Media //MARCH 17

Media /// MARCH 17

‘Tent cities a huge success: CCAP’ 24hrs

‘Tent city comes down, deemed a success’ Metro News

‘Last residents vacate tent city’ Vancouver Sun

‘Homelessness activists promise many more tent cities around Vancouver’ News1130

Media /// MARCH 14 – 16:

‘Activists defy city order and stay at Downtown Eastside tent camp; Housing activists moved to the site more than a month ago to highlight homelessness’ Globe and Mail

‘Tent city residents scramble to find shelter’ Vancouver Sun


finest lot in the RainCity

people choose to sit round our circle
trade stories and jokes and mirth
not afraid to be friends to be warm
they are here in existential birth
becoming better humans each
and every time they exist
at our tent time subsist
and blessing i say
the rest
of this
urban concrete non-tent

john alan douglas march 11, 2010
vancouver bc canada earth cosmos tents

Chronicles of the Olympic Tent Village

– By Harsha Walia

This started out as an attempt to update you all about the important developments that have transpired over the past 48-72 hours at the Tent Village. However it is impossible for one person or even a group of people to provide you with a complete picture of what has taken place, what will take place, or how we have arrived here together. So instead, this is a (hasty) letter of sorts; an attempt to document and share with you the birthing of the Village over the past two weeks, with those critical updates buried somewhere in there.

As a direct result of the grassroots campaign and the popular support for the Tent Village amongst incredibly diverse communities and social justice groups, over 40 homeless Tent Village residents have now been housed in BC Housing units across the Lower Mainland, while others have chosen to return home to their communities. Originally offered mere shelter spaces, the group of homeless people worked with Tent City advocates to ensure that all were appropriately housed based on their specific needs, preferences and circumstances, not warehoused in shelters or un-livable single room occupancies.

To read in full:

these days (for tent village)

they said,
people will write about you
for years to come
you will be like seattle, like quebec,
moments they study in social movement theory / from-local-to-global
organizing and organizers


i look around this created village

he sits in a corner
essays about anarchists in his lap
as soft eyes dart across the parking lot
looking for now-familiar residents
aware of everything other than the pages of his book

he stands taller,
always the strong gait
always the generous smile
one hand a cigarette
two radios three hooded sweatshirts four people calling his name

the pace quickens

she, she has cameras in her face and slogans on her lips
a hat woven of thick fibres and soft wool
she sleeps on hard floor makes excuses and insists
we take the first two out for their birthday

we smell of earth,
mixed with smoke,
mixed with fire embers in our eyes and mud stuck to the soles of shoes
we smell of bananas and onions,
and a closeness without which
would be unimaginable

you taste of tea
of warm herbs and softer hands
water, fire, leaves,
the elements


this city is lit up before the sun sets,
distress signals loud and clear, streams of wasted energy piercing the sky
the face of the moon taunts us
campers see the stars
replicated in sixty thousand people and thirty-eight million dollars
to create most expensive constellations on an audience cloaked in blue screen
removed, discarded to reveal bodies at the end of the night
branded, unaware
all we see is ashes

and as the red and white travels
so glaring it is
as a plague through the winding streets
pouring out, every restaurant bar patio overflowing with contamination,
we melt
we blow
into heated glass
molded with warm fingers
cracking under the pressure


what is it about this place?

the way the mountains descend
a horizon only feet above your head
holding the earth firm, it would yet crack under the weight of justice
urban planners line streets with oak trees
canopies of suburban paradise
on the other side

tents, tarps, rope, pegs, stones, gravel
bricks and wood and an axe
grilled cheese sandwiches
chain smokers
a sacred fire

what is it about these people —

an unending stream of metal carts
creaking wheels across uneven ground
dirty or clean, washed wet back forward and return again
invisible armies of bread
and those who slice it fill it grill it eat it
between shades of sunlight and black

it is beginning to be unclear
how privately owned concrete birthed a universe
to nationalism
the wingspan of an eagle over top provides some clue

but i find duct tape and you find homes
he carves soapstone statues
and sells them to passers-by eager for authenticity
only to return,
once more,
to rain-soaked arms

A Poem For Tent City

*a poem for tent city * by Cynthia Oka

save the date, the sky is coming
february 15th 2010 a new nation born on VANOC lot
in the rudeness of mud, stone and liberated wood
no bill, permit or lease – just a spacious tissue
absorbing rag doll bodies with dynamite pits
makeshift tendons patched up cloth and cigarettes
hard as blade, wrinkled with the dialect of rain
contraband hearts gather –

around the corner hubris secretes thin franchised joys
over rheumy eyes and the scurrying of rats
six billion dollar blueprint for happiness
paper flags, washable tattoos and red mittens
*everything that comes off *

save the city, the sparrows are returning
tin beaks clap over sting of chewed up membranes
against the mountains derelict flats scream
HOMES NOW through firelight and coffee steam

i have no amenity but language to witness
hope and ligaments folded in sleeping bags
tents like petals on a singed autumn floor
forbidden songs ascend –
up the stairwell to k(no)w where silicone and plastic

lost to patent leather shoes and centuries of Indian Act
got natural running on rusted nails and broken bottles
so no walls now just marbled flesh and wire fencing
just the freshness of doing it our way

save the breath, the silence is breaking
blistered hands carving a universe from slender air
digging up bold from beneath the frostbit bone
somewhere unnameable and plush with wanting
an existence more than stencilled by beat cops,
real estate speculation and “official policy”
a protein found only in collective memory
this taking back of here –

the unspeakable sovereignty to be unmoved from
this garden of chalk and graffiti poems writing ourselves
out of the underfoot into each other’s tender places
a necessary contagion and the only prognosis that matters:
the weather in our veins.

(Updated) Week 2- Media Compilation

Video ‘Grounded TV Takes Viewers to Tent City’
Audio ‘Vancouver Tent City Tales and Tunes’
Photo set by Blackbird

Article ‘Video contradicts police statement on undercovers’, Straight
Article ‘Olympic Tent Village gives respite’ in New Jersey paper
Article ‘We don’t want to be here’ in National Post
Article ‘Squatters at Olympic Tent Village digging in for long haul‘ in Province
Article, ‘Voices from the Olympic Tent Village’, Rabble
Article ‘A Tour of Tent Village’ in Vancouver Observer
Article ‘Behind the Scenes’ Pulsemedia
Article, ‘Tents aren’t enough’, Vancouver Sun

Release: DTES Groups Demand Immediate Action on Homelessness and Housing





WHO: Representatives from Streams of Justice, Pivot Legal Society, Impact on Communities Coalition, Downtown Eastside Women Centre Power of Women Group, Carnegie Community Action Project, Vancouver Action, Downtown Eastside Elders Council.

A growing coalition of Downtown Eastside groups is demanding that all levels of government and BC Housing take immediate action to provide housing to residents of the Olympic Homeless Tent Village who are homeless, under-housed, and precariously housed.

They will be hosting a press conference on Wed Feb 24 at 2 pm at the Tent Village site to pressure the government to take necessary steps to ensure adequate, safe, and affordable housing for the scores of DTES residents, homeless people, and youth who have been living in the make-shift Olympic Homeless Tent Village.

According to Lily Loncar, a DTES legal advocate and organizer of the Tent Village, “While Vancouver hosts a $7 billion party; the Tent Village is a stark reminder of the growing poverty, homelessness, and misery in Vancouver. Since BC Housing has the means and resources to fast-track the applications of Tent Village residents, we expect them to guarantee housing for Tent Village residents within the week.”

The Olympic Homeless Tent Village has been setup at 58 West Hastings, a lot owned by the condo developer Concord Pacific and currently used as a VANOC parking lot. For updates, articles, videos and a newly released newsletter “Tent Village Voice”, please visit

“The Olympic Tent Village has provided a sanctuary from the streets for residents of the Downtown Eastside. We have been able to provide warm meals, along with tents, blankets and sleeping bags. But this is not enough, people needs homes. We are not leaving until the government takes real action to end homelessness, especially for those who are clearly relying on the Tent Village for their safety and survival,” says Dave Diewert of Streams of Justice.

The 2010 Winter Olympics has escalated the homelessness crisis in
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Greater Vancouver area. Since the Olympic bid, homelessness has nearly tripled in the Greater Vancouver Regional Distrct, while real estate and condominium development in the Downtown Eastside is outpacing social housing by a rate of 3:1.

Instead of empty lots and empty promises, the Olympic Tent Village calls for:

1. Real action to end homelessness now
2. End condo development and displacement in the Downtown Eastside
3. End discriminatory ticketing, police harassment, and all forms of criminalization of poverty.