Strangers come together to clean up Vancouver
Published Thursday, June 16, 2011 4:58PM PDT Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 2:05AM PDT
Complete strangers came together Thursday to clean up their beloved city after a post-Stanley Cup riot that saw cars set on fire and windows smashed throughout downtown Vancouver.
More than 13,000 people had joined a Facebook group called "Let's Help Vancouver" by 9 a.m. Thursday morning.
Organized Smitty Smith encouraged residents to come downtown to help in the cleanup effort with a goal of having Vancouver "looking like a new city" by noon.
"Once the embarrassing rioting has ended in Vancouver let's all show the world what Vancouver is really about by helping rebuild and clean up so it is better than it was before," she wrote.
"If any city can bounce back from an embarrassment like this it is Vancouver!"
Smith and others used Twitter to rally supplies like brooms, mops, buckets and rubber gloves.
Users weighing in on the social networking site offered physical labour and cleaning services, with one user offering up junk trucks for free for businesses that had their windows smashed during the hours of riot mayhem.
Karami Csizmadia, who works at the Scotiabank movie theatre on Burrard Street, said she felt compelled to come down and clean after seeing the images of destruction on television.
"I'm in love with Vancouver and to see idiots come downtown and ruin the city that I love is sick. It's just sick," she said.
Her friend Erin McDougall said most of their garbage bags were filled with broken glass from smashed storefronts.
She believes the people responsible for the majority of the damage are not from the area.
"I think it's clear. Those people were not real Vancouverites. They were not real Canucks fans. They've always had it in their heart that they wanted to break something, and they thought this was their chance to do it."
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who toured the area hardest hit by the riots on Thursday morning, blamed the violence on a small group of "hooligans" that were purposefully searching for trouble downtown.
"It's absolutely disgraceful and shameful and by no means represents the city of Vancouver," Robertson said.
Have your say: How do you feel about Vancouver right now?
Social media played a huge role in Wednesday night's turmoil, even as the Vancouver Canucks collapsed under the Boston Bruins.
"World: as you can imagine Vancouver is being embarrassed by a relative few," wrote basketball star Steve Nash of Victoria, B.C.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark used Twitter to plead for the so-called hooligans to go home. "Let's not make things worse," she wrote. "Time to go home."
Vancouver police are asking people to send in video and images of rioters to firstname.lastname@example.org.