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Resisting gentrification in Vancouver's DTES

Bitter Tasting Room, Sean Heather's upscale pub on Hastings St., exemplifies the bitter taste of gentrification and exclusion for Downtown Eastside low-income residents. Photo: Dave Diewert
Developments in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside reveal gentrification for what it is: a form of structural violence.

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The Stanley Cup riot was a pointless mess

Last night the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final. An estimated 100,000 people were in the downtown core to take part in festivities -- a number that far surpasses those that flooded the city in 1994. If you weren't a resident of Vancouver that fateful night 17 years ago then you have absolutely no frame of reference regarding the impact it had on the people of the city, most of whom had nothing to do with the riot, and the utter embarrassment that it caused. Broadcast live to the continent on CNN, scenes of morons smashing windows, looting stores, and confronting police were shown repeatedly for days afterwards.


Vancouver's hockey riot: How to understand it

Vancouver skyline, June 15, 2011. Photo: Matthew Grapengieser/Flickr

How do we understand the riots that exploded in Vancouver after the beloved Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Finals? How do we understand the burning cars, broken glass, and injuries that stand as an enduring coda of their game-seven defeat at the hands of the visiting Boston Bruins?

Having communicated with several dozen people in "the most livable city in the world" I think I have a modest perspective on why the Canucks 4-0 loss was followed by fire.


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The verdict is in: Insite saves lives

Insite in Vancouver. Photo: Stephen Dyrgas/Flickr

The verdict is in: Insite saves lives. A study by UBC scientists at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS adds to the collection of data already showing that North America's first medically supervised safer injection facility saves lives and money.

The study, published last month in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, concludes that the opening of Insite in 2003 was associated with a 35 per cent reduction in overdose deaths in the neighbourhood surrounding the facility. This reduction translates into real lives saved at no expense whatsoever to the federal government.


Vancouver city hall cancels hearing, vote in support of higher density rezoning in DTES

Vancouver City Council voted Thursday to postpone hearings on the controversial Historic Heights Report which would have recommended higher density zoning for the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown.

The hearing, scheduled for 2 pm Thursday afternoon, would have allowed Council to hear reactions from affected groups and residents of the communities concerned.

Councillor Andrea Reimer told reporters in front of Council Chambers that they were postponing hearings and a vote on DTES rezoning for higher density in order to conduct social and economic impact studies first. The portion of the report that makes recommendations for zoning in Chinatown will be brought before council at a later date, perhaps in February.


Theatre for Living: Us and Them -- The Inquiry

David Diamond and two actor/audience members at work. Photo: Milan Radovanovic
The artistic director of Vancouver's Headlines Theatre Company discusses their groundbreaking new community theatre project.

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Media Democracy Day shone a light on triumphs and challenges

Tony Burman, formerly of the CBC and now the managing director of Al Jazeera English, gave the opening address at Media Democracy Day in Vancouver. Photo: Mola Shahsavari

When I interned at the Walrus some years ago, then editor Ken Alexander and designer Bruce Mau collaborated on a special issue of the magazine about optimism.

It had a very shiny cover with a very pretty rainbow on it, and was followed by a swank and expensive fundraiser at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. Ken and Bruce had a dialogue about optimism; Eve Egoyan played the piano. It was delicate and congratulatory, and perhaps made some money for what I still think is a relatively good cause (one that is getting better and more relevant lately, if the recent feature in the magazine about the CBC is any indication).


Indie Inside: Jasper Sloan Yip

Indie Inside: Jasper Sloan Yip
The first time the Vancouver singer-songwriter performed, he built a stage in his backyard and sang until the police arrived.

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The missing and murdered women of Vancouver deserve an inquiry

When it comes to considering the missing and murder women from the Downtown Eastside, these are the concerns:

• Why did so many things go wrong?

• A lack of trust for police still keeps women from reporting violence.

• What can we learn about solicitation laws and why they don't work?

• Jurisdictional issues need to be addressed.

• A necessary evaluation of any public program is needed.

• What can we learn about marginalized women and men?

• What do policymakers need to understand and learn?

• It's not about pointing fingers.

• Why are sex workers treated differently under the law and their safety not taken seriously?


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