Riot damaged businesses get cash injection
Five small Vancouver businesses and organizations that were vandalized and looted during the Stanley Cup riot are getting a leg up thanks to an injection of cash from a fund provided by fellow business owners.
Tom Lee Music, Da Gino Ristorante, Macdonald Commercial, the Contemporary Art Gallery and Holy Rosary Cathedral received cheques ranging from $1,500 to $7,000 in an official ceremony in Vancouver Wednesday to help cover their repair costs, and pay off insurance premiums.
The money comes from the Vancouver Restoration Fund, set up by city agency Vancouver Economic Development Commission, to help businesses without full insurance coverage. So far, the fund has approved nine applications totaling $20,000 for losses suffered in the June 14 mayhem.
To the Point Tattoo in Surrey is one of the small businesses that chipped in to the fund, handing over $5,300 to the Holy Rosary Cathedral.
Owner Charles Parent said he and his partner felt compelled to donate after watching the destruction to happen to businesses the size of their own home-based ink shop.
"We saw what was happening and we looked at each other and said, 'if this happened to us, we would be shut down in a minute,'" he said.
Holy Rosary Father Glenn Dion stood in his collar the night of the riot trying to stop the thugs who smashed seven windows at the rectory hall beside the cathedral on Richards Street.
Dion said even though he couldn't stop them, he has forgiven them.
"But I think what has to be a part of the understanding of forgiveness is that there is justice nonetheless that's needing to be attended to," he said.
De Gino restaurant owner Francesco Caligiuri said his parents, sister and staff barricaded themselves inside that night, and watched as vandals smashed in almost every window.
"Everyone was frightened," he said. "I went through a window myself and that's how much adrenaline I had to protect my restaurant. I was scratched up and I didn't even notice."
Caliguiri, who received $2,445 in compensation, said that his family declined to file an insurance claim because the deductable was too high.
Caligiuri said even though he and his family felt very alone the night of the riot, they welcome the support going forward.
"It's a nice turnaround. We're very thankful for everything that's happened," he said.
So far, about two dozen businesses have been identified as candidates for help. Vancity and Telus each contributed $50,000 to the fund.
Blenz Coffee has filed a civil suit against the rioters who damaged equipment and stole merchandise following Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The lawsuit claims that 150 people terrorized its employees and tore apart three of its downtown Vancouver locations. The company is seeking punitive damages.
In June, company president George Moen said it had captured dozens of perpetrators through video surveillance.
A local business group has estimated the cost of the damages and looting during the riot could be as high as $5 million.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Rob Brown