Beggars, homeless & junkies, Vancouver
Vancouver is Canada’s rudest, most unfriendly big city and it is unliveable. It sports grandiose delusions of itself as above and beyond the rest of Canada; actually Vancouverites like to believe they’re not Canadian. Their delusions, narcissism and dissociation with the country they actually belong to, highlight their mass culture of mental illness. En masse Vancouver is mentally disordered and defective. It’s crime rate is more than double that of Torornto. Addiction to drugs and alcohol are also much higher comparatively, which is partly responsible for the higher crime rate. Ditto the higher rate of road rage. Vancouver has the worst traffic congestion in Canada and the anger mentality behind the wheel makes it worse. There are huge social problems on Vancouver’s streets, so bad, that it’s downtown is of 3rd World conditions, riddled with AIDS, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis, serious drug addicts, prostitutes and homeless people. It is UGLY. This is a haphazard city that expects tourists to enjoy Vancouver’s selfish values and inequality. Also, Vancouver has an outrageous obsession with hatred for Toronto, and a sadistic insolent attitude towards the rest of Canada (RoC). However, the majority of the time, it’s gloomy, depressing and raining on thier faces, as they smuggly sit atop their imaginary pedestal overlooking the rest of Canada with a frown of disdain. This is why Vancouver is the laughing stock of Canada, especially when the so-called ‘Best Place on Earth’ gets 350mm of torrential rain/week in the winter.
Vancouver has recently been displaced by Toronto, Canada’s only world class city, as the best place on earth to live by a growing number of organizations and magazines. Toronto is the most technological, diverse and multiculturally successful city in the country. It far surpasses anything Vancouver offers, including a vast transit system, world class medical facilities, top rated universities, festivals of all kinds, tons of nightclubs, the most theatre offerings behind London and New York, beaches, parks, very low crime and very friendly people. Toronto has also been very successful in resolving social problems and homelessness. Everyone is welcome to this city to enjoy what it has to offer. That includes disgruntled Vancouverites who are offered a Royal Toronto Towel to dry their rain soaked heads and turn those frowns upside down.
Vancouver is a beautiful and interesting city, but the Vancouver advertised by the tourism industry, is not the whole picture. It is a sad story, but like a lot of beautiful places, Vancouver has a dark side. The city has the highest population of drug addicts, and homeless people in Canada. During our visit to downtown, we encountered several homeless people, drug addicts, and beggars. Teenage girls younger than me, were standing at sky train stations, asking for money. A man was standing outside of a super market, hoping someone would give him food.
Homeless people and drug addicts, have resorted to selling garbage, and stolen property simply to earn a few dollars.
A homeless man was living in a tent, right in the middle of Yaletown.
Most of these people are harmless, and will leave you alone, but there are a few creeps who will follow you around, and harass you. We almost got jumped by a group of street vendors in Gastown, and I was followed by some creep at Granville Market.
If you do get harassed, report the incident to the police.
One time, a 17 year old kid asked my cousin for his phone, so he could call his drug dealer.
Maybe people from big cities are used to it, but people who live in smaller towns, might find this shocking, sad, and at times, even downright scary, as I did. This is not a side of Vancouver I wanted to see or document, but sadly, it is the reality.
Writing this is almost making me shed a tear. It is sad that there are people suffering like this, in a country like Canada. I don’t feel bad for the drug addicts, but I feel bad for the people who are homeless for another reason.
Fortunately, the city of Vancouver has enacted special program to try to help some of these people. We did our own part, by giving them some of them food and money, but you can't help everyone.
Most of these people hang out in Downtown, specifically in Gastown, Yaletown, and the infamous Eastside. It is not strange that someone like myself who is not used to the big city, might feel a little on edge. It really ruined my holiday.
But don't let all this deter you from visiting Vancouver. Once you get outside of downtown, Vancouver is the wonderful tourist destination you read about in the guide books, and everywhere else in the city, I've had a wonderful time, and like coming back to. But it's good to know that this stuff exists, so you are prepared. There are some areas of downtown, I would not bring your kids.
It is hard to not feel disgusted when you see all those proceedings on Vancouver's Dontown-East side.
Now you can, as mostly here you guys did, claim that the bastards got what they wanted to.
I can tell you those are very brave people just for keeping up with their life. Humiliated, hungry, heavily addicted, yet still fighting for the next day. For them every "Next day" of their lifes can be the last as well. They are fully aware of that fact.
At the eend just allow me to say that our city is much safer than 99 % of all the cities worldwide.
This is not a very safe city, I think it is worse than people say. Yes Robson street is safe, and yes areas like the west end are safe. However, we saw violence, drunks and other dangers all over the city and not just in the east end!! Lots of wannabe gang members who are still as dangerous as real gangsters and a lot of dangerous mentally ill homeless people. Beware and think of carrying mace.
On our way to Chinatown, at the crossing of Hastings Street and Main Street we dropped off the bus, this wasn't the best idea... At the crossing you find Carnegie Centre. A centre for drug and alcohol addicts not the best place to be the tourist.
First off, I've worked in this field for a long time, at a YWCA downtown housing centre. Not much is shocking to me, and I can tell right away when someone is in trouble and when someones yanking my chain. I was in Vancouver for the first time back in May (I ran the Vancouver Marathon; LOVED IT, stayed at the 'Y' of course, loved that too...). Anyway the day after the marathon I decided to walk around a little. I've known about DTES (downtown eastside) for years; I absolutely loathe the idea that tourists go to these areas to 'look at these people' as if it's the circus. I did notice, while sitting inside a McDonald's type of place...I got two ice cream cones upside down in cups. I sat and ate one, and looked out the window for a while, thinking how I'd love to leave the frigid northern Minnesota winters for a more temperate Vancouver when a man, who looked about 15 years older than his real age, sat down across from me. Exhausted, scared, hungry; I admit I was caught off guard. He asked if I was going to eat the other ice cream cone. I said no, you have it, do you want a sandwich...he just wanted something cold to eat. He had sat on the bus for three days from Ottawa to Vancouver. I really wished I had read up on local services because I knew this guy needed some sleep, some clean clothes and food; a shower and just the comfort in knowing someone cares. I later found out there are two service centers downtown (I'm not sure of the address but) they are Opportunity Place, and the Yukon Homeless Shelter. I believe Vancouver's YWCA does have a shelter specifically for homeless women with kids. Of course, I'm aware the larger problem has to do with drugs/alcohol, many shelters won't tolerate people coming in high or drunk, which results in the increase of street people.
Ya know, a lot of people go on about the homeless. It really isn't that bad. Yes there are some who walk around having a conversation with an imaginary friend. I try to keep an open mind and would like to think that for every one of the mentally unstable or down right rude people there is one who has been a skilled professional or knowledgeable person who is just unfortunate. Keep in mind I never visited this Eastside everyone goes on about. But I suppose every city does have that type of area.
Some of the things I've seen are even worse like the yuppie spawn in their 20's who think they can do whatever they want. I was more disgusted by these people when I visited than the homeless. Rude, abrasive, constantly swearing and talking about the fight they started the night before or tearing down the street obviously drunk. Funny thing is I've seen more of them randomly shout at people than that crazy guy sitting on the corner. Even the women. The police seem to do nothing about this or could care less. I saw them pick on some guy rapping at English bay who was pretty darn good and not hurting anyone. Five or six cops were there harassing him when god knows would else could have been happening around the area at the time that they could be checking out. Police here seem to be a bullies only club and that's saying a lot considering I'm from Toronto.
Drivers. Wow. This has to be the worst city I've ever been to for this. If you visit use transit as much as possible. I didn't feel safe even walking around.
It seems to me that there are some major issues in Vancouver that are covered up with a shiny exterior.
Otherwise it was relatively fun. Very clean compared to just about everywhere I've visited. Lots of things to see and do. Loved the aquarium and science center and walking along Granville with all its interesting people about. It's very expensive though so make sure you save up.
I've been living in Vancouver since 1991 and I have to say that I feel very safe in this city (at night or daytime). I've traveled to US and European cities, and compared to most of those, it is safe. I feel safe walking home at 3AM on Saturday morning from a bar, for example.
Yes, Downtown Eastside (DTES) is an eyesore, an embarrassment, and a ghetto. But that's what it is, a ghetto, meaning that the junkies, dealers, and prostitutes are all congregated into several blocks on East Hastings, east of say Abbott street. If you don't wanna witness this, then just don't go there, but even if you did go there, nothing really bad would happened, except maybe being asked for money. I wont go into detail here why this place exists or why the cops don't do anything, but it's basically an eyesore, but not very unsafe.
Regarding beggars, yes they exists maybe more than other Canadian cities, but you just have to be firm with them and say No and walk away and they leave you alone. Don't get into conversations with them, cause the all have a "believable" story to tell you.
So to recap, Vancouver is a safe city, but is does have a beggar population, and an eyesore junkie ghetto that is the Downtown Eastside, which you can visit (better drive through) or not.
I have travelled many places in the world including North Africa, and have felt more safe and less bothered there than in the city of Vancouver. Supposedly, peaceful Vancouver Canada has a huge drug problem, and one of the worst ghettos in North America. In fact, it is the only city in the world where I know addicts deal drugs, and inject drugs right on the same block as the police station Main and Hastings. Ironically you are likely to get a arrested if you peacefully drink a beer on the beach, so hypocritical. Vancouver is so full of aggressive beggars and panhandlers that block your path and harass you that many residents avoid going downtown. More importantly the worse area is right in betwen the tourist areas of Chinatown and Gastown. However, the problem exists through out the city. In addition, Vancouver has one of the highest property crime rates and car theft rates in North America, so if you plan to drive in Vancouver, your car may not be there when you get back, or it will have its window broken, and valuables including pop cans stolen.
For those who are willing to put up with the annoying social issues of Vancouver, it is a beautiful place to visit in the summer!
I live in Vancouver.. have for 44 years. It's my "home". All you bashers have no damn idea. This is the MOST expensive city in Canada, if not North America, and we get the LEAST minimum wage, and LEAST amount for social services, such as disabilty.. it hasn't risen in 10 YEARS! Do you have any idea what it's like to get $900 a month for disability, yet rents START at $600 to $700? Rents rose by 50% over the course of the Olympics. People lost there places to make room for tourists, who paid much more than the original tenants paid. And after the Olympics, the rents stayed just as high. I'm lucky that it's just me.. it would be worse if I was a single mother.
Then there's the psychiatric hospitals and old folks homes, closed down to make way for condos. Where do you think they wound up?
And for the people that unfortunately wound up on the streets because of this, the city built shelters.. to clean the streets before the "party" started. But 1 month after the Olympics ended, the city decides it can't "afford" to keep the shelters open.. everybody's back on the streets. Welfare only covers you for 3 months, or at least that used to be the rule, and they only get $525.. $375 for rent.. anything above, and it comes out of your support. .. Kraft Dinner's $2 a box! The very little they give you doesn't go very far.
As for the beggers/aggressive panhandlers.. every big city has it, we're not alone. Ever been to Hawaii? Same thing. So's New York, Toronto, Seattle, "your city".
As for the crack heads smoking in plain site.. yes it's sad, but it's society. In Amsterdam they're not doing anything illegal, not even if crack, yet here in Canada.. they're criminals, scum. Heck.. the biggest dealer's hangout is kitty-corner to the Vancouver Police Station.. in plain site. Yes, police do their rounds, but it doesn't stop.
People need to step back and think for a moment.. "why" are these people in this situation in the first place? And "why" doesn't their government care?? .. It's criminal.
I slept in alleys, didn't shower, started with $0 dollars, and roamed the streets for a full week during Christmas time. From Dec 23-30 I ventured out main and hastings late at night trying to find a spot to sleep. I took a notebook with me and wrote about 120 pages of my entire experience. I am blogging about this whole thing now at www.godspeasant.wordpress.com. All I can say is that it is not what people think it is. There are a lot of misunderstood, great, educated, intelligent, sincere, and warm people that are either homeless, or are just living in an extremely impoverished state. To those people that have never sat down and talked to anybody that is homeless, I would encourage you do to so with an open mind and an open heart. That way we can all progress in our society and move towards a better future for us all, whether one is rich or poor.
alot of these posts make vancouver seem like a REALLY scary place. Im gonna let you know, it really isn't. I live in a small town just outside of vancouver called tsawassen, and....its sorta known to be a snobby little town. It has no crime at all, so you could say that i would be expected to feel very in danger downtown. Im gonna let you know right now, i am NOT at all. Me and my friends take the canada line train into downtown, down by robson and granville, every weekend, normally stay till about 1 then come home, and i have never had any issues. I am 13 years old, and 5'1, not the most street smart, and my mother says i look "vulnerable" and i still have had no issues downtown, or with the homeless or beggers. My mother even lets my 10 year old sister take the skytrain downtown with her friends to go shopping. Apart from the eastside, this city is perfectly safe. Just stay away from the eastside. I used to have to go down there for acting auditions, being around there brings me to tears. Its really bad, but just a few streets away, around robson and granville and such, i feel safe alone at night. So, my point being, dont be afraid of vancouver just because of what you have seen or heard about the east side, because that is only 10 blocks of this amazing city. The east side is scary as hell, but stay away from there and its the most wonderful and beautiful city ever. I love it here. DONT skip over vancouver cause of "skidrow"
We stayed at the nice little Holiday Inn, right near Granville Bridge, in downtown. The hotel was nice; but the view looked out onto the street, where there was a 711 and a bustop in front of it. The junkies on Sunday morning gathered in front of the 711, and actually did drug/money exchange, right oout in the open! Then, the junkies took their junk to the bus stop, and smoked it! It was pretty disgusting. They look like animals; the way they move, the constant moving; you'd think that their bodies couldn't put up with that for too long. Anyway, it was sad to me that there is suck a lack of police in the city, to do anything about this open drug use. Also, the dealer who sold the drugs was with a retarded boy, and I thought that was sad. I could see that he was retarded, from our fourth floor window, but his caregiver was busy making money I guess. Get it together, Vancouver, crack down on that drug use; it hurts the children involved, whose parents are strung out. And for us tourists, it's not too fun to see.
Vancouver, especially in recent years, has had an ongoing problem with aggressive panhandling. Aggressive meaning that beggars will approach people as opposed to simply sitting off to the side. It's a huge political topic in the city, but an issue that never seems to get solved.
Some beggars are legitimately homeless. Some are hardcore drug addicts. Some are mentally ill, and some are just begging as a lifestyle choice.
I've noticed, especially on travel forums, that unsuspecting (and often first-time) visitors to Vancouver are often scared by Vancouver's beggars. If they're not scared, they tend to assume that beggars are somehow dangerous, or that they signify a dangerous neighbourhood. This is not really the case.
The beggars in Vancouver are just that. They are not armed robberers. They are not violent. They do not signify bad neighbourhoods. Most importantly, Vancouver's "bad" neighbourhoods, such as the Downtown Eastside, are not violent. They may have a lot of drug addiction and open air drug use, but they are not places of random violence, muggings, or gang warfare.
Beggars are especially visible in downtown Vancouver, especially in areas of high pedestrian and/or tourist traffic. So even places with high end shops will eventually have beggars at one point during the day wandering around outside. Some begging hotspots include Water Street in Gastown, Granville Street, Davie Street, Robson Street, and Denman Street. Even neighbourhoods outside of downtown like Kitsilano and Commercial Drive have their fair share of beggars.
If you look like a tourist, beggars are more likely to hassle you - especially in Gastown, and especially if you dress like you just stepped off a cruise from Alaska. Just tell them no. They will almost always leave you alone. There is no need to fear them. Keep your street smarts and don't feel you need to give away your money. And don't be surprised if you get asked over 5 times in one day for spare change. This is the unfortunate reality of 21st century Vancouver.
we arrived in Vancouver during the day and immedietely made our way to the East Hastings area to score some buds and seeds. during the day this area was pretty normal we scored some bc buds across from blunt brothers and come some hash then we went and ate crayfish heads in china town. by that time it was late so we found a hotel room but when we were unpacking our stuff another hotel room got raided by the swat team so we decided we would go chill back in east hastings when we got there it was a different feeling than before during the day. we started to look for a hash bar when we met this fellow called sandman he had tinfoil and a radio reciever on his head he was about five six and had long black hair he must have been native american but anyway he tried to rob us but we managed to evade him after he tried to get us to go down an alley way with him. Anyway lots of hookers mediocre bud and crazy mother f*$kers in that city \. ps if your reading this forum sandman f#@# you man next time well take your money homo.