Friday, June 15, 2012


It's been a year since the Stanley Cup riot and, despite its laid-back reputation, Vancouver still seems like such an angry city. If people aren't angry about bike lanes, they're angry about roads, cars, motorcycles with loud pipes, the June weather, the economy, oil tankers, housing prices, Asian investors, the rich, the homeless, store clerks, Gregor Robertson ... especially the bike lanes.

 Just ask businessman Rob Macdonald, who was campaign fundraising chairman for former Vancouver councillor Suzanne Anton, beaten soundly by Robertson in last fall's mayoralty election. Macdonald, a big supporter of cycling in B.C., says the downtown folks he talks to are very angry with the way the bicycle lanes have been introduced and the harmful impact they're having on downtown Vancouver.

"There's unhappiness with the civic government," Macdonald said "And then, of course, there's a feeling of impending doom for the downtown business community of the NDP, the socialists, taking over again."
Indeed, he himself gets angrier by the minute as he talks about the poor design of the bike lanes, their lack of safety and the serious accidents he says they've caused: "The City of Vancouver should be charged with f------ manslaughter."

So should this newspaper columnist, according to those who take issue with my mildly expressed opinion on the possible risks of marijuana smoking and use it to indulge in an orgy of name-calling. Forget mellow yellow, Vancouver has to have the world's angriest pot smokers ... in addition to its angriest hockey fans.

 We in Terminal City love to make mountains out of molehills. We're the Charlie Sheen, if not Mel Gibson, of anger management ... or lack of it.

Veteran Vancouver broadcaster David Berner points out that Vancouver is a divided city. Every day, he says, he meets people who are very sweet and kind. And every day, whether as a pedestrian or a driver, he meets people who are simply "deranged."

 Berner told me he used to joke on the radio that Vancouver is the only city that sells new cars without turn signals:

 "I mean, people are so unkind. I've actually had people drive almost over me, and then give me the finger for daring to walk across ... at marked intersections." 

 The reason for this anger, he added, is that Vancouver has an adolescent culture: "This is not Venice or Paris where people are used to having a glass of wine. This is still a frontier town where every 70-year-old wants to wear designer blue jeans." I completely agree, especially about the blue jeans. 

Sports writer Jim Taylor, though, says Vancouverites have every right to be angry about last year's riot: "You'd have to be brain-dead not to be angry about that."

 And Tourism Vancouver boss Rick Antonson insists that Vancouver is a passionate and spirited city, not an angry one. "The last thing you'd want to be is a robot city," he added. Antonson is absolutely right. A bunch of angry robots is the last thing we need to have to worry — or get angry — about.

© Copyright (c) The Province


Bob Turner said...

this piece just makes me angry...

Anonymous said...

I've heard Vancouver described as "Indignation Junkies". They're so addicted to this angry attitude that as soon as one of their issues is resolved, they immediately seize upon another one. Even little boys in Europe have a greater sense of maturity and manhood than the guys in Vancouver. During Italian Day, I even saw a grown man in his twenties walking down the street in red long johns, like a toddler. He was not a street performer but was dancing around annoying people and thought he was cool. Even the children and dogs gave him exasperated looks. Here's a plan: put down the pot. Get your ass off the couch. Take a shower. Shave. Iron some grown-up clothes. Get a job. Do some volunteer work with truly unfortunate folks. Take an anger management course and know that it's not all about you.

Robert W. said...

Well said, David! While most Vancouverites are superficially polite, there's an underlying coldness, often tempered by anger. But no one wants to admit this.

P.S. Greetings from Auronzo di Cadore.

Evil Eye said...

Of course Lotus Landers are angry, everyone treats them as a well deserved joke!

Vancouver and (almost) all who live in the city firmly believe Vancouver is the centre of the universe and we should all hail Vancouver!

In reality, Vancouver is just no immature, it is downright juvenile, lead by politicians who just reflect Vancouver's immature population.

Vancouver's credo is me and myself first and to hell with everyone else.

Oh sail on, sail on, oh ship of fools, thy decks are full with all who will sail with her.