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Ten minutes after the Vancouver Canucks conceded the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins last night, a reporter looked around the CBC plaza and thought, “this is about to get ugly.” And get ugly it did, as thousands of people rampaged through the streets setting fire to cars and garbage cans, smashing windows and looting stores.
Now, the clean-up – both physical and emotional – begins. Many citizens are keen to demonstrate that they are as appalled and upset about events as the rest of the country. A message on the smashed windows of the Bay store downtown reads “On behalf of my team and my city, I’m sorry.” And Facebook pages created to help identify rioters have garnered thousands of “Likes” and have quickly been populated with photos and videos that should be instrumental in helping police find offenders.
But if you asked the average Canadian right now whether they would like to go to Vancouver, you’d probably get some very negative replies. During the Olympics, the Vancouver region was able to boost its brand in unprecedented ways. The mountains were spectacular, the crowds were celebratory and joyful, and the visitor experience was second to none. Despite all the controversy surrounding the treatment of homeless people and the budgetary issues that seem to accompany almost any Olympics, Vancouver managed to look really, really good in the eyes of the world. Only yesterday the police were saying how confident they were that they would be able to keep the crowd civil because of all their Olympic experience. Unfortunately that proved not to be the case.
For another interesting perspective, check out what the Tyee has to say.