A LOVE LETTER TO OUR CITY
It’s been a long winter, but this city still deserves love
I’ll admit it’s a hard time to be professing love for my city. The usual go-to reasons for loving Vancouver have been tarnished as of late; a real winter took away my balmy weather bragging rights with relatives in Ontario, two random murders on the seawall have taken the shine off of our civic treasure, and an ever-climbing number of my neighbours are being swallowed by the opioid overdose crisis.
But it’s Valentine’s Day, which is a day when we talk about love and eat chocolate, so I would like to do what I can to remind you of the reasons you moved here, or choose to stay here. This is my attempt to rekindle your romance with Vancouver.
Yes, we really had a winter this year. We had record-breaking amounts of snow, we got cranky with each other and now our hips hurt from tottering around like penguins for over four weeks. But the ice and snow are melting. The rain is washing away the dirty snowbanks, and I can already see some buds on the magnolia trees. Soon the cherry blossoms will bloom and shed such a flurry of petals, some of our roads will be pink. These are reasons to maintain your love for Vancouver.
If you are the type for whom commitment runs deep, you can love this city because Vancouver marches, no matter the weather. In January, 15,000 people marched past the Trump Tower for the Women’s March. It’s only Feb. 14 and already Vancouverites have marched to denounce Islamophobia, protest Trudeau’s decision to abandon electoral reform, and resist Trump’s immigration ban. Today people are marching to remember missing and murdered women. And in September, we’ll walk to show our support for reconciliation. When we did that in 2013, the viaducts were blanketed by 70,000 people braving heavy rains.
You can keep loving Vancouver because it is home to vibrant First Nations, like the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish nations, who relentlessly speak up against tanker traffic and other forms of environmental damage our settler governments propose. And perhaps most admirably, these same First Nations find the strength and grace to partner with local governments in this fight, even though settler governments have for generations put profit before the health and environmental safety of this land.
It’s also fine to have a less serious love of Vancouver, and fan the flames of your crush on the dizzying array of microbrews, bicycles, and the lush greenness of our urban forest canopy.
And don’t forget to love the people of Vancouver. Many of us have come from afar to make this our home, and all have delicious food traditions and interesting stories to share. Warts and all, there’s still a lot to love about Vancouver.
Many of us have come from afar to make this our home.
Cherry blossoms in bloom along Charles Street in east Vancouver on March 23, 2016.