Vancouver 2011: A Year in Review

Before we ring in the new year, let's look back at a memorable 2011 for the city of Vancouver.

Credit: Casey Yee

Vancouver 2011: A Year to Remember


As the year winds to a close, there’s nothing better than a good old fashioned, rum-and-eggnog fuelled look back at Vancouver in 2011. And oh what a year Vancouver has had: one full of parades, championships and copious rioting!

Take my hand for a stroll down ‘Memory Lane’, with a detour through ‘Did That Really Happen Boulevard’ for some of the more memorable moments of 2011.


Food Truck Renaissance

Food carts were the talk of the town in 2011, offering up wide variety of appetizing and affordable eats. (Image: A. Lau)


In 2010, the City of Vancouver licensed a dozen new mobile food options; this summer, they added 19 more. We’ve entered the golden age of food trucks here in Van. There are tacos on every corner—it’s like a dream come true!

There’s even a little app you can download that helps you track down your favourite street food vendor like they’re some sort of animal you’re hunting. And it’s good food too, when you’re looking for something a bit more exotic than your standard street meat. Rosemary gravy poutine, matzo balls, beef brisket sandwiches etc.

Not great for your waistline, but when it tastes this good who cares?


The Mayor Gregor Kesler Site

Really, the picture is worth a thousand words. None of which can be printed here.


The Vancouver Pride Parade

Vancouver Pride 2011. (Image: Raul Pacheco-Vega)

The Santa Claus Parade may have just taken place, but the Pride Parade definitely left a more vivid impression. A three-hour stream of rainbows and spandex tends to have that effect. Celebrating the LGBTQ community with the biggest street party of the year is a proud Vancouver tradition that can’t be upstaged.

BC Place Opens Its Doors (And Roof)

I was supposed to go to opening day at the renovated BC Place in September, but then I remembered I don’t like football. It was a pretty huge deal though. After years of planning and construction, and a price tag of $563 million dollars, there was a lot riding on the new stadium becoming a success. So far, so good.


BC Lions Win the Grey Cup

The BC Lions did the impossible, coming back from an 0-5 start to win the Grey Cup. (Image: Geoffery Kehrig)


After losing five straight games to start the season, the odds off the BC Lions winning this year’s Gray Cup were looking pretty bleak. But the combination of a winning streak and excitement for the new BC Place Stadium transformed the season, culminating in a glorious Grey Cup victory.


It seemed like everyone in the city was watching the game, and after the events of June’s Stanley Cup Playoffs (don’t worry, I’ll get to that) it was the perfect reward for local sports fans.


Outdoor Movie Nights

We’ve all had this lovers’ quarrel: you want to stay inside and watch Back to the Future, and he wants to take a nighttime hike for some manly reason. Luckily, free movie nights all summer long nipped that classic tiff in the bud, screening old favourites in the great outdoors.


All you needed was a blanket or six, a thermos full of red wine and a friend who was smart enough to bring enough pretzels to share.


Car Free Days

Who doesn’t love a block party? They’re a trifecta of awesome things: delicious food, music and community. All summer long, Commercial Drive, Main Street, and Kits neighbourhoods shut down the streets to host car-free hullabaloos.


Bike nerds were in paradise; drivers shook their angry fists; we all learned a valuable lesson about stopping to smell the flowers.


Vancouver Turns 125

Vancouver’s 125th birthday cake. (Image: Vancouver 125 – The City of Vancouver)

Oh, Vancouver, you don’t look a day over 124! All year long, the city celebrated with extravagant birthday bashes. Free New Pornographers concerts, cake and giant torch fires . . . it was basically ripped straight from a Martha Stewart party planning guide.


How are the rest of us supposed to compete, Vancouver? You are so high maintenance.


Occupy Vancouver

Who would have thought that a protest of this magnitude would only be the second-most talked about event in Vancouver this year? Everyone had an opinion (no matter what percent you happen to identify with), and it attracted huge amounts of attention. And if the root cause of the worldwide protest wasn’t enough to rile you up, the tent city that popped up on the Art Gallery lawn caused a citywide stir.


Now that the courts have chased the group from the site and onto another (turning into a weird, Benny Hill-esque cat-and-mouse game), it’s probably time for a little reflection. Was it worth it? And why do all the protesters have nicer camping gear than me?


Stanley Cup Riots

Smoke rising from downtown riots after the Canucks game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Finals. (Image: Matthew Grapengieser)

Here we are. The big one. The notorious event that will go down in history. Remember how our beloved Vancouver Canucks didn’t win the “Big Game” and a bunch of jerks ruined everything for everyone forever? No?


Let me jog your memory: cars were flipped (how is that EVEN POSSIBLE?), policemen were assaulted, luxury bags were stolen and windows were broken. It was both riveting and horrifying at the same time, and we simply couldn’t look away. Ramifications from this event are still being felt, (charges are being filed to this day) and it remains a hot-button topic here in the city.


What Are Your Vancouver 2011 Memories?

A lot can happen in a year. These were just some of the standout moments from a year of action. Why not utilize this handy comment board and share your memories? I’ll just refill my nog and we can hash this out.