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How To Have A Riot - Legally


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Fun and affordable alternatives to acting like a jackass in the streets

- By Lucas Aykroyd, For The Province April 17, 2012

As we approach the one-year anniversary of Vancouver's Stanley Cup hockey riot, both tourists and locals clearly must decide how to commemorate that special time.

How about rioting again? Well, considering the 170 injuries and $5 mil-lion in property damage that occurred downtown on June 15, 2011, that would be rather tacky.

Worthy of a game misconduct, even.

Fortunately, we've come up with some fun, affordable, and (mostly) family-friendly local alternatives to rioting. Our formula is simple, yet winning: Take a popular riot-related activity, and then keep the fun essence minus the criminal element.

Even if the Vancouver Canucks don't make it to Game 7 of the NHL finals again (which looks like a very long shot now), here's how to have one h-e-double-hockey-sticks of a good time here. Legally.


Who doesn't want to run wild from time to time? But, easy on the clashes with baton-wielding riot police. Instead, pull on your running shoes and complete the 8.9-km circuit around the Stanley Park Seawall, whooping as you spot the native totem poles and the Girl in a Wetsuit statue.

Head to North Vancouver and battle your way up the Grouse Grind, a greenery-laden, thigh-burning hike on Grouse Mountain that takes the aver-age climber an hour-and-a-half. At Maple Ridge's WildPlay Element Park, you can try Tarzan-style rope swings and teeter across wobbly 60-foot-high bridges.


If pyromania gets you fired up, circle July 28, Aug. 1, and Aug. 4 on your calendar. Those summer nights will witness the jaw-dropping Celebration of Light fireworks competition in English Bay. Three rival nations will showcase their Roman candles and palm shells to synchronized music, with over 400,000 spectators per show.

If cars turn your crank, check out distinctive Vancouver auto shows like the All British Field Meet at Van Dusen Gardens (May 19) or the Langley Good Times Cruise-In (September 8). Or put your go-karting pedal to the metal at Richmond Go Karts, or at TBC Indoor Racing, also in Richmond.


Frankly, it seems more reasonable to drink out of them. Vancouver is blessed with many establishments that boast bottles galore.

Relax - yes, just relax! - in the airy lobby lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, featuring the city's largest selection of sake bottles, and sip a plum wine cocktail or glass of honjozo.

Does beer get you beaming instead of brawling? Throw back everything from Stanley Park Noble Pilsner to St. Ambroise Apricot wheat beer at the pre-Prohibition-themed Bitter Tasting Room, offering some 60 bottled brews.

Choose from the whopping 14,000 wine bottles in Blue Water Cafe's cellar while feasting on Pacific ling cod or Qualicum Bay scallops at this Yaletown seafood mecca.


According to local custom, Vancouver merchants prefer to welcome shoppers through the front door. And plenty of outlets attract (credit card-wielding) mobs year-round.

Purchase unique glassware, children's toys, and fresh produce at Granville Island. Explore three floors of hand-crafted native carvings, masks, and jew-elry at Hill's Native Art in Gastown.

Stock up on used books at MacLeod's Books, which includes authors Douglas Coupland and Umberto Eco among its patrons, and was recently dubbed "Canada's finest antiquarian bookstore" by Maclean's magazine.

Or browse through Cantonese DVDs and herbal remedies at Richmond's three big Asian-themed malls - Aberdeen Centre, Parker Place, and Yaohan Centre - and you'll swear you've been miraculously teleported to Hong Kong.


Yelling "Let's go riot!" is unlikely to enhance your prospects - socially, spiritually, sexually, you name it. How-ever, "Let's go Whitecaps!" is perfectly acceptable when cheering on the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS soccer action versus David Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy at BC Place Stadium (July 18).

You can express similar sentiments at the B.C. Lions' home opener in Canadian Football League action versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders (June 13). Of course, the Canucks, facing elimination against the Los Angeles Kings, can always use some extra vocal support. (That's "vocal," not "vandal.")


Kissing goes with rioting? Sure. When an Australian man knelt in the street to kiss his Canadian girlfriend amid the Stanley Cup riot, the resulting photo by Rich Lam of Getty Images went viral worldwide. This poignant, roman-tic vision proved one thing: It's better to suck face than to suck (like the rioters).

Want to emulate that fine example? The setting doesn't have to be pavement. Get your smooch on at sunset in English Bay, surrounded by palm trees and ice cream-eating pedestrians. Make out atop Queen Elizabeth Park's Little Mountain, next to the glass-domed Bloedel Floral Conservatory, enjoying a sweeping Vancouver vista. Whatever you do, kiss anarchy goodbye.


Vancouver abounds with legitimate opportunities for this traditional pas-time.

Bump awkwardly into people on the dance floor during an Atari Teen-age Riot concert at the gritty Rickshaw Theatre, or at a Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot show at the legendary Commodore Ballroom.

Hit on age-inappropriate members of the opposite sex at The Roxy, the neon-lit entertainment district's most bustling meat market, or The Sandbar, a Granville Island seafood restaurant that's notorious as a cougar haunt.

Hustle off to Wreck Beach, Canada's largest clothing-optional beach, and horrify onlookers by sporting nothing but socks and sandals.

You're unlikely to get arrested for any of this. But your gaffes may provoke riotous laughter. Please remember to make an ass of yourself responsibly.

© Copyright © The Province

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