Every major riot Vancouver has seen over the past century (PHOTOS)

Sep 19 2022, 9:16 pm

Over the weekend, a Lil Baby no-show led to a considerable fan uproar at the PNE, marking the latest riot in an ongoing trend in Vancouver when fans don’t get what they want.

Over the years, a few notable riots have caused Vancouver to make international headlines, namely the two large protests in response to the Canucks losing in game 7s during two Stanley Cup Finals appearances.

But, some lesser-known riots occurred, and they’re not all related to sports or musical events.

The Lil Baby riot

lil baby pne amphitheatre riot 2022

Cleanup after the Lil Baby riot at the PNE Amphitheatre. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The most recent event was this weekend’s Lil Baby riot. Fans were upset after a no-show by the famous rapper, which led to complete chaos at the PNE.

“I would like to start off by saying I truly apologize Vancouver Canada, the Breakout Festival and to everyone who was in attendance!” the American rapper said in an apology on his Instagram story Monday morning.

“I have been going so hard these past few months without any breaks that it finally caught up with me and my body completely shut down. I owe you guys big time and will for sure make up for it soon.”

The Breakout Festival addressed the riot, calling it the “worst case scenario.”

They apologized for how the festival ended and said they “do not condone violence or destruction of property.”

2010 anti-Olympics riot

vancouver olympic cauldron 2010 fireworks opening ceremony

Fireworks backdropping the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremony. (International Olympic Committee)

While the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver were a blast for most of the city, not everyone was on board.

Masked protesters smashed and vandalized businesses in downtown Vancouver, and according to a CBC News report from 2010, they also sprayed windows with red paint.

The rioters eventually dispersed thanks to police armed with full riot gear.

1994 Stanley Cup riot

vancouver riot

Hockey Fandom Wiki

1994 was a massive year for the Vancouver Canucks. They weren’t favourites to challenge for the cup. Still, thanks to stellar performances from players like Pavel Bure, Trevor Linden, Gino Odjick and Kirk McLean, the team experienced a true Cinderella story, making it to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the New York Rangers.

Unfortunately, fans came along for this historic journey, and all the magical hype and excitement led to the biggest disappointment in Canucks history up until that time.

While the team made the finals in 1982 when they faced the New York Islanders, they were swept in that series.

Reports estimate that up to 70,000 fans gathered in downtown Vancouver to express their disappointment in the heartbreaking loss in a violent fashion.

2011 Stanley Cup riot

Darren Stone/Flickr

Seventeen years after the 1994 Stanley Cup riots, the Vancouver Canucks would make another historic run to the finals.

This team had everything going for it. The Sedin twins were firing on all cylinders; we had the Olympic gold-winning goalie Roberto Luongo and a stellar supporting cast of players, including people like Ryan Kesler, the sizzling Alexandre Burrows, Manny Malhotra and more.

The team was also coming off two disappointing early playoff exits the previous two seasons, so fans were hungry for victory.

The hopes of victory were dashed in another game-seven loss against the Boston Bruins. After the final whistle blew, the city seemed to spontaneously combust into a fit of disappointment, rage and fire, with fans taking to the streets in hordes, looting and damaging buildings and setting cars ablaze.

Steven Lee / Flickr

Guns N’ Roses riot

guns n roses

Guns N’ Roses/Live Nation

In November 2002, Guns N’ Roses was set to perform at the former General Motors Place.

Billboard wrote that Axl Rose, the frontman of the iconic band, failed to show up. Making matters worse, this show was set to kick off the North American tour.

In response, fans began to smash windows in the building. Police were able to get things under control.

Gastown riots

City of Vancouver

The Gastown riots in 1971 fuelled protests against the city’s drug laws.

According to Canada’s Human Rights History, the protest was spurred by drug raids and anti-drug policy. As a result, hundreds of young people, whom the media described as hippies, took to the streets, smoking weed and playing music.

An inaccurate report of smashed windows by the drug activists spurred police to assemble in full riot gear.

In the aftermath of this riot, 79 people were arrested, with an additional 38 being charged for various offences.

Battle of Ballantyne Pier

A lesser-known riot took place in Vancouver in 1935.

This riot stemmed from a doctor’s strike. On June 18, 1935, 1,000 protesters marched towards Heatley Street, where the entrance to Ballantyne Pier was located.

When protesters didn’t comply with police orders to turn around, they were attacked with clubs by the officers protecting the pier. The Vancouver Police were joined by members of the BC Provincial Police and the RCMP.

This continued for hours, but the result was a bloody affair.

Bloody Sunday

vancouver riot

Sitdowners fleeing the old Post Office under tear gas attack by the police on June 19, 1938, on the event known as “Bloody Sunday” (photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives, RE P8 N11 #2).

Bloody Sunday was another violent engagement between the RCMP, Vancouver Police and protesters in June 1938.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, federal and provincial governments cut financial support to relief camps established nationwide in 1932. These reliefs were to provide work for single and unemployed homeless men. Due to this change, hundreds of homeless men converged on Vancouver.

“On the afternoon of May 20, 1938, approximately 1,200 men left from the East End of Vancouver for a protest rally downtown. Over 700 men flooded into the recently renovated post office (now Sinclair Centre). A second column entered Hotel Georgia, while a third group entered the Vancouver Art Gallery,” says the Canadian Encyclopedia.

In June, the police finally reacted. The RCMP led the assault, using tear gas as its primary weapon. Protesters responded by smashing windows and arming themselves with anything they could get their hands on.

In the end, 42 people were hospitalized, and five were police officers.

“Following the melee, the protesters and supporters marched back to the East End, smashing windows en route. Later that day, news spread and some 10,000 supporters turned up at the Powell Street Grounds to protest police brutality.”

Anti-Asian riots of 1907

The last riot we’ll be looking at in this story took place in 1907.

The riots were organized events that protested Asian immigration in Canada. Other riots took place in other west coast cities, but these were not coordinated events.

According to British Columbia: An Untold History, protesters held signs like “Keep Canada White, and “Stop the Yellow Peril.”

Mobs smashed windows in Chinatown and Little Tokyo. Rioters squared off with Asian immigrants. The crowd dispersed the next morning, but smaller battles continued for several days.

Thankfully nobody was seriously injured.

“According to a government estimate, the attacks cost Asian businesses tens of thousands of dollars in damage and lost revenue. Only one person was convicted for taking part in the riot,” reads the untold history website.

With files from Daily Hive Staff

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