Chaos erupts in downtown Vancouver after losing Stanley Cup (with video)
Downtown Vancouver descended into chaos Wednesday night after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins.
Smoke can still be seen hanging over downtown Vancouver after an overturned car went up in flames in front of the Canada Post building just after 8:00 p.m. There was also a small explosion at the site of the car fire.
Windows were smashed at the Bank of Montreal branch at Georgia and Homer, with rioters inside the bank branch.
Fans burned their jerseys in the streets after the loss, with riot police confronting people in balaclavas. Rioters retaliated by throwing bottles at officers.
Rioters waved towels and hollered at the sound of explosions and smoke bombs being thrown at the crowd by police.
A large parking garage at Richards and Georgia was ambushed by rioters, and cars on multiple levels set ablaze. Large construction bins in Yaletown were also set on fire.
There are still hundreds of people in the streets surrounding the epicenter of the chaos, although crowds are thinning.
"It’s very unfortunate. We have a lot of people committing criminal acts down here tonight," Vancouver Police Cst. Jana McGuinness told Global News. "Our primary focus right now is getting everyone home safely."
“We are following a plan we have had in place for some time,” she said. “It’s a crying shame this is how things are going to end tonight.”
Several officers are on horseback in the downtown core and Surrey RCMP and Abbotsford Police were called in to assist the VPD.
“We’ve brought in hundreds of extra officers from around the region. It’s been a challenge tonight. It’s been nothing short of disgraceful.”
At 10:46 p.m., the Vancouver Police tweeted “#VPD warning people to get out of downtown Vancouver as crowd control is about to escalate.”
Mayor Gregor Robertson addressed the media at 10:30 p.m. in downtown Vancouver.
“We are dealing with a small group of troublemakers,” said the mayor. “There is a lot of photographic evidence and these people will be held accountable.”
“˜It’s absolutely disgraceful and shameful what is happening in Vancouver. It is despicable.”
Solicitor-General Shirley Bond says she is horrified by the riots in downtown Vancouver.
“This is shocking and disgraceful,” she said. “What’s most disappointing and disturbing is that we have spectators who will not go home.”
“This is not a spectator sport.”
After 10:00 p.m., the rioters moved further west on Georgia Street in front The Bay department store. Rioters smashed large windows and looted merchandise from the ground floor.
A newer-model BMW was set on fire in front of the store and a man was seen jumping onto the roof the burning car. Rioters seen inside the store looting merchandise were caught on tape by television crews.
The awning of the historic building was also set on fire. Several cars were also on fire in the parkade on Seymour Street across from The Bay.
The London Drugs across the street was ransacked and looted and there are reports some employees are still inside the store as it was open until 10 p.m.
VPD and emergency crews also responded to a man who fell off the Georgia Viaduct onto the plaza at Rogers Arena. He said to be in serious condition.
At 9:55 p.m., Translink announced all bus service downtown has been suspended, along with SeaBus service to downtown Vancouver. SeaBus service out of downtown Vancouver has not been affected.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General closed all downtown liquor stores at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in hopes of deterring alcohol-fueled violence.
Several Global BC cameramen were injured in the riot, and camera equipment and vehicles were either damaged or destroyed.