On Wednesday we watched the Big Game at home with friends, we drank beer, we ate chips, we talked, we cheered, we commiserated. Once the game was over we kept the TV on and watched the riot unfold.

We went up to the roof and saw not one but two big plumes of black smoke rising from the city, as the sun was setting on one of the most beautiful, sunny days we’ve had (it’s been a cool, wet Spring).

As we watched the smoke rise we saw flashes reflected on the glass of the buildings then heard loud bangs. We all looked at each other in confusion, “What the hell is going on over there?” We went back downstairs and heard something about tear gas.

Oh it was tear gas, not gun shots.

We all gathered our dogs and went for a walk. We headed to the park, people were lined up on the bridge watching four helicopters and one small plane circling the smoke in the city. As we were about to enter the park a bunch of guys started wrestling with each other. That kind of stuff makes the dogs antsy so we turned back and decided the park would be better in the morning.

Friends went home, we watched the news. Bridges were closed, streets were blocked, the hospital was overwhelmed, cars were on fire, two people were stabbed, a man fell off the viaduct, windows were smashed, stores were looted and some of the people in the middle of all of it seemed to be having a good time.

Was this Vancouver? Was this our city? Who acts this way? Who finds joy and celebration in destruction and violence?

I had a hard time sleeping.

The next day it all felt a little surreal. Did that actually happen? Oh, no one was killed, phew.

My feelings were confused and when that happens I usually turn to music. I remembered a lyric from a Bruce Cockburn song, “You’ve got to kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight.

So this is me, kicking at the darkness.

I love Vancouver. I love it. I love it so much that I can’t fit all my love into one post, so this is a series I’m starting here about this city, the city I chose to call my home 12 years ago, the city I fell in love in, the city that cracked open my creative spirit, the city that blesses me with the most beautiful views every morning when I open the blinds:
Clouds and cranes

When the hockey game was finishing up I kept thinking about one of my most favourite things in my neighbourhood – a work of art by Martin Creed:

The first time I saw this I was riding on the back of our tandem bike across the Georgia viaduct (yes, we are that couple), we were on our way home from the fireworks in the West End. I like riding on the back of the tandem, it allows me to sight see. I looked to my left and saw the message in neon lights, in the heart of my ‘hood. And ever since then I’ve felt a sense of comfort, just knowing that it’s there.

“This public gesture coming from the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (known as the poorest postal code in Canada) celebrates optimism amidst the pervasive – and often exaggerated – negativity found within many of the messages we routinely encounter, offering hope for the future.”
– image and quote from the Rennie Collection website.

Vancouver, I love you.