clean up after and make up for what you did have been spent. We can’t undo that. It’s a law of physics that I won’t bother to explain.
The question, then is what are you going to do going forward? Not just whining and sniveling and asking to be left alone — What are you going to do for your community? How many hundred hours are you going to spend working to make the world a better place for unknown strangers? What are you going to do, and where are you going to do it? What are you going to produce for the community that you’ve injured with your actions?
I’m not talking punishment — the courts will take care of that. I’m talking about taking the opportunity to go beyond being a "feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy," and looking towards what you have to contribute to the world for the world itself and not to salve your whining conscience or wring some sort of concession from a world angry about your selfishness.
Take on that the world owes you nothing, and understand that there will be people who will hold your incredibly wanton and public actions against you decades down the road. This isn’t about having something to hold against them. It’s about giving to the community because you now owe it, and it’s the right thing to do.
— a proud Vancouverite
*** Bear with me, it’s a long one! ***
I was watching the game at ‘ground zero’ – right on the steps of the library on the corner of Hamilton and Georgia, just as I had countless times throughout the Canucks’ magical run to the Stanley Cup Final.
I was there, like many others, because I wanted to be amongst the crowd should we had won the game and won the cup. At the same time, I wanted (albeit, to a slightly lesser extent) to be amongst the crowd even if we would’ve lost the game.
Needless to say, I got what I came for; with just under 90 seconds to go in regulation, you could tell that trouble had already begun. People started throwing objects at the screen that the city brought in for us.
[I need not describe in detail what this clip can show you]
It was like a scene out of the revolutions out of Egypt many of us had seen on the news months before; the only difference was that our mob’s anger was not directed at a political inequality, but rather, at the unfortunate outcome of a sporting event.
A surreal moment, in each drawn out second that passed that night, not only for myself, not only for those confused/worried/anxious around me, but also for the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia as a whole. Chaos had overwhelmed the Georgia Street.
I took out my iPhone, being the most convenient camera I had at a moment’s notice (my Canon SD780 was somewhere in my backpack) and tried to soak in as much as I could…
"You’ll sleep soundly in your bed tonight because men and women like me will always be there to deal with your poor choices. You have no idea how fortunate you are, even after we arrest and charge you. Even though you disgust me, if you call for me in the middle of the night I’ll respond. I’ll protect your life and property because it’s right and it’s what I do." A photo of an officer in riot gear in front of the CBC. Photo by vxmonkey
Dear 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Rioters,
Please stop saying you’re sorry. Stop posting YouTube videos begging for forgiveness. Stop writing letters asking that society cut you some slack and leave you alone.
While you were drunk and flipping cars, I was driving with all of my emergency equipment on to get into Vancouver. While you were throwing anything you could get your hands on at the police, I was pressure testing my APR and standing in the middle of the tear gas. While you and thousands of others disgraced Vancouver and its surrounding population, I stood shoulder to shoulder with a couple hundred men and women, whom I trust my life with, ready to address your indiscretions.
You came up to me like you owned the streets in your drunken stupor, thrust your middle fingers in my face and shouted obscenities; I didn’t snap you in half.
Actions speak louder than words.
You started “harmless” fires. You torched other men and women’s cars whom you’d never met and never did you wrong. You assaulted firemen as they arrived to try and deal with your “mistakes”. You took limited, valuable emergency resources away from good people who needed them. You endangered more lives by tying up emergency services than you ever considered.
You started fights. You stabbed people you’d never met because they somehow made you angry. You gave men and women trying to protect property life altering concussions. You brought paramedics into the tear gas and exhausted them trying to save people they’d never met.
You showed up to hospital emergency rooms crying because you’d been exposed to tear gas. You got obnoxious and demanded to be treated like you were somehow dying. You knew it was a riot, you chose not to leave, you chose to stick around and breathe the tear gas in. You took nurses and doctors away from people who needed their care to live. People they’d never met but work tirelessly to save. You demanded to be treated as if you were better than the rest of society.
You’d tell me that the emergency services personnel I speak of are paid to do this job and chose to be there. You’re right. We give a damn about people we’ve never met and property that isn’t ours, that’s why we do what we do. You disgust us.
What brought a tear to my eye, after the gas had cleared, was standing in the middle of an intersection at about 3am the only people I’d seen for the last 30 minutes were other police officers, until a shop keeper brought us a case of water. Then I saw a random person with a broom clearing the sidewalk. I had a duty to respond, the citizens of Vancouver immediately afterward could have just left it up to those paid to deal with it. They didn’t just stand by, they came out in force and cleaned up after your indiscretions. Everyone I saw that early morning thanked me, I was only doing my job. I have the utmost respect for all of the people from Vancouver and the surrounding areas that came downtown and volunteered to clean up after you.
You owe Vancouver and the surrounding population more than mere words. Don’t you dare ask for our forgiveness without taking responsibility. You can’t fix life altering injuries with an “I’m Sorry”. You can’t repay someone’s car loan with a YouTube video. You ask that people leave you and your family alone but you offer no way to replace priceless losses.
You’ll sleep soundly in your bed tonight because men and women like me will always be there to deal with your poor choices. You have no idea how fortunate you are, even after we arrest and charge you. Even though you disgust me, if you call for me in the middle of the night I’ll respond. I’ll protect your life and property because it’s right and it’s what I do.
The evening of June 15, 2011 fellow emergency services personnel, my brothers and sisters, left our families at home and while grossly out numbered stood to fight. The morning of June 16, 2011 the true heroes emerged to volunteer their time and restored my faith in humanity.
Actions speak louder than words. What are you going to do about that?
— a police officer from the suburbs, who was called in to serve and protect on that night; a proud Vancouverite.