In Absence of a Parade

Messages of thanks and support left on police cars. Photo: Amy Pieschel

Messages of thanks and support left on police cars. Photo: Amy Pieschel

Today was supposed to be a day of celebration where Vancouverites and visitors gathered together to attend one of the biggest parades in the city’s history. Unfortunately, the Canucks didn’t win the Stanley Cup and the reality of that is starting to sink in.

There is no parade or celebration today. If anything, the city is still dealing with the ramifications of Wednesday night’s chaos.

It’s been difficult to watch or read international news reports that showed graphic footage and images of the criminals who destroyed part of downtown Vancouver. It’s been even tougher to listen to reporters, and by extension, readers and viewers, condemn our city based on the actions of less than 1% of the people who had congregated to watch the final game.

Frankly, I don’t blame anyone for drawing the conclusion that we’re all hoodlums. Pictures don’t lie. Seeing how violent people became while others stood by or cheered on the culprits, leaves a lasting impression or perception. No doubt, average Vancouverites cursed or cringed at the media coverage. But today, in spite of the absence of a parade, we desperately wish that international media could see us now.

Today, Vancouver is bustling with residents and visitors enjoying our destination the way it should be enjoyed. What’s more, the city stands both humbled and proud by how average people have responded. Since first light yesterday, thousands have poured into the downtown core to voluntarily clean-up the mess. Even more people expressed their heartfelt feelings by writing words of encouragement on the plywood sheets that cover broken windows of businesses damaged during the melee. Police cars are covered in ‘post-it’ notes with expressions of gratitude for the work officers did to restore the city. Furthermore, citizens are intent on identifying the hooligans captured on film to ensure that justice is served. Dozens of the criminals have been ‘outed’ or have voluntarily turned themselves in.

While we’re still mourning the Canucks loss and our city’s tarnished reputation, we know we’ll bounce back, both on the ice and in the streets.

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