Vancouver's buzz-kill Olympic police dispel Chinese dancers

If anyone needed further proof of the Vancouver Police Department’s reputation as a giant wet blanket, a good example played out on the city’s East Side this past Saturday. Four or five costumed young men, probably from a local martial-arts school, were working their way down the north side of Hastings Street west of Nanaimo, performing the 1,000-year-old lion dance in front of Chinese-owned businesses.

The dance, involving ritual moves by two people inside an elaborate lion costume while accompanied by cymbals and a large drum, is meant to bring good fortune to the shop. It usually involves setting off a small string of firecrackers to chase away evil spirits. It is a common sight in Chinatown and any area with a large number of Chinese businesses during the new-year period. On this day, at about 1:45 p.m., passersby were watching and clearly enjoyng the dance in front of Como Market at 2431 East Hastings. Passing buses full of tourists heading out to the nearby Pacific Coliseum Olympic venue were obviously charmed by the colourful spectacle.

Then a Vancouver police car came cruising down the Olympic lane in front of the store, turned the corner, and stopped. A female officer strode up and told the performers to move along, saying they were a hazard on the sidewalk. The young men and the audience seemed stunned. One woman called the cop a “spoilsport’, to which she responded: “I can’t turn a blind eye to this!”

She stood there determinedly, with onlookers shaking their heads, until the men rather shamefacedly walked west on Hastings. Then she got back in her car.

That will teach people to perform a centuries-old cultural tradition within a few blocks of an Olympic venue.

Besides, those firecrackers were, technically, tiny sticks of dynamite.

Damned terrorists.




Feb 22, 2010 at 3:17pm

Haha! Amazing article. I'm glad this came to the attention of the Straight.


Feb 22, 2010 at 5:15pm

It's death to culture and free society by a thousand cuts. Paranoia and a burdgeoning militarized police state is descending over the entire planet, with only rare exceptions. If we don't reverse this trend, we will be living inside George Orwell's 1984 sooner or later.


Feb 22, 2010 at 5:41pm

Unilingual, monocultural, vaunted ignorance in a multicultural society and the chief of police is Chinese! Where do we get these cops from and who trains them?


Feb 22, 2010 at 5:49pm

no fun indeed.

On a positive note, police did allow a friend of mine who brought dj gear to the Granville area to continue playing music Saturday night. He was just asked to move along to a place less busy and not blocking building exits.


Feb 24, 2010 at 1:14pm

The VPD, for the most part, are cool. There are individuals, like this one, in any organisation who insist on being all powerful. They believe that they have to be that way because they wear a uniform - cop, fireman, security guard, UPS driver, whatever. Even if the VPD stepped up its screening process, a few like her would slip through.Thankfully most of them are reasonable people.