Beggars, homeless & junkies, Vancouver
Another local warning I would say, not really a danger but Vancouver has a lot of homeless beggars that parole the streets.
They are just like beggars in any other city, nothing more special about these ones.
They say the climate in Vancouver contributes to the problem they have. It is very mild on the west coast of Canada making it a lazy man's job I guess.
Panhandlers, beggars, homeless - whatever you want to call them - they're a part of Vancouver life. Generally they'll ask for chaange and leave it at that but don't be surprised if a couple swear at you which did happen to me...it just depends on your character how you deal with it. Ladies - just keep walking.
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.
Already this is becoming my major problem in Vancouver.Homeless people.Now i have nothing against homeless people,however dont come up with a long winded story and say how nice i am.Three times in the last 2 hours i have had the following.I am from Oz,In prison,lost my daughter,going to get thrown out.Second one is I havent got enough money for parking(which i stupidly gave her),Thirdly im collecting for the Samaritans.Watch out for these usual suspects.
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.
Vancouver is ugly and all of it's citizens live in deplorable conditions. The homeless (junkies, mentally ill and alcoholics) are just as well off as the working class. Most yuppies and professionals are more unpleasant to deal with than the bums. WARNING! Do not spend your money or your time in this city for any reason not even the olympics 2010. This is the most disgusting, disappointing and depressing place to live. Everything here is a facade! Stay out! I am working very hard to move away from this real hell on earth. Downtown Detroit and New York are safer.
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.
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.
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.
Becareful where you are, especially around China Town. Avoid going down Hastings street at all cost. It is dangerous and filled with junkies, and the mentally ill. Many purse has been stolen here...and many a car broken into. I was lucky to have someone warn me as i was walking toward the street.
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 corner of the police station. Ironically you are likely to get a ticket 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. 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.
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!
While Vancouver is undeniably pretty from a distance, up close it has become an appalling stew of junkies, beggars and scavengers that is unrivalled in the developed world. It is easily the most annoying and depressing city I know to walk around in. You will be hounded for money from one end of the city centre to the other, you will see countless drug deals taking place under the incompetent eyes of the local police, and you will see the full effects of failed drug policies. This city has the highest crime rate in North America, so don't ever, ever leave anything in your car or it will most certainly be broken into or stolen. I suggest you delay any planned visits until the city gets its act together, or you will be truly astonished by what you see.
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.
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.
If you wander through the Gastown area of Vancity be warned that if you walk too far..and head too east you enter a very dodgey area with a lot...A LOT...of beggars and junkies and god knows what else...people having full on conversations with themselves...people not afraid to approach or follow you. Being 2 girls on this trip we were a little bothered by how close the bums actually get to you. I live in Toronto, for crying out loud, and I have never seen more street people than I did when I visited Vancouver!! It was surprising, actually, because I had heard that they had a bit of a "bum" problem but I was not expecting to see so many wandering the city centre!